At last it's here, but with a little surprise... For those fortunate enough to be receiving the Polaris right now you will receive a letter with the watch stating that you are entitled to a change of face once they have received the final and official version. What happened is that the first few pieces that they received were not really the color they wanted. The first batch being delivered have a "fleshy" orange Luminova while the final ones should have a more "mustardy" tone (good, I sound like an interior decorator!). The yellow/orange tone of the Luminova is supposed to simulate vintage Tritium that has gone dark over time. All original pieces from the mid to late 60's started with a standard white to mint-green Tritium. Most of them, not all though, have turned to a mustard yellow tone over time. Even if the color is not really true to the original, mustard yellow is how a Polaris looks to most of us today. In any case color photography was of such poor quality in the 60's that there is just no accurate reference of how it really looked. This has just given me an idea... hmmm, time to hit the Photoshop.
The decision was taken so as to not let eager (pain in the neck) collectors wait any longer for their Polaris. I must say that this is a very gutsy move that has just set a precedent. I can only applaud this decision since I rather have them be honest about it and wait no longer for it. It would have been different story if they were to deliver a faulty or incomplete movement though. Since this is only an aesthetickal "flaw" it is only a minor problem, at least to me. Those fortunate enough receiving their Polaris right now will be twice as fortunate since one can be certain that it will be worth quite a bit more than the official version. From a collector's perspective one of these first batch Polaris watches together with the official letter will be a MUST to have. Right now I can't imagine anybody RETARDED enough to go ahead and send their "wrong" and very collectible Polaris to have it tweaked to get a "right" but less special Polaris. Mind you, the world if full of idiots yet I wonder how many will do the change. I am not certain but Einstein once said that "intelligence" is a constant on Earth. So, the more people in the world, the more you have to divide that constant amongst everybody... Back when he made that statement we where just shy off 2 billion people, now we are close to 6 billion. You do the math.
Now, to the piece itself... Impressive, the look and feel of vintage is down to the last detail. The box and papers are copied exactly from the original piece including the addition of a second Hexalite glass in the box. Not that you would need it since if it need to be changed you would send it straight to Jaeger for a new one instead of using the one in the box. The strap is very comfortable. It comes with a replica of the original "Ardillon" buckle. I see how it must have been quite a decision to leave the original (sort of crapish...) but true version instead of giving it a more modern (more sleek) but less true buckle. The only "but" would be the somewhat large gap between the holes to adjust your strap. Since they are part of the design they tend to be a bit far apart. If you are unlucky it could be that it is either too tight or too lose. However it was just like that on the 65 model. To be honest, even if awkward and correctable by todays standards, I respect that they kept to the replica plan until the end. The finish is like always impeccable. All hands are properly aligned and where they should be (not true of many brands...). The new Memovox calibre with the "quick-date" option is very welcomed. I am not certain but compared to my Compressor or the AMVOX1, the winding sound sort of... vintage? It is very smooth and tactile yet I wonder if this vintage sound when winding was made on purpose. If this is so, then "kudos" to Jaeger!
A very pleasant surprise was the above mentioned Luminova. Unlike many other (most) Jaegers this one is actually visible after several hours with the light off. This is a first, since for some reason Jaeger have been using a very white and smooth Luminova that looked good but lacked performance. Usually with altered colors in Luminova you tend to loose a lot of performance and with these being orange one could expect only a testimonial glow after half an hour of killing the lights. To my surprise this one is actually more visible than the Compressor that has much larger hands and markers. On the AMVOXes you really have to squint your eyes almost out of the socket to see the time. On the SQUADRAs it's as if there is no Luminova to begin with.
- They stuck to the "replica theme" as much as possible.
- The Package has also been included in the "replica theme".
- The "quick date" correction instead of having to go back and forth.
- The "vintage" feel when operating the watch.
- The unusually bright Luminova (for a Jaeger).
- The meticulously aligned hands.
- It is very comfortable.
I don't Like:
- The strap at the buckle is a bit too wide. I am not certain but I doubt it was that wide on the original Polaris.
- The wholes on the strap for the buckle are too far apart.
- The Luminova color on the hands does not match the one on the indices.
In short. The Polaris Tribute is a different animal. It's a collector piece and a chance to get a piece of history. The decision to not upgrade the plexi for saphire glass denotes just that. I don't recommend this as an everyday watch though. I would see this tribute more as a collectible or even investment. A perfect condition 1965 vintage Polaris goes today for well over the 20k mark. If you want an everyday Memovox you are better off with the Compressor Extreme or the modern variant which is the AMVOX1. Both are equipped with saphire glass thus making them much better companions over time.
I was sceptic at first but I must say that I am very impressed with the result. I would not be surprised if this could be "the" Jaeger to have and the first to hit over-price at sales introduction.