In 2011, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 in tribute to this iconic watch that has remained as unique as ever. In 2013, the year of its 180th corporate anniversary, the Manufacture unveils the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface, an ultra-thin model revealing the watchmaking genius of Jaeger-LeCoultre by introducing a dual time-zone display on its back.
The secrets of the watch with two faces
It is the most beautiful – and the most authentic – of horological legends. In 1931, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled a watch featuring a case that swivelled in its cradle, specially developed for British colonial army officers stationed in India and passionate about polo. This exceptional creation was an outstandingly apt response to a specific request and a life-sized test for a model that was to prove a phenomenal success. Devotees of fine watchmaking soon rushed to snap up the new model and to have it personalised with an engraved motif, monogram or family crest. The unprecedented triumph of the Reverso was not exclusively due to its ingenious and complex mechanism enabling the wearer to turn the case over in order to reveal one or other of its faces. For the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux, technical inventiveness has always gone hand in hand with aesthetic considerations. In addition to its primary function, the Reverso is also an Art Deco masterpiece imbued with fundamental visual rhythms notably expressed in the emblematic gadroons and in the subtle balance between the pure lines and the rectangular shape of the case. At a time when design was still in its infancy, the Reverso established itself as a stroke of genius that would find its way through successive eras. Within just a few decades, the icon of an age when the human mind was breaking free of contingencies in order to forge its destiny became a full-fledged cult object.
Loyal to the spirit of the original Reverso, the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface salutes a technical feat that dates back to 1944. At that time, a resounding “eureka” rang out in the research and development laboratory of the Grande Maison when the work jointly conducted by watchmakers and designers gave birth to the very first movement capable of controlling the indications displayed on two separate dials: the Duoface concept. It soon became obvious that this mechanical breakthrough, which is still an exclusive Jaeger-LeCoultre feature, made it possible to offer watchmaking connoisseurs a decidedly original dual time-zone display. In this respect, the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface doubtless embodies one of the characteristics most appreciated by contemporary men whose activities and passions often keep them crisscrossing the world’s 24 time zones.
Nonetheless, a little patience is required, because the gaze naturally first alights on the first face, the front of the watch with twin sides. Entirely in keeping with the original model, its silvertoned dial is graced with baton-type hour-markers swept over by black dagger-shaped hands. The inscription REVERSO also faithfully reflects the design used on the first watch with a swivel case introduced in 1931, while the small seconds at 6 o’clock provides an ever-useful additional indication.
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