Celebrating an anniversary like 90 years is a should whenever you’re a wristwatch as previous and as evergreen because the Reverso. In honor of the lengthy and profitable profession of this horological icon, let’s take a short look again over the past 9 a long time of its stunning existence.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso: beginnings
India is the place this most basic of all sports activities watches was born 90 years in the past. The story so legendarily goes that colonial India was polo-crazy, with 175 polo golf equipment bobbing up across the nation by the top of the nineteenth century.
The wristwatch – which had develop into all the fashion within the early twentieth century – was not one thing that well-to-do polo gamers had been wont to take off simply to play their favourite sport. So many timepieces suffered damaged crystals: sapphire crystal was not but in use, so the one different alternative was mineral crystal, in essence plain, fragile glass.
And there’s no approach that mineral crystal would stand as much as the trials and tribulations of a polo match, throughout which well-trained polo ponies can acquire speeds of as much as 60 kilometers per hour and the balls and sticks fly even sooner and tougher.
César de Trey, a detailed affiliate of Jacques-David LeCoultre who had had lately develop into concerned in distributing luxurious Swiss wristwatches, was visiting in India in 1930. After witnessing a sport that inevitably led to some smashed crystal, the Swiss countryman took this downside to coronary heart.
He set engineer Alfred Chauvot to the duty of inventing a case that will be rather more appropriate for the game of polo. And in 1931 he got here up with simply such a case, submitting a patent on March four in Paris for a casing that rotated by itself axis to guard the delicate crystal.
De Trey knew that there was just one manufacture in Switzerland to make such a sophisticated watch case, and he turned to Jaeger-LeCoultre to create the custom-shaped mechanism for the artwork deco-styled timepiece.
The remaining, as they are saying, is historical past. It was a superb precept involving a easy mechanism of two spring-mounted spurs becoming into grooves on both aspect of the watch’s body. And now 90 years later this identical design (with a little bit of modernization, after all) nonetheless enjoys nice success.
Ninety years is a heck of a very long time for any watch to take care of such a level of recognition. Granted, although, the Reverso – whose identify is Latin and means “I flip round” – did have a couple of ups and downs all through near a century’s value of historical past.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso’s early historical past set the tone
The oldest identified enameled Reverso depicts a lovely Indian lady dressed within the method of the Parsi, a group situated primarily within the Bombay (Mumbai) area of India. Particulars relating to the love story behind this gorgeously enameled timepiece proceed to be a secret, however what stays is the love affair between the Reverso’s case again and private enameled artworks.
Certainly, the protecting case again of the Reverso has at all times been used for private embellishment, be it the enamel that has experienced extreme renaissance underneath the cautious tutelage of the grande maison’s personal Miklos Merczel as of 1992 or personal engravings.
The persevering with historical past of the Reverso can be intertwined with the manufacture’s mechanical creativity: a number of the best formed actions within the historical past of watchmaking stem from the need to outfit the Reverso with a big variation of calibers.
Alone in 1933, Jaeger-LeCoultre designed three new calibers for it: Caliber 404 meant for the smaller women’ fashions, Caliber 410 with subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock, and Caliber 411 with sweep seconds.
Till the outbreak of World Struggle II, Jaeger-LeCoultre had created at least eleven completely different actions for the Reverso.
Throughout World Struggle II, manufacturing was definitively down, if not totally out, like for each different timepiece – and remained so in post-war Europe, when all watch producers counted on dependable, spherical timepieces to spice up gross sales.
Within the 1970s, the Reverso obtained its first diamond setting, and within the 1980s underneath the tutelage of legendary supervisor Günter Blümlein, the case was revamped, thereby rising the person elements wanted for its manufacture from lower than 30 to greater than 50.
Developed, manufactured, assembled, and completed inside Jaeger-LeCoultre’s personal partitions in Le Sentier, Switzerland, the Reverso case stays probably the most sophisticated in the marketplace.
