SINCE 1931, THE REVERSO’S FUTURE LIES AHEAD OF IT
In horological history, wristwatches that have reached icon status can be counted on the fingers of one or possibly two hands. Among them, the Reverso, which is celebrating its 75 years of existence, holds a place of its own. It has reached the rank of “timeless” product.
The Reverso owes this watch icon status both to the intangible strength of its style and, paradoxically, to its exceptional “plasticity”. A swivel watch that is truly unique in its kind, it has achieved the genuine feat of being ever constant and yet ever changing. Throughout its long existence, the Reverso has already worn many faces, but without ever betraying its line, its “fundamentals”, its style or its distinctive elegance. On the contrary, its multiple embodiments have merely reinforced its singularity and its enduring shape.
In this anniversary year, at a mature age more often propitious to assessing past achievements than to making plans for the future, the Reverso is more youthful than ever. Ready to prove once again that it is able to adapt to the most innovative variations, that it can broaden its audience and that it can attract a crowd of new admirers, the Reverso is looking resolutely towards the future.
This future is inextricably entwined with the conceptual strength, the horological competence, the savoir-faire, the mastery of artistic crafts and the passion that drive the men and women of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Reverso captures and condenses the very essence of this vitality and these many forms of knowledge, serving as a distinguished ambassador of these admirable qualities.
At 75, it continues to provide fresh revelations of its unique nature.
Revelations of its icon status; revelations of the stature and the excellence of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre; and revelations of the wide spectrum of Reverso enthusiasts. Appealing to a youthful, sporty audience with a penchant for technical features through to a clientele attentive to traditional horological values and fascinated by complications; as well as ladies drawn to glamour, the Reverso has something individual, intimate, unique – and amazingly new – to say to each and every one of us.
Jérôme Lambert, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre
BIRTHRIGHT OF AN ICON
On 1.15 pm on March 4th 1931, a patent request relating to a watch “able to slide in its cradle and swivel completely over” was registered under number L712868, after due payment of the 5-franc fee, with the French Ministry of Trade and Industry in Paris. Such were the official beginnings of a legendary watch.
The idea was sparked a year earlier by César de Trey, a businessman involved in distributing high-end Swiss watches around the world. During his last trip to India, one of his polo partners, whose watch had been smashed during a tough game, challenged him to create a model resistant enough to ride unscathed through a polo match. This challenge was to give rise to the Reverso. In association with Jacques-David LeCoultre, whose company LeCoultre & Cie was renowned for the quality of its movements, and with the French engineer René-Alfred Chauvot who devised the pivoting system, de Trey and his two partners were to create an icon.
Having emerged from the midst of the Art Deco period, the Reverso expresses the timeless modernity characterizing this major artistic movement of which it has become a classic embodiment. Its shape expresses its essence, while the quality of its finishing and indeed of every last detail confirm its attachment to artistic craftsmanship. Its rectangular shape, in a watchmaking world dominated by round cases, was determined by its distinctive swivel function. Its pure lines and supple curves are designed to enhance its comfort and readability. Its movement in line with the finest watchmaking traditions is built to ensure its performance and to guarantee its sturdiness.
There is nothing fortuitous about the refined and playful Reverso. Its beauty stems from the necessities that guided its creation.
It has indeed remained unvaryingly beautiful for 75 years. Over three successive generations, the Reverso has undergone constant transformations while faithfully preserving its original identity. Its history has witnessed a number of important milestones. And the moment at hand is doubtless one such landmark.
A NEW REVELATION: REVERSO SQUADRA
One Reverso may lie hidden beneath another. Who, apart from the Manufacture, would have remembered that not just one, but two separate Reverso models had in fact been registered in the 1931 patent? Two twin watches, both reversible and both born from the same creative impulse. The only major difference lay in the shape of the case.
The first, the rectangular Reverso as we have known it for the past 75 years, has enjoyed the well-known destiny that has raised it to its current unassailable icon status. The other square one spent the rest of the century carefully stored in the back of a drawer, patiently awaiting the 21st century when it would at last be brought to light!
