Rising to the Challenge: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reinvents the Iconic Reverso at Watches & Wonders 2023
Unlike some past years, any discussion of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s updates to the Reverso collection cannot be limited to a single piece because, this year, the Le Sentier-based brand went above and beyond introducing several newcomers at Watches & Wonders 2023.
For any watch manufacturer, having an icon such as the Reverso in its permanent collection is both a blessing and a constant challenge.
It is a matter of reinventing oneself, of reinterpreting what has already been successful, without losing any appeal or interest. And keeping that level of energy and skill for over 90 years requires good taste, competencies, and vision of how to change without changing too much.
Luckily for the watch-loving community, the maker of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre, proved its designing mettle at Watches & Wonders 2023 by releasing a host of new Reverso models, including the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds, the Reverso One Precious Colours, and the Reverso Secret Necklace.
This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre pursues adventure with its iconic timepiece by releasing four new variations of the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds, three of which feature sunray-brushed dials.
What immediately caught our attention was the size of the new ultra-thin profile of the models encased in 18K pink gold. These models have been slimmed down by almost 1mm and measure only 7.56mm thick (thin?).
The first of these ultra-thin versions features a black dial that contrasts sharply yet elegantly with the pink gold of the case, standing as a subtle tribute to the original model designed in 1931.
The second ultra-thin version has a lacquered burgundy dial that blends perfectly with pink gold. Moreover, this version, along with the black-dialed model, comes with two Fagliano Collection straps in complementary colors.
The third ultra-thin execution features a silver sunray-brushed dial and comes with a Fagliano Collection canvas-and-calf strap and a black alligator strap.
And finally, the fourth model sports an 8.51mm-thick stainless steel case and a silver opaline dial with black nickel-finished hands and indices.
As for the movement inside the new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds, all four are equipped with the hand-wound manufacture Calibre 822 featuring a 42-hour power reserve.
The new stainless steel Reverso Tribute Small Seconds with a silver opaline dial costs $9,600. Meanwhile, all four new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds with an ultra-thin rose gold case list for $21,900.
The Art Deco Spirit at its Peak
With its rectangular case, the Reverso, thankfully, has never lost its Art Deco design. All the more reason that it is essential to know how to play with it in order to bring novelty and creativity to its vintage spirit without overwhelming it. Enter the Reverso One Precious Colours, which, this year, comes in two ultra-trendy color variations: green and blue.
Art Deco is revisited in this new duo with the repetition of parallel lines and rectilinear patterns that form a mosaic as whimsical as it is expertly crafted. The design covers the entire reverse (non-dial) side and elegantly wraps around the enameled frame to subtly accent the white mother-of-pearl dial. Set with 274 diamonds (totaling 1.5 carats), it took 80 hours to enamel each case and 45 additional hours to in-set the stones, resulting in an exquisite balance between the bright colors and the sparkling gemstones.
The first version (ref. Q3292432) is presented in a rose gold case with miniature-painted grand feu enamel in black and shades of blue. Meanwhile, the second version (ref. Q3293432) comes in a white gold case with miniature-painted grand feu enamel in green hues. The result is an intriguing and attractive optical illusion – a breathtaking spectacle.
Both pieces come in 40mm x 20mm cases and are powered by the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846 with a 38-hour power reserve. Prices for the new Reverso One Precious Colours models were not available at the time of publication.
Time Worn Around My Neck
Although Jaeger-LeCoultre designed the Reverso to withstand the rigors of horse-mounted polo, the Swiss brand quickly reinterpreted the collection as glamorous, chic, and sophisticated. And the 2023 Reverso Secret Necklace is the embodiment of all three of those qualities, featuring a “cordonnet” (which translates to “fine or small cord” in English) bracelet reimagined as a flexible chain of links set with diamonds and polished onyx beads.
A high jewelry timepiece, the Reverso Secret Necklace is Art Deco elegance at its finest. Set with white diamonds and black onyx, the reverse side’s intricate pattern of geometric shapes contrasts wonderfully with its pink gold case.
Meanwhile, the black onyx dial, with its center and signature brackets set in diamonds, appears to the onlooker as upside down. However, that’s not how the wearer sees it because, by raising the timepiece, the dial will appear right side up.
Finally, with a total of 3,018 diamonds (20 carats) that took no fewer than 300 hours to set, the 36.78mm x 18mm Reverso Secret Necklace houses the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846 featuring a 38-hour power reserve.
The price for the new Reverso Secret Necklace was not available at the time of publication.
After 190 years of experience, there is little doubt Jaeger-LeCoultre knows how to make innovative and technical new timepieces that are brimming with poetry and the utmost respect for the brand’s heritage. From Art Deco to the Golden Ratio, from high horology to high jewelry, Jaeger-LeCoultre offers a 360-degree view of the Reverso this year. A performance that definitely deserves to be applauded.
For more information about the brand’s Watches & Wonders novelties, visit the Jaeger-LeCoultre website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)