The trendy age of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
For the Reverso’s sixtieth anniversary in 1991, the manufacture’s engineers determined to make use of that fascinating flip aspect for a distinct function: issues on each the entrance and the again. Concurrently, it was given a bigger case, and the “Grande Taille” was born.
Following on, the manufacture’s inventive watchmakers added a second time zone to the flip aspect of the Reverso for the primary time, which opened a complete new expanse of prospects for the reborn icon.
The Reverso Tourbillon arrived in 1993 housed in an 18-karat pink gold case – the primary tourbillon within the flip case and one of many first serial wristwatch tourbillons in any respect – in a restricted sequence of 500 items. Its again was totally occupied by the tourbillon and energy reserve indication of Caliber 828.
The next yr introduced the Reverso Duo, powered by Caliber 854. Whereas the entrance dial displayed native time, the again was devoted to house time as a 24-hour indication. Three years later in 1997, the extra petite and ornamental Reverso Duetto outfitted with Caliber 844 did the identical for girls.
By 2001 the primary platinum case arrived within the Reverso line inside a restricted sequence of 500 items referred to as the Reverso Platinum Quantity One. This skeletonized magnificence was adopted by the Reverso Platinum Quantity Two in 2003, additionally restricted to only 500 items.
The Reverso Grande GMT of 2004 introduced one thing new to the road: it was outfitted with a single motion powering the back-to-back dials displaying two completely different time zones. This was solely potential due to Caliber 878, a manually wound motion that includes an influence reserve of eight days.
The mechanics of outstanding jewels
In 2004, Jaeger-LeCoultre additionally continued its lengthy love affair with distinctive Reverso timepieces for female wrists.
This was the yr that Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the breathtaking Grande Reverso 101, certainly one of my all-time favourite watches. On the time, it was fittingly described by product supervisor Stéphane Belmont as “the grandeur of the infinitely small.”
It stays a thriller to me as to why the revolutionary créateurs at Jaeger-LeCoultre hadn’t provide you with this earlier than then, as it’s a timepiece that almost all effectively and superbly combines all the manufacture’s core factors of female experience.
The petite mechanical marvel Caliber 101, a mere three.four mm in top, is actually placed on show in a breathtakingly hand-engraved model behind a sapphire crystal dial in the identical Grande Reverso case used for the chunkier males’s watches.
The within case again – typically embellished with perlage on the common Reverso fashions – has been fabulously snow-set with diamonds of various measurement and form to supply a glittering backdrop for the mechanical star of the present. The motion seems to drift inside its sapphire crystal confines, with out even a stem from the crown to disturb its manually wound 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Which may appear very mysterious, however the secret is lifted as soon as the swiveling Reverso case is rotated to disclose the again aspect. The crown situated on the aspect of the case shouldn’t be really purposeful. To wind the watch, the crown is faraway from its place of relaxation and inserted into the opening reserved for it on the case again. This stunning timepiece-cum-jewel with its 1,106 diamonds (whole carat weight: three.93) will then stay wound for about 33 hours.
To not be outdone by the watchmakers in Le Sentier, the gem setters on the Jaeger-LeCoultre facility within the Vallée de Joux created a number of extra distinctive jeweled items in 2004, probably the most revolutionary of which is definitely the Grande Reverso Rock Setting.
Grasp gem setter Alan Kirchhof invented the brand new rock setting approach for Jaeger-LeCoultre. After turning the massive baguette-cut diamonds and different gems like rubies the other way up, virtually positioning them girdle-up, Kirchhof secured them into place by pouring molten gold between them, thus making a custom, but invisible, setting. The method could be very tough and time-consuming as even the slightest slip of the hand or a metallic temperature that’s off by even one diploma might harm a number of carats’ value of the dear stones. The impact could be termed none aside from completely breathtaking, and it goes with out saying that the watch proven was a singular piece.
It must be famous that these timepieces constituted the primary use of snow setting within the watch business.
First automated Reversos
That includes the one automated Reverso motion to that cut-off date, the Gran Sport Automatique of 2004 was positioned as each a ladies’s and a males’s timepiece. With a 45-hour energy reserve, Caliber 960R is a manufacture motion comprising 226 hand-crafted elements beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The hours, minutes, sweep seconds, and date are featured on a matte black dial with charcoal gray zoning, with white luminescent Gran Sport numerals and silver-plated hour markers.
