Hands-on with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Reverso Rouge’

Reverso Rouge

Considered to be one of the true horological icons, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso is the legendary reversible watch created in 1931 for polo players looking to protect the glass of their watch. Since then, it has not only proven itself to be a stalwart of Jaeger-Lecoultre’s collections, but it has also managed to somehow reinvent itself into something contemporary but still maintaining its identity. It may have started off as a sporting watch, but it has become very much a dress watch for a lot of people, and its dial has proven to be an interesting canvas on which the Manufacture has experimented.

In 2012 the original 1931 Reverso provided the inspiration for the launch of a boutique-only limited edition, the Grande Reverso 1931 Rouge (Ref. 278856J).

In the 1930s Jaeger-LeCoultre made the Reverso available in a variety colourful dial options such as cream, brown, blue or gold in addition to the more common black or white. The Reverso Rouge is a remake of an uncommon Reverso with a red dial. For whatever reason, red was rarely chosen as a dial colour during this period.

The Grande Reverso 1931 Rouge reinterprets these red dials of the 1930s, using a deeper darker red (or as the owner of this watch says, it’s almost more oxblood, and I tend to agree with this) and in a considerably larger size of 46mm x 27.5mm wide by 7.27mm thick compared to the original, which was 38mm by 23mm.

Obviously, there’s also a different movement inside the 1931 Rouge – the manual wind JLC Calibre 822 which is a mere 2.94mm in height, has a power reserve of 45 hours and 21,600 VPH.

This ‘Boutique edition’ was tested for 1,000 hours, as per the Master Control collection, and this fact is noted by the “1000 Hours Control” inscription on the caseback.

The stainless steel case of the Reverso Rouge, although big, is very light due to the thinness of the watch. For those more accustomed to wearing more bulky watches, it barely registers on the wrist.

The colour of the dial’s glossy red lacquered dial looks slightly different in differing lights, and the use of bâton hands makes this a very elegant and striking watch.

For those looking for something a bit more distinctive than the standard black dial Reverso 1931, this is the watch to get. If you can find it.

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