Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

The Reverso collection is so iconic, it almost doesn’t need any further introduction. However, for those who never took the time to read about one of the most famous rectangular watches, here’s a little background:

The design for this reversible watch dates back to the 1930s, 1931 to be precise. Polo players were sick and tired of broken and damaged crystals on their timepieces when playing this noble game. Jaeger-LeCoultre came up with the idea of making it possible to flip the watch on your wrist, so that the crystal was protected from serious beatings. In 1931, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced (and patented) the Reverso watch. Through the decades, the Reverso developed and grew out to become the elegant watch it is now.

In 2011, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Reverso collection. During the SIHH 2011 in Geneva, Jaeger-LeCoultre commemorated this anniversary with this Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 model. Jaeger-LeCoultre takes the ultra thin definition quite seriously, the Reverso is only 7.2mm thick.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso 1931

Tribute to 1931 Reference 2788570

Jaeger-LeCoultre in The Netherlands lend us their Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 for a week. This gave me some time to do some hands-on experience with this timepiece and our photographer Bert Buijsrogge to get it in front of his camera lens. I had tried a Reverso before a few years ago, from my colleague Frank Geelen of the Monochrome blog, who had one (Grande Date 8 – days if I’m not mistaken) in his private collection. Although I loved the appearance of the Reverso, I found the watch to be a bit too thick. This ultra thin Tribute to 1931 ref. 2788570 model sounded like a perfect opportunity to give the Reverso another chance.

Colleague Ming Thein, who’s a huge Jaeger-LeCoultre fan, already did a write-up on the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 and Reverso Classique here on Fratellowatches. His posts certainly made me even more enthusiastic about the Reverso, so I was very eager to give the Tribute to 1931 model a spin.

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Although I can physically handle any Reverso I’m afraid, I have a weak spot for ultra thin watches. I find them very elegant, even on fairly large wrists. You don’t always need a large watch in my humble opinion, even though you can easily handle one.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute To 1931

Fits Like a Glove

With modest dimensions of 46mm in length, 27.5mm in width and only 7.2 in height, this watch will fit almost anyone. Although 46mm seems big, it will fit a normal wrist easily. The ratio of the Reverso is just perfect, especially with the ultra thin case.

In my case, this Reverso fits me like a glove. The thin case is so comfortable, especially in combination with the beautiful alligator strap. I wonder if I ever would reverse the case on my wrist, it is very easy to do so. Just grab the right side of the watch, pull it and slide the left side of the case through the right side and turn the crown side of the watch all the way to the left. And click. A bit difficult to explain in words, but the picture below probably makes more sense.

Reverso Tribute to 1931

An Icon Within An Icon

It is not easy to define or even to explain what makes a watch an icon. Much like the X-Factor. The Reverso however, is clearly a watch that deserved the status of being an icon a long time ago already. Together with the Cartier Tank, it is the most recognizable rectangular watch out there. Jaeger-LeCoultre has quite a large number of variations of the Reverso and it is also a strong collection for ladies. These variations range from the hours and minutes only, like this Reverso Tribute to 1931 model, to models that have a minute repeater and tourbillon complication. Although these latter models certainly have the appearance of the iconic Reverso, I believe that this ultra thin Tribute to 1931 model will become an icon itself. The clean Art Deco style dial, the influences of the original Reverso and of course the thin case make this a Reverso that definitely stands out in my opinion.

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Reverso 1931

The Flip Side

As explained above, it is very easy to reverse the case of this watch. As you can see on one of the pictures above, the part that would be normally considered as the inner case back, is finished with beautiful perlage. Although the in-house developed movement caliber 822 is worth looking at, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to stay close to the original and kept the case closed. The high polish finish of the case looks wonderful and leaves room for a personal inscription, family weapon or other kind of engraving.

The brushed finish on the case back has a serene appearance, but does feature a few engravings and markings. Where we didn’t find the brand name on the front, the case back does mention the company from Le Sentier and the fact that it is a Reverso. Something which wasn’t necessary, but it doesn’t bother me as well. As you can see on the photo below, the watch is also water resistant to 3 bar (30 meters) and was subject to a 1000 hours of control by the watch makers of Jaeger-LeCoultre. Other than with the Chronometer rating (COSC), the Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are being tested for accuracy in their cases instead of testing the movements only.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute to 1931

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute To 1931

This Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute to 1931 was on my wrist for one week and it was very difficult to let it go. It is clearly something different from many other watches out there that are considered to be an icon (like a Submariner, Speedmaster, Royal Oak, Nautilus or even a Tank). If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am a sucker for iconic watches. This Reverso would blend in perfectly in my modest collection of watches.

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It was quite an experience wearing this rectangular beauty from Jaeger-LeCoultre, as it gave me a total different feel than the other Reverso I’d tried in the past. The thin case almost integrates seamlessly with the nice black alligator strap  (and stainless steel buckle). The elegant appearance makes this watch perfect company for formal occasions or when wearing a shirt and tie. I have to be honest and tell you that I really had to get used wearing this watch with a casual outfit. You can get away with it of course, but keep in mind that the alligator strap and high polished thin case will attract attention when wearing a t-shirt or a polo shirt.

List price of 6.250,- Euro (including VAT) / $ 7,800.- USD (excluding VAT)

More information can be found on the official Jaeger-LeCoultre website.

All photos in this article can be clicked for a larger version.

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • Great review Robert-Jan, I really am a fan of the JLC Reverso’s but in particular this Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931.

    One day……

    • Me too Christopher. I would love to add this one to the collection. Superb timepiece.

  • Dane Stokes

    Great write-up and images RJ. I’ve been so close to pulling the trigger on one of these for the past few weeks, and this article may just have put me over the edge.

    It will take alittle getting used to as it’s quite a bit more formal than what I’m used to, but man, it sure is a stunning piece!

  • Thanks Dane, much appreciated. It sounds like this article is going to cost you some money then 🙂

    It certainly is a stunning piece and who doesn’t need a more formal watch in the collection?


  • brilliant RJ 🙂 spot-on

  • Bobbe

    Hi RJ,
    Thnx for a great review.
    This is such a great watch, iconic indeed, that even my Sub is collecting dust !!
    I changed the aliigator strap for an oxblood cordovan, which gives the watch a more of a sporty look. For the summer I try an ostrich strap.


  • Thanks for the words Bobbe! Enjoy your Reverso!


  • Michael

    Enjoyed your review Robert-Jan, especially the photography. I received mine about 2 weeks ago, and it hasn’t had any competition among it’s stable mates, I can’t stop looking at it on the wrist! My best analogy would be that it’s like having a super model on your wrist; exquisite, elegant, and of course thin! Now the steel. . . it’s reflective ability is peerless, but boy is it excruciatingly soft.

    • Robert-Jan Broer

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your nice comments! Congratulations on your watch, the 1931 is a wonderful timepiece. I do not think the steel is particularly soft, it has to do with the high polish finish on the steel. You will see any type of scratch in it. Either high polish finished case or hand brushed / matte finished cases are extremely sensitive for scratches it seems.