Watches and Wonders 2023: Jaeger-LeCoultre
It’s all about phi this year for Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Reverso holds a unique place in watchmaking as the only dual-faced timekeeper icon in the industry. Plenty of other brands have created dual-faced watches, some with truly incredible movements behind them. But the Reverso is definitive across the board, from its simplest models to its most complex. Jaeger-LeCoultre is well aware of this, and that’s why it continually refreshes and enhances the Reverso in different ways. This is another year of the Reverso, with three new Heritage models, new Reverso Ones, and more.
The Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
The Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is one of the brand’s simplest models. It is also the most faithful to the collection’s polo watch origin, with a case that can be flipped over to protect the crystal and dial from the rough and tumble of mallets smashing. In its early days, the brand introduced several Reverso models with boldly coloured dials that highlighted the beautiful Golden Ratio case.
Four new dials have been added to the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds line, housed in a pink gold case. The first is in a deep black that recalls the original. Other dials include a silver one that contrasts against the warm precious metal case, a burgundy lacquer version, and a silver opaline dial with black nickel finished hands and indexes. From classic to highly contemporary, there’s something for everyone.
The case has also been slimmed down to just 7.56mm thick, perfect for wristwatch wearers who don’t want anything too bulky. The watch is powered by the manually wound Calibre 822, which offers a power reserve of 42 hours. (Sadly, you can’t see this handsome movement as the caseback is closed, for engraving as is tradition.) On the dial, a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock is the only thing that interrupts the minimalist design of this watch. Each model is paired with a Fagliano Collection calf-leather-and-canvas or calf leather strap.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph
In 1996, Jaeger-LeCoultre came up with a Reverso that recognised this watch’s unique design. The Reverso Chronograph was one of six special models that highlighted the brand’s strength in movement design. It featured a shaped chronograph movement that fitted the case exactly and was an integrated chronograph that was manually wound and highly precise.
A new version of the watch now features the incredible new Calibre 860, a fully integrated manually wound chronograph movement with horizontal clutch, column-wheel control, and a power reserve of 52 hours. The incorporation of classic chronograph mechanisms is impressive in a movement of this size, and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s use of positive and negative space in the watch is equally inspired.
On the chronograph side of the watch is a two-hand indicator for the time. This is already a challenge as a dual-face indicator requires the movement to mirror both displays at the same time. A central chronograph seconds hand in blue can be read using a large seconds/minute track (it also doubles as a running seconds if you keep the chronograph active). A small retrograde 30-minute totaliser display is presented at the 6 o’clock position. The skeletonised display means you can see the moving elements of the movement, thanks to brilliant engineering by the brand.
The watch comes in pink gold or stainless steel, with a black dial for the former and a grey dial for the latter. They are paired with Fagliano Collection straps in calf leather and canvas, as well as full calf leather ones.
The Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon
It’s been 30 years since the first Reverso Tourbillon. That was the first-ever tourbillon Jaeger-LeCoultre created for a wristwatch and also in a rectangular-shaped movement. Since then, the watchmaker has developed innumerable tourbillon designs, from multi-axis versions to the most precise in the industry. Now the brand is combining the tourbillon with the Reverso Duoface in the tour de force Calibre 847, which is just 3.9mm thick.
While most tourbillon movements are usually quite thick due to the cage, the watchmakers at Jaeger-LeCoultre crafted a ball-bearing system that replaces it, thus connecting the balance wheel to the centre of the tourbillon. Along with this, the brand has patented an S-shaped balance spring attached to the centre of the tourbillon on one end and the balance wheel on the other. This keeps the tension in the hairspring consistent, so it breathes evenly, ensuring accurate timekeeping.
The tourbillon is united with a dual time complication in the watch, which is complicated for the Reverso as it indicates the time on two displays. This means they have to be synced with each other while turning in opposite directions. On each dial is a completely different design and feel. The ‘front’ is a sunray-brushed display with an aperture for the tourbillon. The ‘reverse’ reveals the back of the movement, with a counter in black that displays the second time zone and a subtle day/night indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock. The back of the movement is finished with Clous de Paris guilloché stamping, and the back of the tourbillon can be seen at 6 o’clock.
These are just some of the highlights we’ve seen so far. More to come. It’s an exciting year for those who love the Reverso and all things phi.
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