There are the ‘attention grabbers’ at any watch fair. More often than not, especially for large brands, these are going to be the big sellers for them. That’s why they dominate discussions online and off. But brands are not just about the in-demand models that have the phone lines and chat apps running hot. They are also about the pieces that show off the skills that lie within the brand, the pieces that push their boundaries.
This is the year of the Reverso for Jaeger-LeCoultre, and at Watches & Wonders 2021 they have Reverso releases that fit into all of these categories – a new colour for the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds that references in the past but is very 2021 (and 2020), the Métiers Rares® Reverso Ones that are the subject of this post, and the third comes in the form of the incredibly complex Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185.
However, because it is a watch that a lot of people are talking about, just a quick note on the green Tribute before we get to the Reverso Ones.
We have covered the Tribute to Small Seconds before and it’s familiar to most if not all of you, so just to confirm – it is stainless steel, 45.6mm x 27.4mm with a thickness of 8.55mm, water resistant to 30m, and has the manually-wound Calibre 822/2 which beats at 21,600 VPH.
What has people wanting to see this new variant is the deep green sunray-brushed dial and matching Casa Fagliano strap. There’s a good reason that the Tribute to Small Seconds and Reversos with coloured dials do so well for Jaeger-LeCoultre – they make a habit of being good looking pieces with broad appeal.
On their site, Jaeger-LeCoultre says that the new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is “a green timepiece made for the refined man”, but really, it is a timepiece for anyone who wants a green Reverso. If you fit into that category then the RRP is AUD 12,600.
Now, onto the Métiers Rares® Reverso One, which is all about using the Reverso as the canvas onto which the skills of the artists of the Manufacture’s workshop can show off their skills.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has launched a limited edition of four Reverso One models that are florally-inclined and which highlight enamelling, engraving, and gem-setting. If the inspiration for the Tribute Small Seconds was the 1930s then for these, it’s the jewellery of the Roaring Twenties.
There are two models in white gold and two in pink gold. They come on matching alligator straps, and are all in 40mm x 20mm sized cases with the manually-wound Calibre 846 inside. This movement made its first appearance in 1975, beats at 21,600VPH, and has a power reserve of 38 hours.
Called the ‘Precious Flowers’ set, the four flowers at the centre of these new watches are white lilies, pink arums, purple arms, and blue arums. The timekeeping dials on all of the models are identical. It is in the reverse side where artistry takes flight. First comes the repeated processes involved in the enamelling of multiple colours within the outlines of the flowers, followed by the application of either lacquer or mother-of-pearl depending on the model, and diamonds for the gem-set models.
A short summary of the four models before we go a little into the decorative detail of each:
1) Pink Arums – a pink gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial. The case back is decorated with enamelled flowers and gem-set leaves on black lacquer. There are 409 diamonds totally 2.59 cts. It come on a matching pink alligator strap and is limited to ten pieces.
2) Purple Arums – a pink gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial. The case back is fully diamond-set with enamel flowers and leaves. There are a total of 626 diamonds (1.98 cts) and it comes on a green alligator strap. It is limited to ten pieces.
3) Blue Arums – a white gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial. Again, the case back is fully diamond-set with enamel flowers and leaves and 626 diamonds (1.98 cts). It comes on a blue alligator strap and a limitation of ten pieces.
3) Pink Arums – the third Arums is in a pink gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial. The case back is decorated with enamel flowers and gem-set leaves on black lacquer. There are a total of 409 diamonds (2.59 cts) and it comes on a pink alligator. Again, limited to ten pieces.
4) White Lilies – the final piece is in a white gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial. The case back has engraved flowers and enamel leaves on mother-of-pearl. There are 335 diamonds for a total of 2.44 cts. It comes on a blue alligator strap and it is limited to ten pieces.
Arum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to Europe, northern Africa, and western and central Asia. There are some three dozen varieties of arum. White calla lilies are also commonly called arum lilies, but they aren’t members of Araceae.
The arums of the Pink Arum Reverso One are depicted in enamel in various shades of pink, against a contrasting black lacquered background to highlight their colour. The leaves are diamond-set, there are grain-set diamonds all over the case, and the crown has a reverse-set diamond.
The Purple Arums and Blue Arums may be in different metals but both are diamond-set. Their flowers and leaves are all in enamel and the background in snow-set diamonds. The gem-setting takes 95 hours and includes the reverse diamonds in the crowns.
A white gold case for the White Lilies Reverso One, with the flowers relief-engraved. The leaves are blue enamel and the stamens in light blue. The background is mother-of-pearl. The case has grain-set diamonds and again, the crown has a reverse-set diamond.
Harking back to the quote mentioned earlier from the Jaeger-LeCoultre website about the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in green, of these vivid and elegant new Reverso One models the brand writes that they pay “homage to the women who inspire Jaeger-LeCoultre every day.”
These Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ are clearly being marketed to women, but as said during a presentation for another brand in response to an audience question as to whether a particular moon phase watch was for women – “it’s a watch for everyone. Wear what you like. If you like it, wear it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine.”
[Photo credit: Jaeger-LeCoultre]