A stylish aspect that will tackle extra that means for Jaeger-LeCoultre from right here was the chestnut-colored, distressed calfskin strap with deployant clasp. The following seek for wonderful straps naturally led the Swiss watchmaking to Casa Fagliano in Argentina, which as soon as once more tied into the polo theme.
A yr later, the primary automated Reverso Grande Taille debuted on the 2005 version of the SIHH, outfitted with Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 970 comprising 233 elements and boasting 50 hours of energy reserve.
Although the flip aspect of this Reverso shows a floor reserved for adornment, the entrance of it homes most of the features that will typically be discovered on two sides: house time, second time zone, giant date, subsidiary seconds, and day/evening indicator for the second time zone. The reversible case is accessible in chrome steel and 18-karat rose gold on both a strap or a bracelet.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso’s 75th anniversary in 2006
The 75th anniversary of the Reverso ten years in the past caused a slew of fascinating timepieces housed within the swiveling case.
One in every of these is the Reverso à Éclipses, certainly one of its most creative Reverso timepieces to this point.
The identify of the watch is deceptive, although, for it has nothing to do with the astronomical phenomenon of the eclipse. Quite, the unbelievable perform is a shutter situated on the dial that may be opened and closed at will by the wearer.
The shutter could be opened, and even solely partially opened, to disclose a murals created by Merczel and his then-apprentice Sophie Quenaan (now the second most skilled enameler at Jaeger-LeCoultre). By the identical token, the shutter could be utterly closed, permitting the dial to stay metallic and secretive. Traditionally, Jaeger-LeCoultre has positioned its enameled miniatures on the flip aspect of the Reverso case, however this time the art work created utilizing a brush comprising one single marten hair makes up the key 18-karat gold dial underneath the metallic shutters.
Jaeger-LeCoultre honored the timepiece’s Indian roots by selecting artwork impressed from the works of Renoir, Ingres, and Klimt in addition to the nameless masters of Mogul artwork and even a scene from the Kama Sutra.
The gold plates beneath the enamel are first guilloché by Merczel utilizing a pantograph, as common guilloché created by utilizing a rose engine would have deformed the skinny plate. Then the plate is roofed with a transparent enamel, after which it’s painted by the 2 artists in particularly brilliant colours and fired at greater than 800°C (making it grand feu). This course of is called champlevé and offers the completed murals a depth and depth not in any other case potential.
Jaeger-LeCoultre selected hand-wound Caliber 849 to energy this masterpiece due to its svelte top. Three “grand feu” themes had been created in 18-karat rose gold Grande Taille instances, every restricted to 25 items: eight “Erotic” themes restricted to a few items every in platinum; 16 “Journey and Discovery” themes every additionally restricted to a few every in platinum instances; and “Chinese language Zodiac” themes restricted to twenty-eight every in pink and blue in 18-karat rose gold instances.
Jaeger-LeCoultre additionally used the anniversary alternative to check out one thing utterly new: the primary sq. Reverso!
Completely proportioned, the Reverso Squadra match proper in with the model’s pursuit of the sports activities watch section.
Designer Janek Deleskiewicz based mostly his drawings on a 75-year previous patent that was saved on the manufacture. And he discovered simply the precise formulation for turning the elegant, rectangular artwork deco case right into a sporty sq., filling out the wrist in a masculine approach whereas sustaining the particular air of the Reverso.
It’s a little-known indisputable fact that each the oblong and the sq. case shapes had been initially created on the identical time, with the unique creators selecting to maneuver ahead with the artwork deco-style rectangular case to suit the tastes of the period somewhat higher. The sq. form was regarded as too post-modern on the time and remained in a drawer all these years.
Sadly, the Squadra additionally didn’t find yourself assembly the overall tastes of the twenty-first century and it has since been discontinued. I, for one, was a fan, although.
