Paying tribute to the Reverso’s sporty roots with the quintessential sporting complication Jaeger-LeCoultre has just introduced the Tribute chronograph at Watches And Wonders 2023.
Back in 1996, we saw the release of the first Reverso with a 30-minute retrograde chronograph. Powered by Caliber 829 back in the day, the main face of the dial displaying the time did not display the chronograph. Turn it around and you can see the major parts of caliber 829, mildly obscured by the full circle seconds track and the half circle minute retrograde.
The movement of the 1996 Reverso Chronograph, Calibre 829, was not only the first shaped
chronograph movement in a rectangular case but also the first manually-wound integrated chronograph to be developed from scratch in the post-quartz era – a remarkable testament to the Manufacture’s inventiveness and technical prowess.
Disrupting the contemporary use of a watch since 1931, the appeal of the Reverso soon spread far beyond the polo arena that it was initially introduced for. Being the watchmaker of watchmakers since the last 190 years, this year Jaeger LeCoultre has launched a new chronograph with a double-sided display of the time in a new Calibre 860.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph bears all of the hallmarks of the Reverso Tribute line – the baton hour markers, Dauphine hands and peripheral chemin de fer minutes track. Marrying watchmaking tradition to modern aesthetics, at first glance there is no hint of the mechanical complexity that lies behind the elegant sunray-brushed surface of the dial. The only giveaways are the chronograph pushers on either side of the winding crown.
On the reverse side is the beautifully crafted chronograph mechanism with a face that is entirely skeletonised. To enhance visual unity, the bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève with blued screws that match the chronograph. Since skeletonized dials are sometimes hard to read, the chronograph seconds and minute tracks are highlighted in black to maximise legibility. Enhancing the sense of visual depth, the indications for the second time display – faceted baton indexes and chemin de fer minutes track – appear to be floating above the calibre.
What is new about Caliber 860?
This fully integrated hand-wound chronograph movement is entirely designed, produced and assembled within the Manufacture. No surprises there. However it is another testament to the rich history of complicated calibres conceived and made in the Vallée de Joux. Placing a circular chronograph within a rectangular case, while ensuring elegance and legibility could be quite a challenge, hence the rectangular caliber. The result is a beautifully balanced and highly distinctive dial layout, with a large chronograph seconds display in the upper part of the dial complemented by a retrograde 30-minute indicator on an arc at the base of the dial.
Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, Calibre 860 incorporates a column wheel chronograph with a horizontal clutch, to reduce the overall thickness of the movement. To display hours and minutes on both front and reverse dials, the movement powers two sets of hands that must move in opposite directions to indicate the time in correct clockwise fashion on wer than 300 components, the shaped rectangular movement fully respects Jaeger-LeCoultre’s philosophy of elegance, fitting into a case less than 10mm thick.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph is available in both steel with a blue-grey dial and pink gold with a pure black dial. The two Casa Fagliano straps offered with each watch, a signature of the Reverso Tribute line, feature an interchangeable buckle for easy strap changes, thus reconnecting the Reverso to its roots in the world of polo.
REVERSO TRIBUTE CHRONOGRAPH
Case: Pink Gold 750/1000 (18 carats) or steel
Dimensions: 49.4 x 29.9 mm x 9.79 mm thick
Calibre: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 860
Functions: Hours and minutes on both dials, Chronograph with retrograde 30-minute counter
Power reserve: 52 hours
Front dial: Black or blue-grey sunray-brushed
Back dial: Skeletonised
Water resistance: 30m
Strap package: Fagliano Collection calf leather and canvas strap and additional calf leather strap
Reference: Pink gold Q389257J; Steel Q389848J