Reverso Tribute to 1931

12.07.10

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A legend in movement, by master watchmakers at the pinnacle of refinement

“A legend in movement” By Jérome Lambert, CEO Jaeger-LeCoultre Certain legends draw their strength from their age. Frozen in the past, immobilised forever, they speak only of the past. But sometimes, the magic is so great that a strange phenomenon takes place: the legend lives, breathes, mutates, becomes more beautiful, all the while retaining its aura. A long time ago, back in 1931, in a dusty vortex and to the accompaniment of horses’ hooves hammering, an idea was born: a watch with a dial that could protect itself from shocks, all the while offering a personalised engraved case-back. Eighty years later, the Reverso has progressed from watchmaking icon to cult status. The Reverso is so unique that with the passing of time, it has been made in many other guises without losing its essence. Today, wearing a Reverso from the current collections on your wrist is an entry to an exclusive world – not only in terms of watchmaking history, but above all to a universe of technical perfection and aesthetic refinement. By inventing the Reverso, a small group of men with great imagination and innovative spirit did far more than create a simple reversible case. They gave birth to an emotion which has lasted more than 80 years, and designed a watch whose endless possibilities are still being discovered. The Reverso’s strength lies both in its past, but just as much in its future. 1931, 2011 : the success of a timelessly classic style The account of the conception of the Reverso, born in India in response to English polo players’ desire for an unbreakable watch, is even more amazing than it first seems. In 2011, the Reverso will appear in even more surprising and seductive guises, while remaining loyal to its legend that continues to push the borders of creativity. By imagining a reversible watch with a case that would revolve in order to protect the dial and expose only the metal back to shocks, the designers of the Reverso knew that they had found an effective technical answer to the challenge that was given them: “to create an elegant watch capable of surviving polo”! They undoubtedly were not aware that their idea was gearing up to play another very different role than that of protective shield. The steel or gold back that could be made to appear by turning the case was going to write a new page in the history of watchmaking. A clean page that would make the Reverso much more than a watch: a cult object that every Reverso owner could make unique by personalising it. Who was the first person to have the idea of engraving his initials? Or his regiment’s crest? His club’s emblem? Who, for the first time, wanted to make an enamel portrait of his beloved wife? To inscribe his lucky number? Thanks to this surface that measures just a few square centimetres offering everyone the chance to realise their wishes in terms of personalisation, the Reverso became a watch-work of art and an object of emotion, to be transferred or shared. Born from the practice of an intensive sport, the Reverso soon became a symbol of elegance identifiable at a single glance. Over the decades, as its dimensions evolved, becoming smaller for the feminine version and larger for the masculine versions from the 1990s onwards, its inimitable style remained unchanged, even when its rectangular case became square. The case was crafted in steel and in every shade of gold, models were set with precious stones, the dials appeared with various motifs and colours and a variety of straps and bracelets were developed: the unique and yet multi-faceted Reverso proved to be an ideal field of expression for creativity and refinement. New release for 2011 : Grande Reverso Ultra Thin After 80 years of celebrating classicism, the new Grande Reverso Ultra Thin turns revolutionary by focusing on extreme simplicity. The extremely diminutive width of Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822 (at just 2.94 mm) has enabled the design engineers to build a Reverso slimmer than ever before. While the case with its generous new proportions asserts an authentic presence on the wrist, its slenderness makes it both light and comfortable to wear thanks to its subtly curved shape. The pure dial with its vertical guilloché pattern, the restrained design of the Arabic numerals, the slim blued hands: all the aesthetic codes of the Reverso are sublimated within this ultra-thin interpretation. This new watch expresses the very essence of the Reverso personality: a blend of tradition and nobility embodying an alliance of style and elegance. Two “Tribute to 1931” models Because this new Reverso is intended to be a bridge between past and present, Jaeger-LeCoultre has decided to create two Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 models in steel and in pink gold, featuring a black or white dial with dagger-shaped hands and baton-type hour-markers directly inspired by the original Reverso. The spirit of 1931 in contemporary dimensions, and all the Art Deco charm of the first Reversos interpreted in today’s language. Follow us during the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) from 17 to 21 January 2011 and discover the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Collection.