Among watch enthusiasts, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is an icon of Art Deco style and mechanical ingenuity. Created in 1931 as a sports watch capable of flipping its case to protect fragile glass, the Reverso’s unique reversible design and hand-wound movements have made it a coveted collector’s item.
Jaeger-LeCoultre continues to reinvent the Reverso for modern audiences, like with this year’s Reverso Tribute Chronograph. As its name suggests, the new model pays homage to the rich heritage of Reverso chronographs throughout the decades. Let’s examine how the 2023 Tribute Chronograph channels the spirit of earlier Reverso references.
The Tribute Chronograph immediately calls to mind early Reverso models from the 1930s to 1950s with its classic monochrome and stainless steel case. The sleek geometric lines and curved gadroons are pulled right out of the Art Deco era when the Reverso was born. While the watch measures a contemporary 42.9mm across, it retains the retro flair that has come to define the Reverso’s iconic styling.
Dual Time Functionality
Modern updates come in the form of a second-time zone display, which references the 1960s dual-time Reverso watches as well as more recent interpretations like the Reverso Tribute Duoface. The subdial at 6 o’clock lets you set a second-time zone, useful for today’s frequent travelers. The user-friendly adjustment via the crown is vastly improved from vintage models.
Of course, the highlight that gives the Tribute Chronograph its name is the chronograph complication. The stopwatch function controlled by pushers on the side dates back to Reverso models from the 1940s and 1950s, which were also manually wound. While the Tribute Chronograph features a contemporary case size and materials, its chronograph movement ties it firmly to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s chronograph heritage.
A Historic Manual Caliber
Powering the Tribute Chronograph is the caliber 754, a manually wound mechanical movement designed and assembled in-house by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The caliber nods to chronographs of the 1940s powered by the caliber 15 and 16 families. Watch collectors will appreciate the use of a manual movement given most Reverso chronographs transitioned to automatics like the caliber 822 in the 1960s. The caliber 754 beats at a leisurely 21,600 vibrations per hour for a classic chronograph feel.
Understated Yet Contemporary Design
As a longtime fan of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s storied Reverso collection, I was eagerly awaiting this year’s addition to the line – the Reverso Tribute Chronograph. After getting my hands on this beautiful new timepiece, I can safely say Jaeger-LeCoultre has another winner that will thrill watch enthusiasts like myself.
In my personal opinion, the Tribute Chronograph is thoughtfully crafted tribute to previous Reverso chronograph references that get all the important details just right. As soon as I flipped the case over to admire the Relief Côtes de Genève pattern on the solid steel caseback, I knew this was a Reverso created with collectors in mind. The Art Deco styling immediately evokes the 1930s birth of this iconic watch line.
Yet the Maison’s designers have made some smart modern tweaks as well. At 42.9mm wide, this watch wears nicely on my 7-inch wrist without appearing undersized or dainty as true vintage models can. The dual time function adds usefulness while retaining the vintage styling of a bi-color subdial. The manual winding movement, a caliber 754 chronograph developed in-house, provides that satisfying tactile experience that connects me to the first Reverso owners winding their watches daily.
The monochrome palette gives the Chronograph a versatility and timelessness I adore. This isn’t a sports watch screaming for attention; it’s a discreet machine honoring the Maison’s chronograph expertise. The chrono pushers operate with crisp precision, and the curved gadroon case sides are a tactile joy to admire. For me, the Chronograph hits that difficult-to-attain balance between heritage and modernity.
Some may argue it plays too safe by borrowing so many Reverso design codes. But as a passionate watch collector, I believe Jaeger-LeCoultre has once again created a fitting tribute to one of watchmaking’s greatest achievements. The Reverso Tribute Chronograph carries on what makes this flipping watch icon such a perennial favorite.