September 7, 2017
By Hyla Bauer
FLIPSIDE: THE ALLURE OF THE JAEGER-LECOULTRE REVERSO WATCHSHOP 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.
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.
The dual dials of the Jaeger Le-Coultre Grande Reverso Night & Day Watch in 18K gold