By Nancy Olson
This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre pays tribute to the famed Art Deco designed Reverso, that was unveiled to the world in 1931. Built using the Golden Ratio of Phi (1.168), this watch is easily one of the most recognizable timepieces in the world – an icon in time. One of the first wristwatches made specifically for use during sporting events—polo, in this case—the Reverso has been one of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most extraordinary opportunities for creativity. It has housed more than 50 different calibers and incorporated numerous artisanal métiers over its relatively short history, and its story continues. And, as of today, with the Reverso Tribute Chronograph unveiled here at Watches & Wonders Geneva, there is a new story.
Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils a host of new Reverso Tribute watches that are inspired by the past, but designed for today, with desirable features and functions built into the watch that swivels in its case to reveal two different faces. This works beautifully for the new Reverso Tribute Chronograph.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph draws inspiration from the Reverso Chronograph introduced in 1996, but the new Reverso Tribute Chronograph has been reinvented with fresh features and fitted with the new Caliber 860. The front of the watch showcases Dauphine hands, baton hour markers and a peripheral minutes track. The dial on the steel-cased variation is a serene shade of grayish blue, achieved via the atomic layer deposit (ALD) process wherein thin layers of titanium oxide are deposited to achieve the desired effect. The pink gold-cased variation is fitted with a seemingly bottomless black dial—a striking pairing, I think.
The reverse side of the watch provides a mesmerizing view of the chronograph movement, here skeletonized and artfully decorated. The bridges feature Côtes de Genève, while the chronograph seconds and minutes track are in black. Blued screws complement the blue hands, further emphasizing the cohesiveness of the watch and movement. Faceted baton indexes—seemingly floating over the intricate movement—mark the hours.
The manually wound Caliber 860 is designed, produced and assembled at the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture, and, like its forebears, it is a testament to the creativity of the Le Sentier-based brand. The challenge? To house the chronograph timing indications within a rectangular framework while maintaining essential readability. Adding to the matter, the 300-component caliber is rectangular, as opposed to the normally round mechanism. The solution is a distinguished dial layout wherein the large chronograph seconds display is situated in the upper part of the dial, visually balanced by a retrograde 30-minute indicator at the bottom.
Consider this: Caliber 860 is responsible for powering two sets of hands (hours and minutes) that must move in opposite directions to correctly display the time on both faces of the watch. And despite the dizzying energy requirements of the two time indications as well as a retrograde chronograph, the movement offers a power reserve of 52 hours. It beats at 28,800 vbh and incorporates a column wheel chronograph and horizontal clutch to minimize the overall thickness of the watch, which measures in at 11.14 mm.
There are two straps offered with each watch: one is in canvas and leather, and the other is all leather. Both are designed by Casa Fagliano, the renowned Argentinian polo boot maker, thus bringing the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and the sport of polo full circle.