The Reverso Tourbillon was a limited-edition luxury watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced in 1993. It was one of the first complicated models in the Reverso range and one of the first series-produced tourbillon watches.
In 1991, Jaeger-LeCoultre re-established itself as a high-end watchmaker, adding a complication to the iconic Reverso range as a signature piece. The resulting Reverso 60eme showed what could be done in the tiny reversible Reverso case, adding a power reserve indicator and date by pointer to a larger “Grande Taille” case with a display caseback. These elements were taken to a new level two years later with the Reverso Tourbillon.
The dial of the 1993 Reverso Tourbillon is remarkably understated, looking nearly identical to simple time-only Reverso Grande Taille models. Arabic numerals mark the hours, with the “JL” logo at 12 00 and a round small seconds dial at 6 00. Blued steel hands contrast with a rectangular guilloche dial surrounded by a chapter ring with tiny marks for minutes. Only the “Tourbillon” legend above the seconds subdial reveals the secret of this watch.
The case flips over to reveal Jaeger-LeCoultre's Cal. 828, custom designed just for this application. A rectangular movement, Cal. 828 features a central tourbillon anchored to an open bridge. The rest of the movement is concealed under engraved gold plates, apart from the center wheel. The upper area of the movement is dominated by a power reserve pointer showing 40 hours of power reserve.
The “Grande Taille” (“Large Size”) case measures 42 mm tall by 26 mm wide like the 60eme, much bigger than the classic 38 mm by 23 mm Reverso or the square 24 x 23 mm Reverso II. It was a limited edition of 500 pieces.
This was the first real haute horology piece from the modern Jaeger-LeCoultre, linking it to the Hybris Mechanica line thanks to its custom complicated movement. It was also one of the first series-produced tourbillon watches. Jaeger-LeCoultre's next innovation followed in 1994, the Reverso Répétition Minutes. Ten years later, Jaeger-LeCoultre would produce a new Reverso Tourbillon, the Reverso Platinum Number One.