Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso is a perpetual invention
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso – easily one of the most recognisable timepieces in history. In order to fittingly celebrate such an icon, the manufacturer has had to innovate, writes Madeline Hoskin.
Ingenious design is born of necessity, and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso is proof of this. The timepiece was conceived on the polo fields of the 1930s, after a forcible swing caused a ball to smash the dial of a player’s wristwatch. Surely a model could be designed that was robust enough to withstand a hit, while still exuding class and status?
On 4 March 1931, René-Alfred Chauvot delivered the patent that would solve this puzzle: a watch that slid on its base and flipped over on itself, allowing the dial to be stowed safely beneath its stronger ‘reverse’ face – essentially becoming the first watch to create space for two dials on one timepiece.
Iñigo Ohlsson, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s managing director in Australia, tells Signature that it did not take long for the Reverso’s potential to be noted off the field. “Its pure lines, personalising possibilities and haute horlogerie calibre held an immediate appeal for all lovers of beautiful objects – both male and female.”
Indeed, it is these attributes that continue to charm watch connoisseurs to this day, meaning the original Art Deco lines and elongated dial have become iconic features not to be tampered with.
Supremely elegant and set with 250 baguette diamonds, it is an instant collectable.
In celebration of 85 years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has collaborated with elite creatives across the globe to prove the inventive spirit of the Reverso is as vibrant as ever.
The brand has revolutionised the level of personalisation offered by high-end watchmakers through a new in-store concept, Atelier Reverso. Here one can customise the twin-sided dials and the strap of a Reverso Duo or Duetto, selecting from limited-edition designs that include exquisite – almost pearlescent – pieces from a collaboration with acclaimed designer Christian Louboutin.
Not only that, it has released what is arguably its most impressive model to date: the Tribute Gyrotourbillon. Housing the bi-axial flying tourbillon, a minute Calibre 179, day/night indicator and Reverso’s signature twin-sided display, it’s an impressive feat for such a thin case.
The rich history of Jaeger-LeCoultre was further celebrated with the release of the Reverso One High Jewellery, a faithful nod to the original women’s design of the ’30s. Supremely elegant and set with 250 baguette diamonds, it is an instant collectable.
What we find most impressive is that Jaeger-LeCoultre has consistently reworked this classic without ever attempting to reinvent it. As Louboutin himself states: “I understood that the Reverso could be customised and changed, but never improved. The exciting part is not about enhancing the Reverso, but instead offering a different perception of it through inventive suggestions.”