Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris | E859 | steel

5-68

Regular price £23,000 Enquire to Buy
The Polaris was first introduced in 1965, developed from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ambition to create a diving-alarm wristwatch. The initial result was JLC’s Memovox ‘Deep Sea Alarm’ (ref. E857), from 1959, equipped with the calibre K815. Few more than 1000 of these early, ref. E857 examples were made, becoming the first automatic, diving-alarm wristwatch in the world.

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.
Brand: Jaeger-LeCoultre
Model: Polaris Ref. E859
Movement: mechanical self-winding bumper calibre K825
Functions: hours, minutes, centre-seconds, date
Features: original dial, rotating inner 60-minute register, alarm
Case: 42 mm stainless steel
Crystal: plexiglass (service replacement)
Bracelet: olive/brown rugged suede strap with steel buckle
Year: 1968
Box & papers: N/A
The case of this ref. E859 Polaris is preserved in excellent vintage condition, with strongly-defined bevels. It’s shows all the signs of an unpolished case, retaining its original shape entirely, with some visible wear throughout (consistent with use). On the reverse, the case-back has one notable imperfection on the right-hand side, opposite the crowns. The case is original to the watch, with appropriately corresponding signatures, consistent with the year of manufacture. The glass is service replacement, likely changed sometime ago. The inner-case-back also correctly displays the watch’s unique serial number (113 XXXX), production date (5-68), as well as the reference number ‘E859’, below the manufacture’s signature. 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.

All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough mechanical inspections, including being ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and resealed if appropriate and tested for at least four days, to ensure they meet our highest timekeeping standards. Our pre-owned and vintage watches are covered by a full, or a limited twenty-four month warranty. For example, due to their age, some vintage watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when they were new. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. 

All of our new watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer. Please contact us for further information.

We offer worldwide delivery on all of our watches.

If ordering from the UK or Europe before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.

If ordering from outside Europe, delivery will depend on choice of courier and destination. 

You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the watch has been delivered to you.