Dutch Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh was almost unnoticed during his (short) life time. Up to his death, age 37, he only sold one painting, “La vigne rouge”. However, he painted over 2100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings. He did so in only about a decade, as he only started painting in his late 20’s. Before, he was working for a firm of art dealers in The Hague, London and Paris. When he moved to Paris in 1886 to live with his brother Theo van Gogh (art dealer), in Montmartre, where he got his own studio. Here is where he painted the “Self portrait as a painter” in 1887/1888. This painting is one of his best known works and can be admired in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Unfortunately, little is known about Vincent van Gogh’s period in Paris. This is one of the few exceptions though, as Vincent had a lively exchange of letters (hundreds of them) with his brother Theo during his life. Right after he finished the “self portrait as a painter” he moved to Arles, in the south of France. Here is where he encountered his artistic break-through, with “Vase with Twelve Sunflowers” as a highlight”.
Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Self Portrait as a Painter’ can now also be admired on the dial of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse. It is actually the second series of a Reverso à Eclipse with a Vincent Van Gogh painting on the dial. Last year, for the 125th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh, there was a Reverso à Eclipse with his iconic Sunflowers on the dial.
This year, which also marks the 85th anniversary of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch, another series of four watches are being introduced with a Vincent van Gogh painting.
The idea for this collaboration was born in Amsterdam, by the boutique partner of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Gassan. Gassan thought it would be interesting to create something together with Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has a workshop that specialized in miniature enamel painting for their watches. It is a rare and fine art tradition, and Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the very few manufactures that masters it.
We had the opportunity to admire the Reverso à Eclipse Tribute to Vincent van Gogh in the flesh, in Amsterdam. Our photographer Bert Buijsrogge was able to use a rare facsimile edition of Vincent van Gogh’s sketch books together with the platinum Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse.
As written above, only four of these watches will be made and exclusively displayed in the Van Gogh Museum. This however, does not mean that you can’t buy them of course. These platinum Reverso à Eclipse timepieces will have a retail price of €101,000 Euro each.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso itself doesn’t need an introduction here. We have covered it many times. The special feature about this reference however, is that not only the case can be reversed, also the dial can be opened and closed (à Eclipse). A little wheel that is located enables you to open and close the dial. Once opened, the Vincent van Gogh ‘Self Portrait as a Painter’ appears. This mechanism was also used in the previous series, that was limited to five watches.
Jaeger-LeCoultre equipped this Reverso à Eclipse with their hand-wound caliber 849 movement. An ultra-thin (1.85mm thick) and small round movement. It leaves enough room to be free and creative with the painting and Eclipse mechanism.
With such a small production of this platinum Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso à Eclipse with Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Self Portrait as a Painter’ on the dial, you can say it is very rare and unique. If you have the possibility to visit the Van Gogh Museum, by all means do. Make sure, if you aren’t Dutch, to pronounce Van Gogh correctly.
Below, more images of the Reverso à Eclipse Tribute to Vincent van Gogh.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more