Polaris | E859 | steel
Following this, the ‘Polaris’ was introduced (seen in this example), featuring similarly hard-wearing characteristics. The ref. E859 Polaris retained the 42mm case of its prototype predecessors (known as the ‘Memovox de plongee’), whilst introducing the large, luminous ‘trapeze-shaped’ hour markers, seen in production models. In total, 1714 ref. E859’s were produced between 1965-70, across all variants.
In the 1968 version (seen in this piece), there are two dial variations - one of which, is marked “LeCoultre” and the other “Jaeger-LeCoultre”, depending on its marketing origin (USA or Switzerland). With this example, the dial is signed “LeCoultre” - denoting the watch was intended for the American market. As with all LeCoulte-signed dials, this example features the “Memovox” signature, seen at 12 o’clock on the alarm disc. At 6 o’clock, a “T Swiss T” marking is visible.
The dial is comprised of an inner-alarm disk (with indication for alarm time) surrounded by large tritium indices and 12-6-9 numerals, showing the hours. Lastly, the outer-ring closest to edge indicates immersion time, in the form of a 60-minute register.
Typically, the colour of the tritium index markers is known to vary - ranging from green-tone to orange - though this is believed to be more clearly defined, with the hands. In this case, the hour and minute show a non-matching, dark green colouration, correct for the reference. Further, the luminous material is very well preserved, showing no signs of previous moisture exposure.
This Polaris ref. E859, with serial number 113 XXXX has a round, stainless steel case and three original, oversized, cross-hatched crowns. Of the three, the crown at 2 o’clock charges the alarm-spring, while setting and stopping the alarm during engagement. The crown at 3 o’clock rotates the inner-ring (to set the alarm time), with the crown at 4 o’clock serving to wind the watch.
The case measures 42 mm in diameter and is seemingly unpolished, with classic straight-lugs that are sharply beveled. On the reverse, two separate case-backs include an inner, super-compressor portion (sealing the case) and pierced outer-section, with 16 holes. The super-compressor section is designed increase watertightness at greater depths (200m), compressing further under heightened water pressure, while the the outer-section amplifies the sound of the alarm when ringing, allowing the sound to be more audible under water. The inner case-back of this 1968 variant correctly displays the year (68) preceded by a hyphen and the number of the month (in this case, 5-68), along with the engraving “LeCoultre Co”.
The ref. E859 is powered by the 17-jewel, calibre K825 automatic movement, seen in many of JLC’s alarm-equipped Memovox wristwatches - featuring a lever escapement, 17 jewels, compensation balance and Kif shock-absorber, beating at a rate of 18,000 A/h. The serial of this calibre K825 movement falls within the correct range for examples from 1968 (200 XXXX), corresponding with the appropriate case number. The movement also displays the correct “LeCoultre” signature, matching the dial.
This LeCoultre Polaris ref. E859 comes on an olive/brown rugged suede strap and steel, tang buckle.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London.
|Model:||Memovox Polaris Ref. E859|
|Movement:||mechanical self-winding bumper calibre K825|
|Functions:||alarm, date, hours, minutes, centre-seconds|
|Features:||original dial, rotating inner 60-minute register|
|Case:||42 mm stainless steel|
|Crystal:||plexiglass (service replacement)|
|Bracelet:||olive/brown rugged suede strap with steel buckle|
|Box & papers:||N/A|
The applied hour markers are (original) tritium, showing no signs of previous moisture exposure. The dial of this ref. E859 is further distinguished by the placement of the "Memovox” signature, seen at 12 o’clock on the alarm disc, consistent with examples produced in 1968. Aside from the service replacement glass, all components are original to the watch. The K825 calibre movement of this ref. E859 is correctly signed “LeCoultre” (matching the dial) and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.
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