Ninety years ago this year, the Reverso was borne by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The purpose was to make a watch suitable for polo players. The nature of riding on horseback wielding hammers naturally led to a large number of broken watch crystals. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s solution? Make a watch that could be flipped over, protecting the delicate crystal with a robust steel caseback. Ever since, the Reverso has been the pinnacle of the Jaeger-LeCoultre collection. Like Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, the Reverse from Jaeger-LeCoultre has been equipped with all manner of complications, from a simple date display to the Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 with eleven complications split across four dials.
This new piece is a complex one, but perhaps not on that level. It’s a two-faced piece with an open (sort of) dial on both sides, allowing the movement to shine through. Featuring a silver pair of hands on the main dial, the minute repeater mechanism of the calibre 944 is exposed on this side.
Jaeger-LeCoultre removed the dial on this piece for technical reasons. You see, it’s not just a pretty face. Removing the dial plate removes a sound insulator from the watch, allowing the minute repeater to chime louder and more clearly. The extra-large hammers and gongs work to produce a pitch-perfect sound, and the gongs themselves are attached to the front crystal, using that as an amplifier of sorts for the sound. The case features the classic Art Deco style markers and train track indices to keep the watch legible. The Jaeger-LeCoultre logo has been printed onto the crystal.
Around the back is a pair of gold hands to match the 18k pink gold case, which measures 51.1mm x 31mm x 11.41mm case. The movement on this side is much less dramatic, with the simple balance wheel on display. The lack of a seconds hand means you could use this side to tell if the watch is running, and its 35-hour power reserve means that might occur pretty often. Still, if you can afford to spend €250,000 before taxes on a watch, chances are you won’t give a toss. I don’t blame you either, there will only be ten of them made, though, and they’re available in boutiques now.