Extremely-complicated Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque
Persevering with the 75-year celebration on the 2006 SIHH, the model launched a Reverso combining shows of imply, sidereal, and perpetual instances in a single grand complication actually requiring the abilities of 14 completely different technicians and roughly 700 elements.
The French phrase triptyque interprets as triptych in English, “an historic Roman writing pill with three waxed leaves hinged collectively, or an image or carving in three panels aspect by aspect, or one thing composed or introduced in three elements of sections,” in response to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
The Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque makes use of each facet of the distinctive Reverso case to be able to home its eighteen issues correctly. The entrance of the Reverso dial shows, virtually as typical, the hours, minutes, a day/evening indication, and subsidiary seconds on a one-minute tourbillon cage.
The flip aspect of this dial, using the selfsame manually wound Caliber 175, is reserved for the astronomical features that embody sidereal time, a alternative of astronomical charts for the northern or southern hemispheres, the hours of dawn and sundown, which should be individually arrange within the manufacturing facility in response to the geographical location of the proprietor, a zodiacal calendar, and the equation of time.
An extremely distinctive factor is discovered within the base of this Reverso case, the place one would normally encounter the round grained within the metallic case again. As an alternative, we see the extraordinarily legible calendar dial powered by a module situated inside the base (case “again”). This dial reveals a perpetual calendar together with a retrograde digital date, bissextile year indication, palms for the day and month, and the phases and ages of the moon. The calendar module situated right here is only one.7 mm excessive, a feat that’s solely achievable attributable to the truth that it doesn’t embody a winding mechanism.
This module receives its vitality from the identical two spring barrels that energy the principle motion, although it’s transmitted in a singular method. At precisely midnight, if the swiveling Reverso case is in a closed place, a lever descends right into a snail cam’s notch, instantaneously liberating vitality that has been saved within the barrel. This vitality prompts an actuator within the module, which the truth is advances the retrograde date and all the opposite related calendar shows situated there.
Guaranteeing that the case is correctly linked at midnight couldn’t be less complicated. All of the wearer has to do is activate a bolt mechanism to retain the case within the appropriate place. In any other case, the wearer solely wants to decide on the dial she or he would like to have a look at whereas this course of is happening.
The Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque accommodates a tourbillon escapement, however not simply any. Jaeger-LeCoultre determined to forego utilizing the standard Swiss pallet escapement in favor of a direct system, which the corporate has termed an ellipse isometer escapement, impressed by conventional marine chronometer escapements that ship impulses solely as soon as per full vibration as in comparison with at present’s frequent escapements, which accomplish that twice per full oscillation, as soon as after every beat (the tick and the tock, so to talk).
It also needs to be famous that Jaeger-LeCoultre has additionally premiered using high-tech supplies on this conventional sort of escapement in typical JLC style, with out the fanfare related to it in the mean time by different corporations.
Since monocrystalline silicon was the perfect materials for the job of constructing the blocking-lever arm and the escape wheel, Jaeger-LeCoultre went forward and used it, concurrently guaranteeing the motion an a variety of benefits similar to anti-magnetism, corrosion-resistance, and, after all, no want for escapement lubrication.
Caliber 175’s one-minute tourbillon can be certainly one of ethereal lightness as its filigreed cage consists of Grade 5 titanium, weighing solely zero.08 grams. The cage and its new escapement weigh solely zero.29 grams all collectively.
The Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque has earned no fewer than six new patents for the model. “It’s a watch of superlatives,” Jérôme Lambert, the corporate’s then-CEO, commented on the time. For which motive there have been solely 75 items in treasured platinum instances carrying a price ticket of about $400,000 every.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2
When Jaeger-LeCoultre launched its Gyrotourbillon I in 2004, it was hailed as a revolutionary timepiece in excessive watchmaking. This standing has not modified, and it’s subsequently no shock that the masterpiece containing a spherical tourbillon could be revamped to be used in one of many model’s iconic Reverso instances in 2008 (the primary was housed in a spherical Grasp case).