A revelation! Three-quarters of a century after its birth, its lines appear incredibly modern. An authentic Reverso featuring all the signature features of its noble lineage (including the legendary stylised godroons), it forcefully reaffirms the ultra-sporting origins of the Reverso dynasty. Virile, powerful and stylized, it has retained from its Art Deco origins a taste for taut, distinctive lines and an urban, cosmopolitan spirit entirely suited to contemporary values. As if 75 years of absolute discretion had magically preserved its youth intact.
Designed and mastered right through to its smallest details by the designers of the Manufacture, it displays excellent readability on its perfectly proportioned square dial with large luminescent numerals, asserts its sporting character through its ergonomic feel and shape, and expresses its sturdiness and its technical sophistication through its state-of-the-art Jaeger-LeCoultre movements. In short, the perfect melding of container and contents.
As the first Reverso collection to be entirely equipped with automatic movements, the Reverso Squadra meets the highest demands of long-term performance, particularly thanks to its rotor mounted on ceramic ball bearings and thus requiring no maintenance or lubrication. Lending an additional modern touch, all models are equipped with a dual time-zone display, an indication that has become inseparable from the active, elegant and globe-trotter lifestyle now admirably embodied by the Reverso Squadra.
Reverso Squadra World Chronograph
The Reverso Squadra World Chronograph, issued in a limited series of 1,500, is a powerful emblem of the daring, virile and resolutely contemporary spirit of the new Squadra line.
It is distinguished by numerous details, the most immediately striking being its swivel case in grade 5 titanium, a first for a Reverso. It also represents a technical feat since, due to the well-marked angles of its square shape, machining the case in titanium – a particularly hard and robust material – is an especially tough challenge and finishing it is also a highly complex task.
Another special feature lies in the construction of its mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 753. Together with its rotor, this Calibre is located at the heart of the case, between the two dials, from whence it centralizes and transmits its energy to both front and back. This is imposed by the fact that the Reverso Squadra World Chronograph has a double display. On the front, its dial plays on contrasts with a black base highlighted by white numerals and three subdials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock displaying the chronograph functions, the small seconds and a 24-hour disc indicator. This day/night indicator serves to adjust the large date display appearing at 12 o’clock.
Turning it over reveals what makes the Reverso Squadra World Chronograph so truly distinctive: an extremely original world time display. The central dial carrying the names of the 24 cities symbolizing each of the 24 time zones is surrounded by a ring engraved with the 24-hour scale synchronized with the time shown on the front, enabling an instant reading of the time in any part of the world. Moreover, a half-shaded translucent disc graphically reinforces the 24-hour day/night indication. With the Reverso Squadra World Chronograph, the Squadra line immediately displays its ambitions as the spirited embodiment of modernity and sportsmanship.
Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT
What could be more immediately and usefully sporting than a chronograph function? With the Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT, the Squadra line clearly shows its determination to offer an harmonious blend of functions and beauty, user-friendliness and style, sturdiness and modernity.
Arranged along a symmetrical axis of the kind favoured by Art Deco designers, the indications of the Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT are perfectly readable on the fine guilloché dial: hour and minute hands coated with a luminescent substance; a strongly contrasting large date with white indications against a black background; chronograph counters symmetrically arranged in square apertures at 3 o’clock (for the minutes) and 9 o’clock (for the hours), and a dual time-zone appearing at 6 o’clock. Displayed in 24-hour mode, the latter may be easily adjusted at any time using the crown.
The ergonomic and stylized chronograph push-buttons on either side of the crown are in perfect harmony with the sturdy elegance of the case. The transparent case-back reveals the mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 754. This new generation movement entirely developed and made in-house is robust, accurate, reliable and offers a 65-hour power reserve. Its structure and shape have been closely tailored to the square geometry of the case.
Hand-assembled and decorated with meticulous care, it is crafted in stainless steel or 18-carat pink gold.
Reverso Squadra Hometime
With the Reverso Squadra Hometime, the Squadra line vividly demonstrates its versatility: elegantly dressed or sporty, well travelled or sedentary, it displays several different identities while remaining true to itself: a constantly renewed revelation.
