Saturday, April 05, 2008

JLC Polaris Re-Edition - Lost Opportunity

Say Rolex to a non WIS and they might say Submariner or Daytona.  Say Omega and they might say Moonwatch, Speedmaster or Seamaster.  Breitling - Navitimer and so on. Most companies would kill to get this kind of identification of their brand.  Say Jaeger to most and you'll get a blank look, maybe they might just know Reverso, but that's probably about it.

Rightly or wrongly 'Polaris,' at least among WIS, is now as heavily identified with the JLC Brand as the Submariner with Rolex or Speedmaster with Omega.  It's only a short step to make it a public icon - so why the limited re-issue? JLC should make it a serial piece.

My interest in getting JLC to re-issue Polaris is well documented and well known. Having been told 'no-way' by no less than the top of JLC and that JLC doesn't repeat itself, I am happy they have relented on this.  It's been a long journey.... and we're finally here. 

For some reason I'm just not as excited as I thought I would be (maybe it's because there is no '63 version above). Let's try to answer the question people have been asking me, like I'm some kind of Polaris expert, is which one do I get?!

Of course, in so far as the movements will be modern and equivalent and with '65, '68 and Paris Boutique versions (apparently awarded for getting JLC to go ahead with the Polaris re-issue..... errrr is that some kind of joke?) to choose from, it encourages an 'authenticity' and aesthetic review rather than a technical one.

Nothwithstanding the ongoing debates of what JLC did exactly make 40+ years ago (hands and dials) they remain somewhat moot when the choice implied is now or never.  As to the 65/68 debate, frankly from what I've seen of the protos, I'm amazed and they got the look perfectly right. Forget the backs it's all about the look and the discrepancies beween the originals and re-issues in the dial execution are small.

One thing of interest though, the deliberate avoidance by JLC of sapphire crystal is almost too inspired to be believed and I echo Dario who considers this may be to JLC's detriment for 'mainstream' sales. This attention to such a subtle detail lost on 99.9% of the buying public makes it all the more odd that they've got the date window cutting the alarm ring is unforgiveable - so I hear a fix is in the offing, but why was this error ever made?

So which one?  For me, I would go for a 68, just don't expect it to be an investment.

Except I won't be. One more for you then........ Why? Well, with the cachet of Polaris better established in the brand DNA of JLC after and somewhat in spite of the AMVOX debacle, let's just say you can expect more Polaris 'inspired' pieces so maybe you shouldn't blow your wad yet.