The completely different case shapes weren’t the one causes that the manufacture undertook some basic modifications within the Gyrotourbillon’s spherical double tourbillon caliber. Persevering with escapement analysis in a quest for extra precision noticed the Swiss model introduce a cylinder-shaped steadiness spring to it, the primary of its type in a wristwatch, and a spring that now had the Gyrotourbillon beating at a faster-paced 4 Hertz as an alternative of the earlier three, guaranteeing much more precision.
The cylindrical steadiness spring was invented in 1782 by John Arnold. The intense complexity concerned in manufacturing a miniaturized model assured that it remained the unique timekeeper for his marine chronometers and maybe a couple of bigger pocket watches. Solely with this watch had it been efficiently made totally appropriate for a wristwatch.
Mixed with the spherical double tourbillon – whose outer carriage revolves at a velocity of 1 minute and inside carriage at 18.75 seconds – accuracy is actually the order of the day.
Manually wound Caliber 174 additionally made it obligatory for the manufacture’s case engineers to design a brand new swiveling housing for it since its spherical tourbillon demanded a thicker shell than was routinely obtainable. Caliber 174 boasts an influence reserve of 50 hours with only one barrel fitted with a sapphire crystal cowl to scale back friction and contains a complete of 371 elements, 58 of that are jewels.
As a result of the mechanics of this timepiece are so visually beautiful, it’s straightforward to overlook that it really tells the time as effectively. And extra: the entrance shows the hours, minutes, seconds (on the tourbillon carriage), and has a 24-hour show. Being a Reverso, there’s naturally an fascinating again to this watch as effectively, and it’s outfitted with an influence reserve indicator.
The Gyrotourbillon 2 was additionally solely obtainable in a restricted version of 75 items.
For an in-depth have a look at this magnificence, see Beautiful Contrasts: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso: 80th anniversary
The story of the Reverso’s beginning stays the stuff of legends, and this good precept involving a easy mechanism comprising two spring-mounted spurs that match into grooves on both aspect of the watch’s body stays recent as a daisy.
Eighty years later, the Reverso case constituted a full 55 elements, reaching a singular complexity that few, if any, different instances can match. “The Reverso is the epitome of perform and elegance,” then-CEO Jérôme Lambert – who now heads up Richemont, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s father or mother firm – defined as he counted the “secrets and techniques” of the Reverso’s longevity on the SIHH: completely proportioned case together with a very good transition between lugs, strap and case and a extremely purposeful design. “The emotion of at present stays the emotion of tomorrow,” he mentioned on the time.
On the event of this anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched a number of new fashions to the gathering, starting with the Grande Reverso Extremely Skinny, which is housed within the thinnest Reverso case ever made: 7.2 mm. Out there in pink gold or chrome steel, Lambert revealed that this ultra-svelte measurement is “a tribute to the 1931 spirit.”
Much more of this spirit is displayed by the Grande Reverso Extremely Skinny 1931, which is moreover outfitted with a replicated classic dial from the period: it isn’t signed “Jaeger-LeCoultre,” however fairly “Reverso” because it was totally impressed by a mannequin discovered within the archives. “The purity of the fashion was reinterpreted right here,” Lambert mentioned of the 2 hand-wound restricted version fashions.
For a full rundown of this watch from an proprietor, see Why I Bought It: Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute To Reverso 1931.
A brand new Grande Reverso Duo was based mostly on the unique Duo mannequin that got here out in 1994; its declare to fame is “one motion, two time zones on two faces,” as Lambert defined. “Again then, a watchmaker had an epiphany,” he jokingly defined of the primary “sensible” use of the Reverso’s flip aspect. Manually wound Caliber 986 with synchronized date additionally sports activities a brand new dial design: white on one aspect, black on the opposite. The chrome steel or 18-karat rose gold case is available in at 48.5 x 30 x 10.2 mm.
The Grande Reverso Girl Extremely Skinny was launched by Hollywood actress Diane Kruger: a manually wound magnificence in a proportionate chrome steel or rose gold case solely 7.2 mm in top.
