The Story of… Jaeger LeCoultre’s Reverso watch - a living legend

paulfrasercollectibles

2015-06-26 12:17:50

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The Story of Jaeger LeCoultres Reverso watch - a living legend

Created for polo players in 1931, the timepiece remains one of the most coveted in the world

Jaeger LeCoultre's online museum for the Reverso

A few days ago, the 80th birthday of an icon was celebrated. The subject of the celebrations doesn't look its age, yet you could see to the second when the time had come. Jaeger LeCoultre's most famous timepiece, the Reverso, is still at its best even after eight decades.

Patented on March 4th, 1931 at 1.15pm exactly, the Reverso was originally created as a solution to the gentleman's problem of needing to keep time and play polo at the same time. Preserving a fragile piece of design and engineering amongst swirling dust and thundering hooves never mind a hard ball sent flying by mallets was never going to be easy.

Jaeger LeCoultre, who pride themselves on their inventiveness, presented a deceptively simple solution: the watch could slide across and flip over in its own case presenting a more robust back to the world.

Lia Salvo is an Argentinian polo player and Reverso ambassadorLia Salvo is an Argentine polo player and Reverso ambassador

The Reverso's link to the world of polo remains to this day. But it is by no means only polo players who have fallen for the family of timepieces which stemmed from that 1931 patent.

The designers 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.

Many different designs and ideas have personalised individual Reversos: the owner's initials, his regiment's crest, his club's emblem, enamel portraits of the owner's loved ones and more.

Amelia Earhart's Reverso flight from New York to MexicoAmelia Earhart's flight from New York to Mexicowas celebrated with an engraved Reverso

Jaeger LeCoultre have even created Reverso - notably the Reverso Grande GMT which turn the flipping face on its head (so to speak) by having a different watch face on each side to present different styles and complications for different occasions.

The company has now launched an online museum exhibition to tell the secrets and specialisations of the great timepiece - a living legend in the truest sense.

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