Against the backdrop of its silvered guilloché dial with its perfectly readable black numerals and luminescent hands, three symmetrically arranged indications stand out with perfect clarity: at 3 o’clock, the date linked to the main time zone shows through a rectangular aperture in white numerals on a black base; exactly opposite at 9 o’clock, the am/pm indication of the hometime or reference time zone displays its understated elegance against the dark base of its sub-dial; and at 6 o’clock, the small seconds appear on a square-shaped sub-dial.
The dual time zone is indicated by a baton-shaped hand that disappears beneath the hour hand when not in operation.
The entire set of displays is readable at a glance: symmetry, shapes, colours and contrasts are admirably merged through the grace of a design that is faithful to the Reverso fundamentals while revealing the distinctive power of the Squadra.
The Reverso Squadra Hometime, interpreted in stainless steel or 18-carat gold, is the ultimate travel watch designed for contemporary men. Both versions are equipped with the same sturdy and vigorous new mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 977, which is visible through the protective transparent sapphire crystal caseback. Its distinctive technical features guaranteeing its tried and tested sturdiness include precision adjustment by means of four inertia-blocks arranged on the outer edge of the balance rim; a balance-spring laser-welded to the stud and collet; a balance-cock replaced by a balance-bridge screwed to either side of the mainplate, and retaining catches that prevent the mainspring from being deformed by violent shocks.
REVERSO À ÉCLIPSES
The Reverso is undeniably – and one might almost say genetically – a past master in setting the stage for time. Its inimitable swivel, depending on whether it chooses to reveal its watch face or an entirely different side of its personality, enables the wearer to play with its appearance at will. The exceptional size (at least in watchmaking terms) of the space available on its back has provided scope for the Manufacture to develop its various fields of know-how and to perpetuate its artistic professions: engraving, enamelling and miniature enamel painting have thus enjoyed full expression and ongoing development throughout the Reverso’s 75 years.
With the Reverso à éclipses, the Manufacture offers an exceptional new showcase for its artistic forms of craftsmanship, within a genuinely spectacular stage-setting which literally reinvents a new way of presenting an artist’s work.
The Reverso à éclipses is entirely in line with the tradition of so-called “secret” watches. Nonetheless, this tradition (ranging from spring-cover watches to models with drawers or others with protective grids), takes on a new and truly astonishing dimension. Much like having a tiny theatre on the wrist, the Reverso à éclipses enables the wearer to make the sample of fine artistry and workmanship appear or disappear at will on a broad “stage” that shows it off to its best advantage. And contrary to all other watches, this one may be worn open or closed on the masterpiece within, while continuing to fulfil its “primary” function of showing the time. It is in fact the first watch with a double dial!
This stage-setting of the arts cultivated by the Manufacture is made possible by an amazing mechanical feat. With the Reverso à éclipses, mechanical ingenuity plays the role of a conjurer. Technically speaking, the secret consists of a double-shutter system which, actuated by an elegant roller knob placed in the upper right-hand corner of the case, glide over each other before disappearing completely – as if by magic – inside the case, which thus displays the full spread of the miniature “masterpiece” it was hiding under its apparent dial. This ingenious and simple to use mechanism is operated by a tiny chain driving a worm screw that opens the shutters. When the latter disappear, they reveal a lower-level plate displaying the enamelled work of art. The hand arbor, stretching out from the movement (an ultra-thin Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 849) housed beneath this enamelled gold plate, crosses through it and reaches up beyond the level of the shutters which, when closed, serve as a “first” raised dial.
This spectacular Reverso à éclipses, named after a pocket-watch (which was naturally much larger) developed by the Manufacture in 1910, nonetheless remains a Reverso in the fullest sense of the term: not only can it be worn “face up” either open or closed, but it also swivels to reveal its engraved case.
