The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute watches hands-on
Reverso One - Reverso Tribute - Reverso Classic are the names of the three collections that you need to familiarize yourself with this year. Anniversaries are special occasions that one celebrates in a special way and the world of watchmaking has taught other industry sectors how to celebrate them best. The 85 years of an icon represent a very important goal and, this year, Jaeger-LeCoultre and their Reverso won't be able to avoid the limelight. Such anniversaries are the perfect occasion to review, improve and “re-organize” an entire collection, an extremely delicate task to carry out when it comes to the Reverso series.
Basically, Jaeger-LeCoultre has given the whole collection a new and more coherent image. In the last few years, the collection had grown so big and so diverse that it really needed a good image and branding re-organization action. The first thought goes to the “Tribute to 1931” collection that is no longer available in the brand's portfolio from 2016 onwards, the Jaeger-LeCoultre logo goes back to its original place and all the decorations on the dial - that are historically associated with the Reverso watch - are redesigned. The manufacturer has decided to focus on details, translating their work into a fine tuning of the lugs, the cases and the surfaces and the introduction of some invisible yet useful functions.
Providing you with a simple overview of all the three collections is not my style and each one of these three collections has their own content that needs to be presented in more detailled articles. For those of you who are big fans of the complicated Reverso, you will be glad to know that your reference collection is the Tribute one that includes two different models; the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Calendar.
The third timepiece, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute GyroTourbillon, will be handled separately in another post. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute is the more masculine Reverso in the whole series and it represents the changeover from the “Tribute to 1931” collection, so if you are looking for a complicated Reverso with a big-sized case (the case measures 42,8mm on the Duoface and 49.4mm on the Calendar) this is the perfect item for you.
The main side of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface features a dial with a grenè pattern finishing, blue applied indexes, Dauphine-style hands that are the same colour and the small seconds counter located at 6 o'clock. The new style element is not only represented by the dial but also by the decorations of the frame that now sports a radially-arranged finishing that has replaced the perlage one. This new design gives the timepiece a greater depth and perspective and it also adds a touch of Art Decò style that was missing in the previous version and that makes it now more premium-like.
If you turn the case, you will find the second time zone indicator featuring a 24 hours scale and a blue dial sporting a guillochè Clou de Paris pattern. The real novelty is, however, the way that this timepiece gets activated; the button that was placed on the case middle of the “Tribute to 1931” has been moved to the top of the case and gets hidden inside the frame once the timepiece is closed. Jaeger-LeCoultre has inserted a tiny fluted slide (that you need to get a bit used to) and has worked on an additional fine tuning of the opening and closing mechanism to make it more flexible and easier to rotate.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Calendar adds the complete calendar with moon phase complication to the Duoface model. It is a superb timepiece (an adjective that I rarely use for watches) for it brings together a somehow best proportioned case if compared to the Duoface (1.65 vs 1.68 is the case's sides ratio) and a splendid complication.
The grenè pattern decoration on the silver opaline dial with an opening for the day, the month, the date and the moon phase is coupled with an anthracite-coloured guillochè Clous de Paris pattern with a day/night indicator for the second time zone. Do you think it is actually possible to find a more balanced and sober complication than this? Something that combines dials, functions and pink gold cases in such a way? I personally don't think so. Both timepieces are equipped with a manual winding caliber; the 854A/1 and the 853 respectively and both calibers guarantee up to 45 hours of power reserve.
If I were to choose my three personal “heroes” among the timepieces that I have seen at the SIHH 2016 fair, I would say that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute is definitely one of them. The cultural heritage of this collection is so wide that Jaeger-LeCoultre could easily play with it forever and would still be able to create a brand new Reverso. On this occasion, the manufacturer, however, has managed to craft modern timepieces (with the innovative day/night indication, for instance), improve the look of the case by making it as neat as a Reverso Classic's (using the slide instead of the external button) while still attributing the “complicated” adjective to the caliber only without making the decorations too heavy.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)