Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris double anniversary
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Polaris collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre dives into The Big Blue, which is thirty years old this year, with the hero of the cult film, Jean-Marc Barr.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is closely involved with the cinema, and partners with various cinema figures and film festivals (including Shanghai, which takes place this week). The watchmaker has always been keenly aware of the power of cinematography when introducing its newest models. While the setting of the SIHH provided the backdrop for the new Polaris collection, analysed at the time by WorldTempus’s editor-in-chief in this article, which sums up its spirit, the Sicilian landscape of Taormina works on both levels. Forty-eight hours’ immersion in the Polaris universe, watch on wrist (copiously illustrated on the @bricelechevalier Instagram account), gave several lucky journalists an opportunity to sound the depths of the collection, attend the photo shoot whose results will soon be all over the watch press, and rediscover the actor indelibly associated with the cult film that brought him to the international stage in 1988.
The Polaris Memovox underwater © Greg Lecoeur
When asked if he was surprised to be approached by Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jean-Marc Barr responds immediately: “No, because I visited the manufacture a couple of years back for a launch, and I’ve already been involved with other watch events.” Is this the first time he has been asked to celebrate an anniversary of the film The Big Blue? “Yes, it’s a joy and a honour, particularly for the 30th anniversary. This is the first time I’ve been back to Taormina. I don’t take my job too seriously, I know it’s an illusion. I’m much more interested to meet excellent diving photographers like Greg [Editor’s note: surname?, winner of a National Geographic award) and the journalists here with us. I dive like a kid, I have fun.” Our small group was ushered on board a Lagoon 50 catamaran to head for three diving spots that would be used for the photo shoots, but first we stopped off at the cave immortalised in The Big Blue, at the foot of Taormina’s cliffs. The previous evening, we began our adventure with dinner at the famous restaurant from the film, La Scogliera. There was one photographer for the outdoor shots, another for underwater scenes and a diver in the background, ready to intervene if necessary. On each location, the shots were taken 10 to 12 metres below the surface. As expected, Jean-Marc Barr performed his dives without oxygen, in an electric blue diving suit with carbon fins, with or without a mask, according to the photographers’ requirements. At the age of 58, the Franco-American actor and new father still has an athletic build. The journalists present at the shoot, keen not to miss a thing, did their best not to get in the photographers’ way. For the final part of the shoot we dropped anchor close to a small volcanic island, a 600,000-year-old ancestor of Mount Etna. In comparison, we humans with our Polaris watches are newborns.
Jean-Marc Barr wearing the Polaris Memovox © Marc Ninghetto
Between two stops, head of watch products Nicolas Elbaz takes us to the aft cockpit, in the shadow of the flying bridge, to talk about the new collection. The watches are spread out on a table, and the journalists gather round with Jean-Marc Barr seated in their midst, shirt off. “With Polaris, a sporty and elegant range, Jaeger-LeCoultre is positioning itself in a new segment. Our collections are often very classical or highly technical, but Polaris offers a wide range of lifestyle models that are versatile and equipped with functions that are useful day-to-day: alarm, chronograph, world time, plus the essential automatic three-handed models.” The Memovox is the model that draws the greatest inspiration from the historic Polaris (Memovox Tribute to Polaris), displaying its vintage credentials unapologetically. “An initial relatively classical version was created in 1965. It was subsequently relaunched in a new design with a stronger personality, characterised by trapezoidal markers against a black dial,” explains Nicolas Elbaz. “The alarm is a function that Jaeger-LeCoultre has been developing since 1949. The 2018 vintage has a more sonorous timbre, and it vibrates less than the historic version, which had a double caseback.” Its three crowns are easy to use. The lower one adjusts the hours and winds the watch, while centre crown activates the chapter ring. The upper crown sets the alarm (signalled by a small triangle) in the anti-clockwise direction, and provides a quick date change when turned clockwise. Its 42 mm case, water resistant to 200 m, is the only one in the collection with a closed back. It is engraved with the inscription “Memovox” and the number of the limited series, out of 1000. For this new Polaris collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre has also designed a rugged new steel bracelet with H-shaped links, brushed edges and polished corners.
Polaris Memovox © Marc Ninghetto
Ever since the brand was established in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been enchanting lovers of beautiful objects. Its craftsmen and craftswomen, the guardians of the inventive spirit of company founder Antoine LeCoultre, pool their expertise to create collections that are as surprising as they are sophisticated: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre, Geophysic® and Atmos. This great brand continues to be inspired by its rich heritage and...Find out more >
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