The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso: Purchase a true trendsetter
How does one introduce a series that has already made itself a legend? With the Reverso
, the Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre
not only revolutionized watch design
, but also cemented its own reputation as a luxury watchmaker. The hinged, reversible case
continues to enchant today as it did then, and over the years has been enriched by numerous complications and refinements.
How the Reverso brought the art deco style to Haute Horlogerie
When Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Reverso series
in 1931, it clearly stood out from the watches of its time. The design of the watches was still influenced by the design of the military watches of World War I and many manufacturers were slow to embrace the idea that a watch could also be art. René-Alfred Chauvot
, the designer of the Reverso, was strongly inspired by the art deco trend
, which brought the urge for decoration into Haute Horlogerie
The visual and technical aspects of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
The most striking feature of the case of Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches
is to this day the gadroon
– three curved ornamental borders that extend horizontally across the top and bottom of the case. Designer Chauvot based the dimensions of the case on the "golden ratio"
, which is an expression for perfect harmony and thus also known as the "divine proportions". It measured 36 mm from bridge to bridge and had a diameter of 22 mm. It was only in 1991 that Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a new size, dividing the range into three models:
The history of the Reverso series' movements
is also fascinating. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the few watchmakers to entirely produce its own movements. However, in the beginning, the Reverso still required the help of a supplier. Thus, the first generation of movements was supplied by Tavannes
and marked as "Lisica" before being finished by Jaeger-LeCoultre. But the connection to Tavannes goes even deeper. In 1928, Tavannes introduced an aesthetic precursor to the Reverso
with a belt watch
. Made for the then Prince of Wales and future the King of the United Kingdom, Edward VIII
, the watch concealed its dial in a belt buckle so that he could wear it while playing golf. In 1933
, Jaeger-LeCoultre began to produce its first in-house movements
and its relationship with Tavannes ended. By World War II, 11 different movements had been designed. Meanwhile, the series has more than 30 of its own calibers
Prices of pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches
- The classic of the Reverso Series is found in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique, for instance, the Ref. 252.8.86. At 36 mm in length and 22 mm in diameter, it is a reference to Chauvot's original design. You can purchase this model from Watchmaster for the attractive price of € 3,710.
- If you would prefer to buy a watch with complications, we are able to offer you a second-hand Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Calendar, such as the Ref. Q3758420. In addition to a perpetual calendar, you will also receive a moon phase for a purchase price of € 8,440.
- You can find a pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso with the Ref. Q381357J starting at around € 15,000. For this price, you will receive a timepiece with the art deco style white gold case and an innovative dial that also displays the small seconds.
- Jaeger-LeCoultre also offers a watch with an automatic movement in the Reverso family with its Grande Reverso Night & Day (Ref. Q3802520). You can either purchase this model in mint condition for € 9,680 or finance it from as little as € 156 per month.
- For a purchase price of about € 9,040, you can also find a Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso (Ref. 273.2.04) in pink gold. The dial is traditionally engine-turned with a small second at 6 o'clock.
The history of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
British polo players in India, Italian concessionaires and German visionaries
The origin of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
is a little more complicated than usual. César de Trey
, a British watch merchant, saw a gap in the market. In the 1930s, watches were by no means up to today's standards and the crystal glass was very fragile. De Trey had the idea to design a watch with a solid, reversible case back
that would protect the watch. He shared his idea with his supplier Jacques-David LeCoultre
, who, together with his partner at the time, Edmond Jaeger
, passed on the design concept to Parisian designer René-Alfred Chauvot
. Chauvot began to work on the design of the watch and applied for a patent in 1931. The movement was refined by Jaeger-LeCoultre and was designed in-house starting in 1933. It is said that this watch was particularly in demand among British polo players in India
and that Jaeger-LeCoultre marketed the Reverso as the first "sports watch"
Complications for the Reverso
The Reverso series
held its place in Jaeger-LeCoultre's catalog for a long time before being discontinued during the quartz crisis. Once again, it was up to a supplier to save the series. An Italian watch dealer
discovered 200 unused cases
, had them fitted with movements and sold them to the Italian market. He thus proved that there was still a great demand for art deco style models. As a result, the Reverso was reissued as the Reverso II
in 1982 and offered with both mechanical and quartz movements.
Although the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso had reappeared in the catalog, it was not until 1990 that it would return to its former glory, when new CEO Günter Blümlein and Chief Designer Janek Deleskiewicz made the decision to make the Reverso the brand's flagship
once again. This was achieved by introducing new sizes and a stronger focus on complications
. The first was the "60ème" with a transparent back
(1991), followed by a tourbillon (1993), a minute repeater (1994), a retrograde chronograph (1996) and a perpetual calendar (2000).
Two-faced: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo Face
However, the real coup came with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo Face
in 1994, a GMT watch
that further exploited the Reverso's potential. Until then, the back of the case was kept free for a personal engraving for the wearer. The Duo Face uses this space for another dial with a second time zone
. In order to implement this technically, the Caliber 854 was created, which powers both sides simultaneously. From the moment the Duo Face was born, Jaeger-LeCoultre has used this space for increasingly audacious complications and ideas.
The Reverso displays innovation and endurance
As with every flagship series, Jaeger-LeCoultre began to expand the Reverso Series over the next few decades and to reference itself. Throughout the 2000s, the range became more sporty and split into a range of sizes and distinctive special editions. With the Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque's
launch in 2006, Jaeger-LeCoultre released the first watch with three dials
. The first Reverso with an automatic movement
followed in 2014. In 2016, the Reverso Classic was unveiled at the Swiss Watch and Jewellery Show SIHH. The Reverso Classic
was once again based on the scale conceived in 1991 and changed the name from "Classique" to "Classic".
Jaeger-LeCoultre – a brand of the stars
From Pierce Brosnan to Leonardo DiCaprio
is one of the most popular brands in Hollywood
for a reason. The list of actors who have not been spotted with a Reverso is probably shorter than the list of those who have adorned their Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch
: Pierce Brosnan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Michael Douglas, Clive Owen, Adrien Brody, and Jamie Foxx are just a few prominent owners of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
. The best combination of Reverso and character is probably Jon Hamm in his role as Don Draper in "Mad Men". The series has seen many watches come and go, but the Reverso has always clung to Hamm's wrist. Jaeger-LeCoultre also has a connection to the royal family. Edward VIII relied on the Reverso as would Queen Elizabeth II.
Other interesting series by Jaeger-LeCoultre
- With the Master Control Date, Jaeger-LeCoultre offers a classic dress watch that focuses on the essentials. The dial featuring a sun pattern makes these models shine, while the narrow date window adds fine accents.
- With the Master Compressor, Jaeger-LeCoultre embarks on a study of opposites. The series includes diving and sports watches, some of which feature a diamond-set bezel or chronograph function. As a result, the models manage the balancing act between a robust timepiece for extreme situations and a reliable companion in everyday life. The eye-catching pushers and crown stand out in particular.
- Vintage enthusiasts should definitely consider the Memovox series. Launched in 1951, Jaeger-LeCoultre ventured into the new market for wristwatches with an alarm function. This was achieved by separating the energy supply for the time and alarm functions so that the alarm function did not affect the power reserve and vice versa. In the Memovox Series, you will find a range of classic models with simple, elegant dials.
- Jaeger-LeCoultre is also a key player in the race for the thinnest watch. The Master Ultra Thin offers a classic dress watch with a height of 7.8 mm and is available with either manual or automatic winding mechanism.