Introducing: New Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Watches, Including A Retrograde Chronograph
Don’t get me wrong, the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute models are great. What’s even more fascinating, though, is that Jaeger-LeCoultre shares with us the secret of the watch’s attraction. Maybe if you’re part of the Watch Illuminati you already know this, but for those who aren’t inside the inner circle, the secret of the Reverso’s eternal attraction is the Golden Ratio. This year, the brand from Le Sentier celebrates the mystical number 1.618, that’s represented by the letter φ (Phi). How does JLC celebrate that? By introducing, among others, three Reverso variations that were created with the Divine Proportion in mind — the captivating Tribute Chronograph, the effortlessly chic Tribute Small Seconds, and the hypnotizing Tribute Duoface Tourbillon.
I find it kind of sad that beauty can be reduced to a number, but maybe that’s just my romantic soul talking. The Golden Ratio, or the number 1.618, is the universal signifier of beauty. When something has the perfect proportions, you can’t help but find that something beautiful. And the original Reverso, created in 1931 at the height of the Art Deco artistic movement, has divine proportions. In the same year that the Reverso came to life, the Romanian prince, philosopher, and mathematician Matila Ghyka published The Golden Number. He wasn’t the first to be fascinated by the secret of beauty. As far back as the sixth century BCE, Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras examined the mystical properties of geometry. But Ghyka’s work is important nonetheless.
Introducing new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute models based on the golden rectangle
In his book, Ghyka explained that Phi is not limited to organic forms — the spiral of shells are typical examples of the Golden Ratio in nature — but is also found in man-made objects and creations. Phi is present in music, architecture, and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso watch cases. The Reverso is based on the principle of the golden rectangle. Jaeger-LeCoultre says that a golden rectangle is “a rectangle in which, if a square is cut from it, with sides the same length as the rectangle’s shorter side, the remaining rectangle has the same proportion as the original rectangle.” The brand did its homework, obviously, so let’s not argue.
Let’s start with probably the most surprising new Reverso, the chronograph that comes in either a steel or a rose gold case — “golden rectangle” cases in both alloys, of course. The Reverso Tribute Chronograph, with its 49.4mm × 29.9mm × 11.14mm case in rose gold (Q389257J / €35,000 without tax) or steel (Q389848J / €20,000 without tax) comes on a Fagliano Collection calf leather and canvas strap plus an additional calf leather strap.
Inside the 30m-water-resistant case beats the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 860, a fully integrated hand-wound chronograph movement. It’s the successor of the 1996 Calibre 829, the brand’s first shaped chronograph movement in a rectangular case. The new 4Hz movement has a power reserve of 52 hours, which is impressive considering the high energy requirement of a retrograde chronograph combined with two time indications, but more on that later.
A double-sided complication
A chronograph movement is always complicated. A shaped chronograph movement with two dials and retrograde indications, however, is a couple of levels more complicated. The way Calibre 860 is built leads to a dial that shows a large chronograph seconds display in the center with a retrograde 30-minute counter on an arc at 6 o’clock. It also displays hours and minutes on both the front and back dial. To achieve that, the movement powers two sets of hands that move in opposite directions.
The baton hour markers, dauphine hands, and railroad minute track on the front dial are the hallmarks of the Reverso Tribute line. As you can see, the dial has a sunray-brushed surface, which is both elegant and timeless. The cool tone of the steel version is combined with a blue-gray dial. This color is the result of an innovative ALD (atomic layer deposit) process, in which ultra-thin layers of titanium oxide are laid down. The rose gold version shows a stark yet rich contrast in the form of a pure black dial.
Functional at heart
When you flip the Reverso case over — something you have to do at least once in your life if you’re a watch enthusiast — the fascinating and stunning chronograph mechanism reveals itself. For your viewing pleasure, the dial is entirely skeletonized, allowing an excellent view of not only the watch’s inner workings but also the bridges. Those are decorated with Côtes de Genève. And JLC also didn’t forget that a chronograph is a functional complication at heart. That’s why the chronograph seconds and minute tracks are highlighted in black to ensure easy legibility.
Reverso Tribute Small Seconds: three new models in pink gold and one in steel
Four new versions of the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds have also appeared. They come in two different alloys and also with different proportions. The three rose gold watches (€20,500 without tax) have a 45.6 × 27.4mm case that shows a height reduced by almost 1mm to just 7.56mm. The steel model (€9,200 without tax), on the other hand, has a 45.6 × 27.4mm case with the “old” thickness of 8.5mm. Do the new numbers affect the golden rectangle? You do the math.
The rose gold Reverso Tribute Small Seconds comes in three iterations. There’s one with a black sunray dial, (Q713257J), another with a burgundy lacquer dial, (Q713256J), and a third with a silver sunray (Q7132521). The steel version (Q713842J) has a silver-colored dial as well. Within all these Reverso models beats the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822. This movement comprises 108 components and has a power reserve of 42 hours. And when I tell you that it’s finely finished and decorated, you have to trust me on that. After all, the watch has a closed case back, which is ideal for engravings and things, of course.
The straps for both the pink gold models and the steel one come from the Fagliano Collection. The pink gold models with burgundy and black dials have a calf-leather-and-canvas and an all-calf-leather strap. Both the pink gold and steel silver-dialed watches come with a Fagliano Collection strap in calf leather and canvas. An extra strap made of black alligator accompanies the gold model, but the steel version comes with only one strap.
Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon
Two time zones and one flying tourbillon — you’ve seen this before in a Reverso. Well, not in the wild, maybe, because the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface from 2018 came in a 45.5 × 27.4mm platinum case. The precious metal case had a height of just 9.15mm, so it wasn’t just exclusive but also very refined. Inside the watch, the rectangular, 3.9mm-thick, 254-part Calibre 847 stole the show. This manual-wound movement shows the hours and minutes and a second time zone that features a night/day indicator. And at 6 o’clock, a tourbillon makes a full rotation once every minute. A flying tourbillon, that is. That means that the mechanical “whirlwind” isn’t squeezed between two bridges. Instead, it is mounted on just a bridge below.
A flying tourbillon allows a better view of the mechanism, but it’s also more challenging to build. This is especially true when it’s mounted in a case that you can flip around. By using a ball-bearing construction and attaching the balance wheel with its patented S-shaped hairspring to the center of the tourbillon, everything works stably and flawlessly.
Where’s the night/day indication?
The 2023 version of the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon comes in a pink gold case (Q392242J /€130,000 without tax). It has the same measurements as its platinum predecessor, and it also uses the same movement. Aesthetically, however, it’s very different. Apart from the warm color of the case, the front dial shows a silver sunray-brushed finish, whereas the platinum version was very blue, from its dial down to its strap. When you turn the watch over, you don’t just see the underside of the flying tourbillon. There’s also a small, intense black dial with a sunray-brushed finish. You might have to look twice to find the night/day indication, but it will be worth your while. At 1 o’clock, in the right top corner of the dial, there’s a starry night sky to tell you if it’s day or night.
What’s your favorite new Reverso? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments. And you can find out more about these Wonders and Watches novelties on the official Jaeger-LeCoultre website.
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