To Infinity And Beyond, Meet The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque
In celebration of the 90th anniversary of their iconic reversible timepiece, Jaeger-LeCoultre launches its most complicated Reverso ever, a watch with four faces and 11 complications.
It is unanimous! The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque is far and away one of the favorite pieces launched at Watches & Wonders 2021. From Clubhouse rooms to specialized press, it is the piece that has the entire watch world talking. Of course, it comes as no surprise that the brand capable of pulling off such a complicated timepiece is La Grande Maison.
The Second Time is the Charm
Jaeger-LeCoultre is a master in multi-face complications; the reversible case of the Reverso allows for at least two faces and complications. For the 75th anniversary of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre released the first-ever three-faced Reverso with the Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque. With 18 complications, the Reverso a Tryptique was bulky but a watchmaking masterpiece, yet not the most complicated Reverso ever.
I can already hear you saying, "But you said the Tryptique Reverso had 18 complications." So, what makes the Quadriptyque more complicated than the Tryptique?
While it is true that the Quadriptyque has only 11 complications to the Triptyque's 18, making the Quadriptyque less complicated than the Triptyque, according to traditional watch industry definitions, the Quadriptyque is way more stunning and impressive.
Somehow, those 11 complications fit into a 51.2 x 31mm watch that is only 15.15mm thick (only a few millimeters thicker than my 15 year old Reverso Squadra). And by combining art with complications, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque takes watchmaking to a whole new level.
Before jumping into too many technical details, let's look at each of the Quadriptyque's faces. Picture the watch on your wrist; the first thing you see is the hour, minute, flying tourbillon, instantaneous perpetual calendar with a grande date, day, month, leap year, as well as the night and day indicator. Now for the second face, with the watch still on your wrist, flip the case, enjoy the smoothness of the reversible mechanism that Jaeger-LeCoultre has perfected over 90 years, set it back on the cradle of the watch. Now you can also see the jumping digital hour, minute, and the minute repeater hammers.
Take the case out of the cradle, sliding it to the side. This is where Jaeger-LeCoultre takes us on a trip to outer space for a bit of constellation sighting. On the third face, there is the Northern Hemisphere moon phase, draconic lunar cycle (the height of the Moon), the anomalistic lunar cycle, and the month and year. Now, take the watch off your wrist, and look at the back, where you would usually find the reference numbers. On this last face, you will find the Southern Hemisphere moon phase.
Power, Sound, and Connection to the Universe
With 11 complications, the Calibre 185 movement is the result of over six years of in-house development and the most complicated calibre ever used in a Reverso. It also marks the first time three types of lunar information have been displayed in a single wristwatch. This wonder of micromechanics allows the wearer to determine eclipses and supermoons, which, if you are a space fanatic like me, you will find helpful.
On the cradle, you can see a laser-engraved Moon (as seen from the Northern Hemisphere), and it progressively gets covered by a blue and gold glitter disc, according to its age in the synodic cycle. Amazingly, this moon phase display will not need adjusting for over 1,111 years, unlike regular moon phases, which need adjustment after 32.5 months.
One of my favorite parts of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque is the minute repeater function on the second face. By pushing the button just above the crown, the watch starts to chime, first with a series of low notes indicating the number of the hours, then high and low notes for the quarter-hours, and finally, a succession of low notes for the number of minutes past the quarter-hours. And this symphonic time display is made possible by completely new engineering that creates a seamless sound without the silent gaps between the hours. And though the sound is stunning, especially for a rectangular watch, I cannot help but be mesmerized by the hammers' elegant dance.
Aiding this exceptional timepiece’s precision is the flying tourbillon at 7 o'clock on its first face. Making one rotation a minute, the tourbillon (held by a single bridge) continuously varies the balance's position to achieve the perfect and correct measure of time. The balance, beating at a regular rhythm, marks the passing of a second every eight beats, accumulating it all in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years displayed by the Quadriptyque’s perpetual calendar.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque has a white gold case and, as I previously mentioned, measures a wearable 51.2 x 31mm with a height of only 15.15mm, making it eminently wearable. Limited to 10 pieces worldwide, the Quadriptyque is powered by the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 185 with a power reserve of 50 hours. Finally, it comes in a presentation box with a built-in mechanism to intuitively set the calendar and astronomical displays.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque is thrifty €1.3 million.
(Images © Jaeger-LeCoultre)