You are currently viewing Watch Report 2016: A Reverso Feast

Watch Report 2016: A Reverso Feast

As the Reverso celebrates its 85th birthday this year, we look at this magnificent Jaeger-LeCoultre icon in some of the many iterations in which it is currently available.

At the INPI (National Industrial Property Institute) in Paris, René-Alfred Chauvot officially patented his invention of a “wristwatch which can slide on its base and flip over on itself”. A unique and ingenious invention – the Reverso watch was born. Since then, through its 85 years of history, the legendary timepiece has adorned the wrists of not just polo players, but connoisseurs around the world, elevating itself to the level of an icon, especially after its relaunch in the 1990s. What has made these timepieces what they are today is the virtuosity of the watchmakers, artisans, engineers and technicians, united in the same location at the heart of the Vallée de Joux, who share the same vision of excellence and work together to create unique horological pieces. Together, the 1,300 plus individuals push existing boundaries to offer fine watchmaking enthusiasts a wealth of newsurprises each year, as revealed through these 10 great watches.



When Jaeger-LeCoultre first unveiled this avant-garde innovation in 2004, the Gyrotourbillon I, it took the watch industry by storm as the first-ever spherical tourbillon. Composed of two carriages mounted on axes set at a 90° angle, it enables the watch to break completely free from the detrimental effects of gravity on its timekeeping precision. This second version of the Gyrotourbillon is distinguished by an essential organ: the presence of a cylinder-shaped balancespring with end curves. This innovation represents a further breakthrough in the field of accuracy and paves the way for a level of rating precision that is unprecedented on a timepiece designed to follow its wearer’s arm movements. Two flame-blued steel hands moving over an off-centered sapphire sub-dial indicate time. A fine engraving on the wheel to the left of the dial enables one to read off the time on a 24-hour scale. The seconds are indicated by a blue index that is actually part of the outer tourbillon carriage. On the back, a hand integrated within the movement indicates the power reserve on a sector shaped bridge. This limited edition watch (75 pieces) comes in a 36 x 55 mm x 15.8 mm platinum case and is driven by the mechanical manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 174 with a power reserve of 50 hours.



This watch is a part of the Hybris Artistica collection that builds on the fascination generated by grand complication watches and by the Hybris Mechanica collection that Jaeger-LeCoultre has been developing over the years, which stands out for its unprecedented blend of design, technical construction, watchmaking art and exquisite craftsmanship. The Reverso Cordonnet Neva is part of a heritage, featuring the aesthetic glory of the Art Deco movement. It reinterprets a model from the 1930s in which the strap was a leather cord. Its 18K white gold case, dial, strap and crown are all encrusted with snow-set diamonds. In the visually stunning snow setting, the diamonds are pressed together and blocked in place by the last stone set. A total of 2,175 diamonds, totalling 9.25 carats, adorn the watch. It is then not surprising that this limited edition watch features only three pieces. The manually-wound caliber that drives it has a power reserve of 40 hours.


Jaeger-LeCoultre has re-imagined a way of rendering the personal customization experience more exclusive through the Atelier Reverso. Here, buyers can personalize their watches through a range of dials, such as versions made of stone or adorned with an ivy motif. On the Reverso Classic Duetto model, the dial can be intensified by gem-set hourmarkers that infuse the face of the watch with a majestic star-like quality. These gem-set hour-markers can also be complemented in limited editions by a gem-set centre that creates a sparkling radiance. In the case of the Reverso Classic Large Duo, the entire front side is dedicated to tradition and expertise, with a brushed and guilloché dial hosting a 24-hour day/night indicator at 6 o’clock. Swivelling the watch reveals local time and this dial can now be clothed in new colours: an intense pigment-saturated dark blue or a sophisticated burgundy, while a choice of three different stone versions ensures a powerful graphic statement. Atelier Reverso also offers a choice of straps in a wealth of refined shades as well as calfskin, alligator leather, ostrich and satin.


First launched in 2011, this limited edition minute-repeater watch’s unique feature is a curtain or a shutter. The minute-repeater mechanism is triggered when the curtain is drawn aside. It strikes one low-pitched chime for each hour, and two chimes (one low-pitched and the other high-pitched) for each quarter-hour that has elapsed since the last whole hour. It comes in a white gold case and is powered by a manually wound movement.


The product of three years of ground breaking horological research and development, this watch features three dials. On its front face is a tourbillon endowed with an ellipse isometer escapement, while its back face features a zodiac calendar with an astronomical chart, an equation of time and sunrise and sunset times. The watch’s third face is remarkable for its unique location: a perpetual calendar in the Reverso carriage. An original patented mechanism makes it possible to transmit energy from the movement to the carriage. In total, the timepiece boasts 18 complications, and has six patents pending. The full list of its functions include hours, minutes, seconds, day/night indicator on the time dial; sidereal time, choice of astronomical charts for the northern or southern hemisphere, hours of sunrise and sunset specially adjusted according to the wearer’s place of residence, patented zodiac calendar, equation of time on the astronomy dial; and perpetual calendar (manual correction only required from the end of February 2100), indication of the digital date by a retrograde disc, hands for the day of the week and month, indication of leap years, phases and ages of the moon on the calendar dial. The watch is made up of around 700 parts and comes in a platinum case that is 37.7 x 55 mm and 17.9 mm high. With a power reserve of 48 hours, the edition is limited to 75 pieces.



A worthy addition to the Grande Reverso collection, this watch, housed in a generously proportioned case, boasts of a hand-wound mechanical movement, the Calibre Jaeger- LeCoultre 873, that guarantees a power reserve of eight days. Distinguished by its fine guilloche centre, the dial at 2 o’clock features the day/night indicator that swallows up the sun at the end of the day and serves up in its place a moon whose phase is recorded on a small round dial at 5 o’clock, which is shared by the second hand. The powerreserve indicator occupies a delicate arc at 11 o’clock. It comes in two versions, in steel or 18K pink gold.



Eclipse is a rare technique through which the user can conceal or reveal a design on the Reverso’s dial. All it requires is a gentle rolling motion applied to the rowel located on the side of the case and the shutters under the watch glass slide back to reveal an enamel miniature. The shutters themselves retreat into the wings of this miniature theatre until they have disappeared entirely. Though Jaeger-LeCoultre first used this idea as far back as 1910 on one of its pocket watches, it was only in recent times that it was perfected in a miniature format for the Reverso. The shutter system and 18K gold dial represent one of the most ingenious and luxurious canvases ever created for the enameller’s art. The choice of subjects for the dial include voyages of discovery, Chinese signs of the zodiac, famous nudes, Kama Sutra and traditional Mogul art. The watch comes in a platinum or 18K pink gold case and is powered by a manually-wound movement with a power reserve of 35 hours.



This diamond studded watch is available in two versions – the white gold case is either entirely paved with baguette-cut diamonds or sumptuously alternating diamonds and yellow sapphires. It is powered by the mechanical, manuallywound movement Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822. The strap is available in fine leather or rock-set with fiery baguettecut diamonds.


This uniquely square shaped Reverso is a dual time zone watch with a silvered guilloche dial and contrasting black figures. The luminescent hours and minutes are inscribed on the principal dial. The date, tied to the first time zone, appears in negative – white figures on a black background – in a rectangular window at three o’clock. The AM/PM indicator of the reference time zone is set against a dark background at nine o’clock. At six o’clock, a subsidiary square-shaped dial carries the seconds hand. The decorated, self-winding Calibre Jaeger-LeCoultre 977 can be seen through the sapphire-crystal case-back.