The haute horlogerie piece accompanying the anniversary was, after all, a Reverso: the Reverso Répétition Minutes à Rideau.
Capturing the emotional spirit of the collector, the Reverso Répétition Minutes à Rideau even provides a never-been-seen aspect: a “pivoting curtain” that enables the wearer to as soon as once more see varied “faces” of the timepiece.
Merely utilizing a fingertip to slip the “curtain” masking one of many sides of the case reveals the hidden fantastic thing about the motion and likewise prompts the repeating mechanism. This mannequin, which additionally undergoes the 1,000-hours control test the model performs on its timepieces, is simply obtainable in a 75-piece restricted version in white gold. When the curtain is open, a very good little bit of the 340 elements of manually wound Caliber 944 are seen via the sapphire crystal.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso 2016-2019
At SIHH 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled a brand new Reverso assortment to the world, which then-CEO Daniel Riedo described this fashion, “To mark its 85th birthday, we wished to supply a brand new imaginative and prescient of the Reverso, so that every particular person can instantly acknowledge the gathering that matches their very own character and the mannequin destined to develop into theirs.
It was about respectfully evolving this legendary watch whereas bearing sure key conditions in thoughts: preserving the character of this distinctive watch that could be a concentrated mix of the wealth of expertise inside our Manufacture, in addition to safeguarding its class and its up to date spirit; clarifying the collections by instating three stylistic expressions – Reverso Traditional, Reverso Tribute and Reverso One – with their very own distinct worlds and aspirations; structuring the basic sizes by providing three small, medium and huge choices; introducing an automated motion on various fashions within the Reverso Traditional line to make sure real person friendliness; and, lastly, inviting every of you to think about your personal watch through the Atelier Reverso. Such was our mission, of which we at the moment are delighted and proud to unveil the outcomes.”
In different phrases, three new collections set the tone for the final 5 years of this iconic assortment: Reverso Traditional, Reverso Tribute, and Reverso One, every obtainable in small, medium, and huge choices. Moreover, the model launched Atelier Reverso, which permits customization, in addition to the celebratory complication piece Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon.
In 2008, Jaeger-LeCoultre positioned its revolutionary Gyrotourbillon within the Reverso case for the primary time, as I described above, calling it the Gyrotourbillon 2. It was solely obtainable in a restricted version of 75 items every in platinum and pink gold. The 2016 model, now referred to as the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, was up to date to make the watch a lot thinner and extra wearable. It additionally grew to become the primary Gyrotourbillon with two purposeful sides. It too was restricted to only 75 items in platinum.
The next Reverso years continued to be primarily concerning the wildly common Tribute theme with the very notable Reverso Métiers Rares Enamel Tribute to Ferdinand Hodler arriving in 2018. This restricted version paid homage to certainly one of Switzerland’s most important artists of the nineteenth century and was obtainable in three variations of eight items every. These distinctive timepieces commemorated an artist accredited with a variety of works together with symbolist panorama stills of his house nation so well-known for its pure, untouched magnificence. Hodler died in 1918, so these watches that includes enameled variations of his work on their backs additionally marked the centennial of his passing.
As 2021 breaks, fortunately leaving 2020 behind, Jaeger-LeCoultre has begun releasing Reverso variations in celebration of the 90-year anniversary of its icon.
The primary of those is a shocking Reverso Tribute mannequin with a burgundy pink dial referred to as Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano. This new watch justifiably wears its 1931 Artwork Deco inspiration like a badge of honor because it is aware of that it’s going to stay recent, basic, and fashionable for its total lifespan. Even for an additional 90 years.
Fast Details Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano
Case: pink gold, 47 x 28.three x 10.three mm
Motion: manually wound Caliber 854A/2, three Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 42 hours energy reserve
Capabilities: hours, minutes, seconds on the entrance; second time zone, 24-hour day/evening indication on the again
Limitation 190 items
Strap: two-tone Cordovan leather-based and canvas designed and handcrafted by Casa Fagliano
Comment: Eight-year guarantee
For extra info, please go to www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/reverso.