The name Reverso immediately resonates with power, success, and respectability. Words that are generally common to the elite. Much has changed since the 1930s, but for watch hobbiest, now and then, the Reverso caseback remains a place where stories are told, emotions are expressed and memories are stored. 

Nicholas Hoult personalised engraving
Nicholas Hoult personalised engraving

What we are not aware of is that owing to its history of being worn by polo players and athletes, Jaeger-LeCoultre associates the Reverso as a sports watch. But when the watch was first conceived, its designers had in mind the sort of athletes who believe that sport has more to do with refinement, sophistication and savoir vivre than with athletic performance per se. They often associated this form of fair play with people who loved equestrian sports. 

Today, the classical Reverso is no longer perceived only as a sports watch. These considerations prompted the watchmakers to develop the Reverso Squadra as a contemporary sport watch with bold proportions, new materials, stainless steel wristbands and automatic calibres with additional sports functions. Launched in 2006, this watch was a behemoth, as per Reverso standards. What makes this watch a masterpiece are its dimensions and interpreting Chauvot’s 75-year-old drawings. 

The Reverso Squadra (Image Courtesy JLC Reverso Assouline)

What makes the Reverso so unique? 

We often associate luxury with cost. But did you know, there’s a Reverso for every wrist? 

From reproducing works of art to telling a story, the Reverso does it all. The diversity of the guilloche dials at the Manufacture can leave you fascinated. The Reverso has a long history and bringing to life by reproducing works of art and creating guilloche dials extends the history of the watch. A watch that stirs up emotions for a father to the careful detailing of the dragon; stories about the Reverso are timeless. 

A Family In Reverso

The Reverso had come back into existence in response to a problem posed by changing times and it was as a watch that it had made its comeback; first as a beacon of retro elegance, and then as a home for the highest horological complications. Advancing from the Reverso Minute Repeater to the Reverso Chronographe Retrograde, the watchmakers recall their complicated times. It was almost like they were given an empty canvas upon which to paint their personality with heraldry, monogramming, engraving or enamelling. This led to the Reverso’s being complicated, yet artistic and ingenious. 

The Reverso Chronographe Retrograde

The Specific Design

The movement was developed by Jacques-David LeCoultre, and de Trey solicited the expertise of a French designer named René-Alfred Chauvot for the case design. His solution was straightforward: a wristwatch “that can glide on its foundation and flip over on itself” to cover the case’s front. On March 4, 1931, at 1:15 p.m, Chauvot filed a patent application for his invention at the National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) in Paris, and on July 25, 1931, de Trey purchased full rights to Chauvot’s invention–and the sports watch was created.

Page 6 of the Swiss patent application for the Reverso design, 1931-32

However, Jaeger didn’t make rectangular cases, and even if it did, LeCoultre didn’t have a movement that would fit. César De Trey founded Spécialités Horlogères avec Jacques-David LeCoultre after obtaining the rights to Chauvot’s invention. Their new company would make the groundbreaking design in the old-fashioned manner, with parts created by experts. A.E. Wenger designed the casings, and Tavannes designed the movements. LeCoultre introduced in-house movements designed only for the Reverso in 1933. Calibers 410 (small seconds at 6:00), 411 (central seconds), and 404 (a smaller movement suitable for ladies’ Reversos) were introduced.

The Reverso became a fashion statement, and various models offered women alternative ways of wearing it: on the wrist, as a pendant necklace and, as in this steel example, on a small leather cord to be attached to a handbag.

The newest addition to continue this tradition is the Reverso Tribute Calendar. When you turn the reversible case over, you’ll discover a second dial beneath a sapphire crystal, rather than protecting a full metal back. But, for the first time in a Reverso Duo, it also features a full calendar on the main dial. It’s one of the more refined Reverso’s in the current collection, with pink gold and an alligator leather strap, and it’s a long cry from the original Reverso, which debuted in 1931 as a sports watch.

The Reverso Tribute

The Reverso is a watch, a work of applied art, but it is also a sui generis object defined on its own terms. It stands apart, a creation of its own history and a palimpsest upon which the modern history of a centuries-old industry is written. 

The Elegant Reverso

The Reverso One model marked another stage in the development of this signature design, and this resolutely feminine manifestation of a much-loved classic has shown that the female fascination with the world of Reverso has proved rather more enduring even than at the time the Reverso first appeared nine decades ago. 

Celebrating the colour of love and positive energy, the red-wine Reverso One brings a youthful and extroverted expression of femininity to the Reverso collection.

The case is more elongated, which gives it proportions closer to a jewel or a bangle, and it gains in finesse and delicacy. The figures are more rounded, typography rounder and finer, which contrasts strongly with the verticality of the case. All these little details add an elegant flavour to the watch. 

The Dress Watch 

The Reverso Tribute offers a younger approach to the Reverso world; it is elegant but less formal. Born out of a paradox, the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931, which made its debut in 2011 to mark the 80th anniversary inspired it. 

Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon

The Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 with its chocolate dial, which appeared in 2014, caused a sensation among collectors; while rich in its historical details, the watch spoke to a younger generation. 

Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 with its chocolate dial
Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 with its chocolate dial

Because of its sleek design and ultra-thin casing, the Grand Reverso is an iconic dress watch. Its versatile appearance allows it to be used with both formal dinner clothes and a regular suit. Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for its high quality, and each timepiece undergoes 1000 hours of quality control testing before being given to the consumer.

Timeless Modernity 

If you compare vintage Reverso with the novelties, there are apparent changes, but the spirit remains the same. It is as the physical embodiment of the paradox of changing and yet remaining the same that the Reverso has achieved its immortality. 

Reverso users may now show their personal style in a new way thanks to Jaeger-LeCoultre. A new strap, designed in collaboration with Casa Fagliano, embodies the carefree atmosphere of the season and adds casual confidence to the Reverso’s ageless modernity.

Reverso Fagliano Straps

From ultra-thin calibres to multi-axis tourbillons, Jaeger LeCoultre has placed its finest haute horlogerie efforts into the Reverso. And it always seems to work. A fantastic chapter in the history of Reverso. 

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