When Jaeger-LeCoultre announced it was celebrating the 90th birthday of its most famous watch, the Reverso, it did so in low-key style.
While priming watch lovers for “a year of Reverso”, suggesting many versions of its Art Deco watch with the flip-over face still to come, the first anniversary piece it released was a burgundy and gold version of its “Duoface” model. No one could say it wasn’t a handsome watch. But as a big birthday statement it was no “Elton John’s 50th”.
“We felt this was very nice as a start,” Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO Catherine Rénier told Esquire. “We will continue with a lot of celebrations – we are really on a yearlong history of what has made the versatility and the creativity of this timepiece.”
Well, the watchmaker has gone up a gear now.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s newest Reverso is the world’s first watch with four faces, and the most OTT model it has ever released. It took more than six years to complete and required 12 patents. It comes with 11 complications, including a perpetual calendar, chimes and three lunar cycles (representations of the moon’s journey around the Earth) that have never been displayed together on a wristwatch, possibly because no one thought to do so.
The Reverso started life in 1931. For the first 60 years, the reverse side of the Reverso was steel. The watch face could be flipped around and hidden – originally to protect it during polo matches – and the blank side was a nice place to put an engraving or a monogram. The 1991 “60eme” model was the first to feature a display case back, while the 1994 Reverso Duoface – as per the model mentioned above – added a second dial to the reverse side, something that would become a signature complication of the line. In 2006, Jaeger-LeCoultre added a third display on the inside of the base for the Reverso Grande Complication à Triptque, also known as the Hybris Mechanica 3.
Now it’s gone for the quadruple.
The Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 comes in a white gold case and measures 51.2mm x 31mm. It is manually wound and 15.14 mm thick.
The first face features the hours and minutes (yes, it still tells the time – ha ha), a tourbillon at 7 o’clock displaying the seconds and a perpetual calendar with date, day, month, leap year and night/ day indications.
The reverse of that – face two – has a minute repeater, the complication that chimes the time on demand by activating a side push. This features a jumping digital hour and minute display.
The third face – underneath – shows the Moon Phase in the Northern Hemisphere, plus three lunar cycle displays – Draconic (the height of the moon), Anomalistic (something complicated to do with moon’s apparent size, which changes as moves nearer to the Earth (“perigee”) compared to half its orbit later (“apogee”)), plus the month and year displayed in numbers.
Jaeger-LeCoultre says the Reverso Hybris Mechanica can be used to predict astronomical events like supermoons and eclipses, and as such is “the world’s first wristwatch to provide such a deep reading of the cosmos”.
The fourth and final face, on the back of the watch, worn next to the wrist, is a Southern Hemisphere Moon Phase.
It comes on a blue alligator strap, exists as a limited edition of 10 watches and costs €1,350,000, without VAT.
As a feat of watchmaking it’s pretty incredible. A bit much? Well, maybe. We get the feeling there’ll be other Reversos along to choose from soon enough, though.
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