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WATCHES

September 7, 2017

By Hyla Bauer

FLIPSIDE: THE ALLURE OF THE JAEGER-LECOULTRE REVERSO WATCH

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Watch SHOP JAEGER-LECOULTRE
Sometimes, being two-faced isn’t a bad thing. Consider the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s iconic flip-over watch that can display two times at once (and manage some other pretty hefty functions). Created for polo players so they could protect their watches during games — the dial can be flipped over (reversed) on the wrist, hence the name — the Reverso’s utilitarian origins belie its elegant proportions and Art Deco design.
In the Reverso’s case, beauty is more than skin-deep — it permeates throughout the watch’s superbly crafted movement. No detail is left untouched, inside or out. Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for “revealing the unexpected,” whether it is the sublime beauty of the movement or the Reverso’s hidden second dial. And the watch is still relatively unique among timepieces; some other luxury brands have made small runs of reversible watches, but Jaeger-LeCoultre leads the pack.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso WatchesThe Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso in stainless steel featuring a beige crocodile strap and blue crocodile strap

The Reverso’s origins trace back to 1931, when soldiers in the British army who were stationed in India took up polo playing in their spare time. The players needed to protect their watches from impact, and Jacques-David LeCoultre took up the challenge. Polo is a much-beloved sport in Argentina, where some of the top players have cult fan status. Eduardo Novillo Astrada, a top player, is an ambassador for Jaeger-LeCoultre, as is American-born champion Clare Mountbatten, who is married to a British nobleman. Indeed the women’s model of the Reverso appeared just five years after the original and was dubbed the Cordonnet. Actress and activist Diane Kruger, another brand ambassador, has been spotted wearing the new diamond-encrusted Cordonnet at movie premieres.
Diamonds are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to style choices for this iconic watch. There are as many reasons to buy a Reverso as there are choices in the collection. Jaeger-LeCoultre truly offers something for everyone: chronographs, moon phases, high complications, and jeweled pieces. While most feature mechanical movements, quartz is available in some smaller sized models. The two faces of the Reverso can display the time in another country, the day, date, and sometimes even the leap year. Simpler styles have a solid caseback that can be engraved. In terms of decoration, the line ranges from classic stainless-steel cases on simple straps to blinged-out diamond encrusted watches that wouldn’t look out of place on the Oscars red carpet or the wrist of a monarch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso WatchThe dual dials of the Jaeger Le-Coultre Grande Reverso Night & Day Watch in 18K gold

A recent collaboration with shoe designer Christian Louboutin resulted in the most fashion-forward Reversos that Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced to date. Louboutin stayed true to the watch’s design aesthetic, stating the “exciting part is not about enhancing the Reverso, but instead offering a different perception of it through inventive suggestions expressed on the space available for decoration and on the strap.” And his designs for both are inventive indeed. Iridescent colors and fanciful strap designs reflect Louboutin’s avant-garde approach, which has garnered him worldwide cult status.
Innovative and classic all at once, the Reverso spans decades and styles with equal ease. Having recently celebrated its 85th anniversary, the watch is one of the longest-produced among the top Swiss brands. Yet with all its deep tradition, the Reverso is built to reflect your every shifting mood. You can flip the dial over for nighttime wear or to check the date. There’s a reason it’s the watch of choice for the notoriously volatile Don Draper, Jon Hamm’s iconic character on the AMC drama Mad Men. So be like Don and change all you want — the Reverso never goes out of style.
Ready to invest in a watch that will let you live a double life? Shop our collection of expertly authenticated Reversos here.