REVERSO À ÉCLIPSES: A REVELATION OF ARTISTIC PROFESSIONS
The inspiration that guided the designers of the Reverso à éclipses is entirely focused on highlighting the fine workmanship bequeathed by tradition: harmoniously consistent lines, subtle artistic touches, perfect finishing. Despite the original set of mechanical functions, including the movement, shutter system, chain, worm screw and additional roller knob, not to mention the additional thickness of the plate and its layers of enamel, the overall height of the case is no greater than that of the Grande Reverso.
This theatrical stage-setting for the arts of the Manufacture is expressed through four central themes, all closely related to the rich history of the Reverso: Travel and Discoveries; Famous Nudes; Chinese Signs of Zodiac and Grand Feu enamelling.
To create these little marvels of enamelling, the Manufacture has been able to rely on the talents of its two in-house artisans who are experts in this extremely delicate and highly technical craft, calling both for perfect artistic mastery (the artisan uses a single marten-hair brush) and for absolute mastery of firing times (since each colour requires its own firing at temperatures of up to 800° in the Grand Feu enamelling technique).
The eight subjects within the Travel and Discoveries theme (each is crafted in a limited edition of three in a platinum case) whisk us off towards the great ports and stopping places along the Silk Route.
Thanks to a special enamelling process (an engine-turned gold plate is coated with a translucent opal-white base through which the guilloché patterns shine), the scenes depicted are characterized by their unusual depth and intensity; the sky appears to catch fire, bringing to light a whole new dimension.
The theme of Famous Nudes, inspired by the works of great painters – Renoir, Klimt, Ingres, Botticelli – or anonymous masterpieces – Moghol miniatures, Kama-Sutra – is also expressed in eight different forms. Making use of new oxides that no longer require the use of a protective flux and that give enamelling a superior intensity and brilliance, but which were extremely complex to develop, these scenes are particularly luminous, vibrant and eminently sensual. They are a magnificent celebration of the human body and an eloquent homage to beauty.
The centuries-old technique of Grand Feu enamelling (it was often used for the dials of antique Morbier clocks) enables one to achieve an enamel that is both extremely pure and particularly resistant. The perilous firing operations at extremely high temperatures make it possible to show incredibly precise details. The Chinese Zodiac (2 sets of 28 on pink gold) is also interpreted in “Grand Feu” enamelling. The various symbols represented, appearing in white against a blue or red background, are progressively revealed as the shutters open.
The same principle is at work for the nostalgic theme of antique Morbier clock dials: the first dial shows the first twelve hours of the day (from 1 to 12), while the second, once the shutters are opened, shows the following hours numbered from 13 to 24 against a blue, black or enamelled base framed by a pink gold case.
The Reverso à éclipses shows an undeniable flair for staging dramatic turns of events, changes of scene - or “coups de théâtre” as they are known in French!
REVERSO GRANDE SUN MOON
Throughout its 75-year career to date, the Reverso has consistently shown its ability to serve as the privileged depository of the Haute Horlogerie skills perpetuated within the Manufacture. With the Reverso Grande Sun Moon, this demonstration of horological excellence in the most traditional sense of the term reaches a superlative new peak.
Through this exceptional watch, Jaeger-LeCoultre offers its own eminently recognizable interpretation of the classic features that, over the centuries, have steadily formed the set of traditional codes governing Haute Horlogerie: sophisticated mechanical functions and complications, movements decorated with Côtes de Genève and ‘sun pattern’ guilloché dial – all of which are presented with rigorous precision in an exterior distinguished by its pure lines and displaying meticulous attention to details.
Its twin-barrel Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 873, a movement endowed with an 8-day power reserve, is designed as if to serve as a reminder that each moment of time on earth is closely bound up with the time of the universe. The day/night indication at 2 o’clock depicts the daytime path of the sun which disappears to make way for the moon and its nocturnal phases, which are read off on a small round dial at 5 o’clock. This moon-phase indication is continuously followed by the seconds hand which shares the same zone, while the power reserve is displayed on the arc of a circle at 11 o’clock.
