Two extremely rare Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are set to be sold at upcoming Phillips sales before the end of the year.
A Polaris Memodate will be sold at Phillips Geneva in November, before a unique Lucky 13 watch goes on sale at Phillips New York in December.
The Polaris Memodate dates from 1967 and was made for the American market as part of the brand’s Memovox series.
Known in the United States as the Polaris, and in Europe as the ‘Montre de plongeur E859’, the reference E859 features three crowns, each with the cross-hatch pattern characteristic of SuperCompressor watches.
The first crown is for time setting, the second rotates the inner bezel for dive timing, and the third rotates the central disc to align the arrow with the alarm time.
The model on sale stands out from other models thanks to its very rare dial markings; while most of the dials were stamped Memovox or bore no inscription other than the LeCoultre name, this watch is stamped Memodate.
According to the brand, it combines two apparently opposite aspects of watchmaking: the tradition of delicate aural complications and the needs of a practical sporting timepiece.
The LeCoultre “Lucky 13” dates from 1962 when it was presented by the Chicago Anti-Superstition Society alongside 13 U.S. Senators to an original Mercury Seven U.S. astronaut to commemorate his historic achievement of becoming the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth.
Featuring the number 13 at every hour marker, the watch celebrated the Friendship 7 spacecraft capsule used for the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission.
Friendship 7 was the 13th space capsule produced by McDonnell Aircraft Corp, and the 13s on the dial were used to illustrate the society’s rejection of the number 13 as unlucky.
The ceremony, taking place on Friday, April 13th, 1962, was entered in the House Congressional Record on October 13th, 1962.
The brand said of the two watches: “As well as demonstrating Jaeger-LeCoultre’s technical expertise, the deep meaning and personal connections behind the story of these unique timepieces remind us that watches have always had social and emotional significance – which sometimes even overrides their practical purpose.”