The following article was produced in partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Few watchmakers are as storied or prestigious as Jaeger-LeCoultre – “the watchmaker’s watchmaker”. Responsible for hundreds of inventions and patents; over twelve hundred movements and one of the last true manufactures in the industry, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s horological trophy cabinet is, quite simply, stacked.
But there’s no trophy; no invention that they hold more dearly than their most iconic watch ever: the Reverso. First introduced in 1931, the Reverso is an icon of the watch world, its unique rotating case and timeless Art Deco design quite unlike any other watch on the market. 90 years later, it remains one of the best watches one can hope to buy.
It’s not hard to see why either: the Reverso might just be the most versatile watch ever made. Elegant yet robust, sporty yet stylish, filled with heritage yet remarkably modern, the Reverso’s dual nature goes far beyond its trademark rotating case.
Perhaps this is because of its history. What many people don’t know is that the watch owes its genesis to a sporting challenge: to design a model that could withstand the rough-and-tumble polo matches of British Army officers in India. The rotating case was the solution, as it could shield the watch’s glass and dial from the bumps and scrapes of a fierce polo match, and then flip back around when one needed the time.
These days, the Reverso is better known as a dress watch, but wearers still love its rotating case. Not only is it one hell of a party trick, but it’s also a way to hide a secret engraving, or expose a second time-telling face or piece of art. It’s at once both practical and highly creative. Perhaps it’s also thanks to its sporting origins that the Reverso remains one of the most versatile watches on the market, able to be dressed up or down with ease and a smart accessory comfortable in a wide variety of environments.
Indeed, it’s a bit of a chameleon – and we’re not talking about how it can hide its face from view. Throughout its long history, the Reverso has been available in a wide variety of colours, metals, complications and sizes. Its pure, unpretentious yet classy design lends itself perfectly to artistic and personal expression, meaning there’s really a Reverso for everyone out there.
Watchmaking is a sort of practical magic. 2021 marks the 90th anniversary of the Reverso – it’s remarkable to think that this clever watch has remained so relevant, so beloved over all that time, and continues to forge a vibrant horological tradition to this day.
In 2021, the Reverso is not only the canvas upon which Jaeger-LeCoultre crafts some of the watch world’s most impressive and complex watches, but it’s also a classic and accessible piece of Swiss beauty that collectors and casual watch fans enjoy. We think that’s a bit magic, frankly.
Discover more of the Reverso’s remarkable 90-year-long history, as well as the entire Reverso range, at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s online boutique here.