Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Chronographe Rétrograde

From Watch Wiki: The Best Watches and Watch Brands
Jump to: navigation, search

The Reverso Chronographe Rétrograde was a limited-edition luxury watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced in 1996. It was the first chronograph model in the Reverso range.


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 with the Reverso Tourbillon and Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Répétition Minutes that followed.

Although conceived as a sports model, the Reverso range fell out of favor before chronograph movements became commonplace. Even then, chronograph models of existing watches were quite rare (see the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph for example. So the 1996 introduction of a custom in-house column wheel chronograph movement shaped to fit the Reverso Grande Taille case complete with a retrograde hand was no letdown after the previous Reverso Complications models. And the view of this movement through a transparent caseback was impressive, with partial skeletonization, blued screws, and gold plating.

It reportedly took years for Jaeger-LeCoultre to perfect this movement, with shipments delayed to buyers. But the Chronographe Rétrograde served its purpose, casting a halo over the Reverso range and demonstrating Jaeger-LeCoultre's capabilities. The front is traditional Reverso, with a guilloche dial, date aperture at 6:00, and simple power reserve indicator at 5:00. This indicator shows "Marche" and "Arret" ("go" and "stop") rather than hours or days. The reverse side is partially skeletonized, with a large dial for chronograph seconds above a retrograde scale from 0 to 30 for chronograph minutes. The column wheel and balance are visible between these.

Once again a limited edition of 500, the Chronographe Rétrograde features a pink gold case in the Grande Taille size, 42 mm tall by 26 mm wide. The movement, Cal. 829, was only used in this model. A similar movement was created for the follow-on Reverso Gran’Sport Chronograph which was offered beginning in 2001.

This haute horology watch helped set the standard for the modern Jaeger-LeCoultre, linking it to the Hybris Mechanica line thanks to its custom complicated movement. The next offering in the Reverso Complications series would follow in 1998, the Reverso Géographique.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Complications Series

  1. 1991: Reverso 60eme
  2. 1993: Reverso Tourbillon
  3. 1994: Reverso Répétition Minutes
  4. 1996: Reverso Chronographe Rétrograde
  5. 1998: Reverso Géographique
  6. 2000: Reverso Quantième Calendrier Perpétuel
  7. 2002: Reverso Platinum Number One
  8. 2003: Reverso Platinum Number Two


Case number 270.2.69 (Limited to 500 pieces)


Manual winding manufacture movement JLC 829


Pink gold case
Dimensions: 42 mm x 26 mm
Sapphire crystal
Crystal caseback


Guilloche silver dial
Applied Arabic numerals
Blued steel hands


Hours, minutes
Date window at 6:00
Power reserve indicator at 5:00
Chronograph seconds at center
Retrograde 30 chronograph minutes at bottom
Crown side
Chronograph start and stop buttons


Produced: 1996
Predecessor: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Répétition Minutes
Successor: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Reverso Géographique, Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gran’Sport Chronograph