Have been toying with the idea of adding to my collection and the Jaeger leCoultre reverso is perhaps the model I wish to purchase. I already have a few Jaeger LeCoultre watches but they are all round case models and mostly vintage. If I manage to find a Reverso it can be either pre-owned and/or vintage as long as it is in good condition and at the right price.
I thought it would simply be a case of picking a good condition model and that would be it – BUT – what I hadn’t bargained for was the sheer variety of Reverso models that there are. Couple that with my personal preferences feature wise and you will quickly see my dilemma. There are literally dozens of versions available currently and each year something different appears, so including vintage models, the choices are pretty daunting.
Now I’m not about to do a piece on the history of the Reverso, firstly as there are a few versions (a bit like their watch) of the story and there are dedicated sites for that subject. Suffice to say that back in 1930/1 in India at a polo match, watched by Watch Collector César de Trey, a player broke his watch glass and wondered if there was watch that would withstand a polo match. That conversation soon got to the ear of Jacques-David LeCoultre and following on from that – Jaeger SA made the case in conjunction with French designer René-Alfred Chauvot and the slide and flip mechanism was born. And they’ve been making this watch ever since.
There are what I call the basic ones, where the watch dial is only on the front, the back being reserved for engraving etc. Then there are dial faces front and back which I suppose rather defeats the whole point of the watch, which was to protect the glass dial, but as most of us don’t play Polo, who cares! Some folks like to have a day watch and a night watch, or dial at the front and skeleton back or/and goodness knows what else – suffice to say – there are lots of different ones!
Now when you consider that the original model in 1931 just had an hour and a minute hand, and the back was plain stainless steel for engraving or such like. It flipped over and protected the dial – as required. In 1934 a small seconds counter was introduced @6. Since then it seems to me that almost anything was and is possible.
And this is by no means an exhaustive list of dials and versions, as apart from all those I’ve missed, there are of course anniversary limited editions, Tourbillons and ultra complication models (with matching price tags), then there are the Ultra Thin models, Repetition Minute models, Grand Complications and so it goes on. . . .
So after all that, what am I going to do? Difficult I know, though common sense and my wallet will dictate at the end of the day. I’m favoring the Triple Date or Triple Date and Calendar style, as these give me the data I want when reading a watch. Do I want 2 x dials? – well maybe I do – it would be handy to have one with luminous hands for night use – simply by flipping it over. I mean how neat is that!
And I know that Jaeger LeCoultre have a bespoke service . . . . .
On reflection I think I’ll see what’s available on the pre-owned front and hopefully find one that suits me, within reason. . . . of course. . .
Maybe a gold one –