The full beauty of this exceptional movement is revealed on the back of the watch, through the protective sapphire crystal. While hand-engraved and decorated according to the finest traditions with vertical Côtes de Genève and a large central bridge with ‘sun pattern’ decoration, it nonetheless offers a highly original vision of time in its universal dimension: the blued screws and rubies are finely connected by an engraved, hand gilded pattern to form an imaginary constellation.
The generous size of its elegant Grande Reverso size case amplifies the classical charm of its silvered dial featuring a finely guilloché centre contrasting with circle segments, sub-dials, stylized numerals and flame-blued steel baton-shaped hands. This stunning array of characteristics provide a powerful horological reaffirmation of the watch’s original fundamentals.
Among the many revelations afforded by the 75th anniversary of the Reverso, there is a very special one that glows like an open secret: in the course of its multiple transformations, the Reverso knows how to dress itself glamorously. Better still, it is capable of combining extreme femininity with mechanical complications, blending jewellery expressions with horological heritage in a brilliantly seductive manner.
Reverso Duetto Duo
“La donna è mobile” sings Rigoletto in Verdi’s famous opera. Today’s women “change” more than ever, hopping from one time zone to another and swapping outfits as they go.
Original, dazzling, glamorous and mysterious, the Reverso Duetto Duo is the perfect expression of this play on duality. A jewellery-watch that is perfectly readable, splendidly gem-set and yet profoundly horological, it alternates between a daytime side with a shining silvered dial and floral numerals, and a night-time side featuring a black or silvered dial base depending on whether the case is in 18-carat pink, yellow or white gold; and gold-plated or rhodium-plated hands pointing to floral numerals.
Representing an impressive horological feat, these two dials and these two sets of hands are driven by a single mechanical Haute Horlogerie movement, the famous manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 854 with its 45-hour power reserve. The front displays the hours and minutes in a first time zone, while the back reveals the hours and minutes in a second time zone endowed with enhanced readability thanks to an exquisite day/night indication in the shape of a tiny sun by day and a tiny moon by night.
Brilliant and active (it is water-resistant to 30 metres, which is exceptional for a jewellery watch), it combines watch-making reliability, functionality and adornment. Its generously sized case (40.2 mm x 25 mm) is enhanced on each side by two rows of diamonds (64 in all).
The Reverso Duetto Duo is inseparably associated with a sparkling elegance that makes it a faithful companion by day and night.
Reverso lady jewellery
The Reverso has always been more than a “watch”; it is a landscape that time wanders through. With its double rows of diamonds set on each side of its silvered dial, framing a centre enhanced by a fine guilloché pattern, the Reverso lady jewellery is adorned with what one might truly call a “fairytale” landscape.
A new interpretation of the Reverso in its ladies’ size, it radiates a charm imbued with elegance stemming from its self-evident design, its scintillating restraint, its highly contemporary inspiration, its striking beauty and its caseback that may be engraved and personalized. Driven by a mechanical manually-wound movement, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846, with a power reserve of 40 hours, or a quartz movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 608, developed, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand in the workshops of the Manufacture, this horological gem is water-resistant to 30 metres. The Reverso lady jewellery constitutes both the epitome of the aristocratic lineage of Reverso watches and a concentrated blend of its finest qualities.
ITS HISTORY… LIES AHEAD OF IT
The fact that the Reverso is treating itself at the “ripe” age of 75 to a bouquet of horological, artistic, technical and jewellery revelations, constitutes eloquent proof that its history… stretches out before it.
Its draws its constant power of self-renewal from its roots. It is the distinctive nature of its origins that enables it to develop and blossom without ever betraying its identity. Like the two sides that are part of its nature, it has proved capable of taking on a thousand different faces, and will continue to show many more in the years to come.
The Revelations presented on the occasion of its anniversary constitute an eloquent demonstration: the Reverso is able to comply with the most demanding requirements of Haute Horlogerie, to provide an incomparable showcase for time-honoured decorative arts, to appeal to active and energetic contemporary men by returning to one of its birthright shapes, or to sparkle radiantly in glamorous interpretations. Ever changing, ever constant: the Reverso is unique.
Source: Europa Star April-May 2006 Magazine Issue