1931. In British colonial India, English cavalry officers regularly honed their skills by playing polo, a sport that appeared over two thousand years ago on the steppes of central Asia. The world's first team sport won the favour of princes and sultans, from Persia to Arabia and Tibet. Discovered by a British lieutenant in 1859, polo soon became an eminently English pastime. By the end of the 19th century, the Indian subcontinent already boasted 175 polo clubs.
By the early 20th century, the lengthy reign of the pocket-watch was nearing its close. People were beginning to wear watches on their wrist, even when playing their favourite sport. In 1930, César de Trey travelled to India to meet some old friends. A close acquaintance of Jacques-David LeCoultre, this influential businessman had recently decided to devote himself to the distribution of high-end Swiss watch creations, including the famous Duoplan watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre. After a polo match, a player showed him his watch with its broken glass and begged him to create a model sturdy enough to be able to stand up to polo playing without being damaged.
This was a daunting challenge, since all previous watchmaking inventions designed to protect the glass had sacrificed functionality on the altar of protection.
Like all revolutionary achievements, the new watch was to be based on a simple idea that nobody had yet thought of, namely an entirely swivelling case. César de Trey entrusted its development to Alfred Chauvot, an engineer who immediately applied himself to the task and filed a patent request on March 4th 1931, describing "a watch able to slide in its cradle and swivel over completely".
An informed connoisseur of fine watchmaking, César de Trey knew that the workshops run by Jacques-David LeCoultre had the expertise required to make high-quality movements and that they were the only ones to display such consistent inventiveness. The watchmakers of the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux thus took charge of producing the Reverso. And to distribute this unique creation, César de Trey and Jacques-David LeCoultre founded the Spécialités Horlogères sales company, soon afterwards renamed Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Ever since, the ties between the legendary swivelling case and polo have remained ingrained in the very fibers of the Reverso, which has proved capable of constantly evolving and adapting to each new era. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is more closely linked to polo than ever, through regular sporting partnerships in a number of countries thanks to its internationally recognised ambassadors.
Jaeger-LeCoultre ambassadors display their brilliant skills in the world's greatest competitions in Argentina, England and Spain.