To look at it, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse appears to be a classic Reverso, but turning the wheel at 2 o’clock opens shutters to reveal the ‘secret’ of an incredibly detailed enamel painting. Because of the skill involved in creating these miniature works of art, enamelling is still very much considered as the territory of haute horology.
This model is called the ‘New York’, and it was one of the ‘Travels and Discoveries’ series of Jaeger LeCoultre’s Reverso à Eclipses. There were four themes: Voyages of Discovery; the Chinese Zodiac, Grand Feu, and Famous Nudes ( from the works of Renoir, Ingres, Klimt and the Kama Sutra). Launched in 2008, the New York was also available in platinum.
The ‘shutter’ concept was developed by Jaeger-leCoultre’s Artistic and Design Director Janek Deleskiewicz and realised by engineer Daniel Wild. It works via a ‘chain’ system that is 1.6cm long and 4mm thick, made up of 192 parts and which can reputedly withstand up to 5kg of pressure, not that I recommend that this be tested. As for the shutters, they are a mere 0.25mm thick.
The focus is clearly on the aesthetics with this series, but the innards are not exactly to be sneezed at either – the manual wind ultra-thin Calibre 849 movement.
To learn more about Jaeger-LeCoultre’s enamelling, watch this video featuring Master Enameller Miklos Merczel. Each picture took Jaeger-LeCoultre’s enamellers one month to paint, with each layer applied individually before being heated at 800C.