Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox: Sounds Traveling Through Water Like Whale Song
by Ian Skellern
I’ve seen lots of submarine movies; I know that the sound waves of one loud PING, or an accidentally dropped spanner, can travel many kilometers and back again in an instant. I know that whale songs can travel many thousands of kilometers through the oceans. I’ve heard/felt the explosions viscerally underwater while snorkeling in Asia when fishermen nearby started using dynamite to boost their catch.
I know that sound waves travel faster, stronger, and more cleanly in liquids like water than air. And I’d guess that the chances are that you too know that sound travels better in water than air too. It instinctively makes sense. Until you forget.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier d’Antoine masterclass: The Sound Maker
During the late summer of 2020, I had the pleasure of participating in a Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier d’Antoine masterclass entitled “The Sound Maker.” It’s worth noting for when we can all travel again that these Atelier d’Antoine masterclasses and discovery workshops will also be open to the public. You can register to participate at Jaeger‑LeCoultre boutiques and from December 2020 at online-booking.jaeger-lecoultre.com.
For a few hours, a few of my colleagues and I learned about some of the science of sounds, their applications, and even tried tuning oversized chiming gongs to match a frequency on an oscilloscope. We had headphones on and were listening to sounds intently. It was a very enjoyable and interesting educational experience focused on sound. I felt that I learned something and that’s always a bonus.
We listened to the sounds of various Memovox models over the last 70 years and looked at the mechanisms responsible for those sounds. And, not surprisingly, as we took our aural tour through the decades from past to present, it was crystalline clear that with each Memovox generation the quality and volume of the sound emitted increased by leaps and bounds.
As we covered the Memovox’s history and delved into what made each model sound so distinct, I found myself thinking that Jaeger-LeCoultre took chiming watches very seriously. And then we arrived at the present – to one of the nicest looking and most desirable watches I had the pleasure of seeing and shooting (under embargo) during Geneva Watch Days: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox.
And out of nowhere, the idea hit me that an underwater chiming watch was crazy because the water pressure all around the case would surely deaden the sound. What was the point of making a chiming watch that you couldn’t hear in a natural environment if you are diving with it?
And virtually as quickly as that thought passed through my brain, reality kicked in and the pendulum in my cranium (hang on tight) swung from the idea of “crazy” to “absolute genius” in milliseconds.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox doesn’t just sound as good below water as it does above, it sounds even better!
While many of the recent Memovox models have been unashamedly contemporized, the Polaris Mariner Memovox is a relatively faithful tribute to the original 1965 Polaris diver’s watch.
The new Polaris Mariner retains that watch’s classic three-crown setup to include an inner rotating diver’s bezel and naturally the watch’s characteristic alarm function. And the polished, applied markers and indexes are filled with false aged lume.
So far, the past is looking pretty good. But, I do find it was a pity to include the mismatched white date wheel. The blue of the dial is the color of your favorite jeans before they faded; this striking dial deserves a matching blue date wheel in my opinion.
One important characteristic of the original Memovox that (thankfully) carries over to the new Polaris Mariner is that signature “school bell” trill of the alarm. While the alarm may sound the same (but better), the movement was completely redesigned.
Previous Memovox models had closed case backs to which the alarm gong was attached; however, the new Polaris Mariner Memovox has a transparent sapphire case back. So you can watch the hammer in action but not the gong, which is now attached to the case band for 360-degree sound transmission.
An orange ring around the dial flange only appears when the crown at 3 o’clock is not screwed in, reminding divers that they have not yet adjusted the bezel to time their ascent.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox
And it is water resistant to an impressive 300 meters/1,000 feet. That’s seriously deep.
If you want to hear whales sing you have to get your head deep down under the water, and for that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox is the perfect watch. You can enjoy your dive with the cetartiodactyla in relaxation because you have set the alarm not to miss sunset cocktails on the foredeck. An alarm clock in a dive watch? What a crazy fantastic idea!
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/eu/en/watches/jaeger-lecoultre-plrs/jaeger-lecoultre-plrs-memovox.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox
Case: 42 x 15.63 mm, stainless steel, water resistance 300 m
Dial: blue, polished trapezoid batons and indexes, applied Arabic numerals, Super-LumiNova
Movement: in-house automatic Caliber 956AA, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 70-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, alarm, crown-adjusted diving bezel
Price: €17,400 (including VAT)
Remarks: exceeds ISO 6425 diver norms (tested to under 125% of the rated water pressure); up to eight-year warranty with Jaeger-LeCoultre Care Program