Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso from 1931
© Jaeger-LeCoultre
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tourbillon, one of many Reverso variants
© Jaeger-LeCoultre

The Reverso is a historic wristwatch by Jaeger-LeCoultre featuring a flip-over face.

History

The Reverso, was introduced to the market in 1931 by LeCoultre, designed as a response to adversity: For polo-playing British officers in India it was always a great annoyance when the delicate crystals of their wristwatches were broken during the competition. The watch importer César de Trey described the problem to his supplier Jacques-David LeCoultre, who together with his partner Edmond Jaeger and the Parisian engineer René-Alfred Chauvot developed the watch with the "twist": A case in steel, which can slide on a holder and swivel completely. This means, in dangerous moments, the delicate glass can disappear inside. On 4 March 1931 this idea was registered as a patent. Shortly afterwards, the watch went into series production. The Reverso lasted in production as the first "sports watch" until World War II.

The Reverso was a challenge for Jaeger-LeCoultre to produce at first. Designed under contract to Jaeger (then a separate firm), it was intended to use a LeCoultre movement. But no appropriate movement was available and Jaeger was unable to produce the cases in time. Therefore, the earliest Reversos feature cases by A.E. Wenger and movements by Tavannes (often signed "Lisica"), although final assembly was handled in Le Sentier by LeCoultre since the very beginning. Starting in 1933, LeCoultre brought the movements in-house with their specially-designed JLC 11 U calibre (15 jewels, 18,000 vph, 50 hour power reserve). Eventually, 11 different movements were used in pre-war Reversos.

Reverso II

In 1972, Jaeger-LeCoultre's Italian distributor noticed many unused Reverso cases in the factory and asked for the company to restart production for him. 200 leftover cases are assembled with mechanical movements and sell quickly, proving the market for this Art Deco classic.

The Reverso was officially reintroduced in 1982 as the squared-off Reverso II. This model was wider than previous models, recalling a design from the 1930s and serving as inspiration for the Squadra line 25 years later. The Reverso II was available with both quartz and mechanical movements.

Buyers preferred the classic rectangular look, so in 1985 the company re-committed to the model with a newly-designed water-resistant case. Also available with both quartz and mechanical movements, the new Reverso appealed to men and women alike. Soon the Reverso II was retired and the Reverso line was reborn.

Reverso Grande Taille

The Reverso became the company's signature product in 1991 with a special anniversary "60eme" model with a larger "Grande Taille" case, leading to many complications and models. The Reverso Duoface, introduced in 1994, was a technical feat, with a single movement driving dials on both sides, along with the 1997 Duetto for women. Strong sales have driven the watch to become one of the company's most popular models.

Reverso Squadra

Throughout the 2000s, the Reverso lineup began to get sportier and more masculine, with larger cases and complications. Once again it was an anniversary model that paved the way: This time, the Reverso Septantième featured an even larger "Grande" case. The Reverso Gran'Sport Chronograph of 2002 was the first cronograph model in the brand's long history. This was followed in 2006 by a square-cased Reverso line, the Squadra which recalled the Reverso II and some early square models.

The Grande Taille case remained in production as well, as did other previous models, but the lineup became fragmented with numerous sizes and designs. Automatic movements began to appear for the first time, in the Squadra and Grande cases first but eventually even in the Grande Taille case.

Reverso Classic

Jaeger-LeCoultre used SIHH 2016 to refresh the Reverso lineup with a new case and rationalized models. The main product was the new Reverso Classic, available in small, medium, and large sizes, the Reverso Tribute line, as well as the Reverso One for women. The real attention-getter was the latest haute horology creation, the Tribute Gyrotourbillon.

Today, the watch with the "two sides" is produced in many variants and is regarded as a beautiful, timeless classic that embodies the Art déco style perfectly. Due to its continuing popularity it is one of the pillars of the model range of Jaeger-LeCoultre and has contributed significantly to the reputation of the brand.

Models

The Reverso line has expanded greatly since its reintroduction, most notably with the Reverso Duoface, a model with a face on both sides and a dual timezone feature. Additional models include larger "Grande" cases, historic and special edition models, and specialist pieces like the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 and three-faced Reverso grande complication à triptyque.

All rectangular "classic" Reversos feature "golden ratio" case dimensions, 1.6:1.

Complication series

Beginning in 1991, Jaeger-LeCoultre began a limited-edition series of Reverso models with special complications.

External links

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique
© Jaeger-LeCoultre

Reverso Classique:

Movement:

Manual winding manufacture movement JLC 846, 21,600 A/h
18 jewels
93 components
Power reserve 40 hours

Case:

Swivelling case with more than 50 parts, turnable and pivotable for 180 degrees, in the proportions of the first modell from 1931
Stainless steel, 18ct yellow gold, yellow gold / stainless steel
Sapphire crystal
Waterproof to 30 m

Dial:

Silvered
Black transferred numerals
Blued bâton hands

Functions:

Hours, minutes

Bracelet:

Metal band or crocodile leather strap with Jaeger-LeCoultre folding clasp