A fine and very rare stainless steel diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date and alarm function

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  • Manufacturer: Jaeger-LeCoultre
    Year: 1968
    Reference No: E859
    Movement No: 1'944'939
    Case No: 117'029
    Model Name: Memovox Polaris
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. K825, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, and movement signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Jaeger-LeCoultre Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1968.
    Literature: "mstanga" has dedicated a 64 page booklet to the Polaris E859.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The famed Jaeger-LeCoultre “Memovox” (voice of memory) was introduced in 1950, quickly gaining traction as one of the most desirable and reliable alarm wristwatches on the market. A center disc with an arrow is operated by a second crown typically found at 2 o’clock, allowing the alarm function to be quickly and easily set. In an era where sports diving was gaining more and more popularity (indeed, advertisements of the era branded the E859 as “pour l’homme d’action” or “for the man of action”), Jaeger-LeCoultre’s response was to launch a unique, oversized, automatic waterproof divers' wristwatch with an alarm function.

    Their goal was to offer both visual (inner bezel) and auditory (alarm) timers for robust diver safety. To do so, the firm created a patented case back, which optimized the alarm’s sound transmission under water. The outer case, with its 16 holes, allowed for the alarm tone to be heard and also felt on the wrist, while the inner case sealed and protected the movement. The watch featured three crowns, each with the cross hatch pattern characteristic of Super Compressor watches: the first for time setting, the second to rotate the inner bezel for dive timing, and the third to rotate the inner disc with arrow to set the alarm.

    Known in the United States as the Polaris, and in the European market as the "Skin Diver Memovox", the reference E859 was made in 1714 total examples. This year, for the 50th anniversary of the model, Jaeger LeCoultre released a second modern re-interpretation of the Polaris (the first having launched in 2009) in recognition of its iconic status. Finding original vintage examples of the Polaris, in crisp, unrestored condition has become increasingly difficult due to their growing popularity. This American “LeCoultre”-signed model is well-preserved in unpolished condition, retaining all of its sharp edges and lines as delivered from the factory 50 years ago – a perfect watch for the connoisseur.

  • Maker Bio

    Jaeger-LeCoultre

    Swiss • 1833

    Not all companies in the watchmaking field have been able to stand the test of time quite like Jaeger LeCoultre, also known as the "watchmaker's watchmaker." Founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre and originally named LeCoutre, the firm provided watchmaking's top brands, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, the high-grade, unfinished mechanical movements with which they completed their watches.



    In the early 1900s, Cartier's watch supplier Edmond Jaeger sought out LeCoultre's help in creating the world's thinnest watches. The collaboration resulted in the creation of Cartier's earliest Tank and Santos watches, all housed with LeCoultre movements. The duo decided to merge in 1937, and the firm officially became the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand by which collectors know and adore it today. Some of the firm's most significant and important timepieces include the Reverso, the Memovox, the Atmos clock and, among modern watches, their Master Complications.

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Ref. E859
A fine and very rare stainless steel diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date and alarm function

1968
42mm Diameter
Case, dial, and movement signed.

Estimate
$12,000 - 24,000 
CHF12,000-23,900
€10,400-20,800
HK$94,100-188,000

sold for $22,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

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