Jaeger-LeCoultre: Three Reverso Milestones…

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Over the 88 years long history of the Reverso there has been a lot of important, interesting and mind-blowing versions of this iconic model!

But to me, there are three which have had a very significant importance for the Reverso history and why the Reverso is such a big watch icon still today.

1931: The Reverso – the birth of an icon!
Naturally, the very first Reverso is a must – with out this one there would not have been any Reverso at all…

The original Reverso – 1931

One interesting detail about the first Reverso is the lack of logo. The dial only say “REVERSO”. I will return in a separate post regarding this topic, but in documents from the same time the Duoplan often have “JAEGER” or “LeCoultre” on the dial, while the Reverso only had “REVERSO” and the Uniplan often only “UNIPLAN” or complete sterile. A big topic worthy a separate post…

The Reverso concept really made this model to stand out from many other Art Deco inspired square and rectangular watches which were in fashion back in the early 1930’s.

The Reverso concept – the non-flat inside of the case

It’s hard to say exact year the Reverso was discontinued. But I think it’s safe to say that the Reverso was in the Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue from 1931 all the way up until 1950. I have documents showing the Reverso as late as early 1950’s, but after that…

Based on the watches inside the catalogue, this scan is most likely from 1950 or 1951, unfortunately there is no date indication in the catalogue.

Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue – Reverso 1950 or 1951?

Jaeger-LeCoultre relaunch the Reverso in their catalogue in 1982 but to me, the real rebirth was not until 1991… Why? Because the 1980’s Reverso were very “1980’s”…

Mostly Quartz movements and not really as charismatic as the original Reverso. Easy to recognise as these models only have two lines above and under the Reverso part of the case compared to the original three lines.

Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue – Quartz 1983

1991: Reverso Grande Taille – the rebirth of an icon!
Yes, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated the 60 years anniversary of the Reverso with a special model, the “Reverso 60ème” and after that a series of beautiful and complicated Reverso were launched during the whole 1990’s. Tourbillon, Minute Repeater, Duoface, Retrograde Chronograph and more… All very impressive!

But, again, from my point of view – what made the Reverso such a great success to the larger audience was the “simple” Reverso Grande Taille!

Not only more available due to price point, but let’s face it – very few “normal” consumers are really into Grand Complications!

This is why I see the Grande Taille as the rebirth of the Reverso.

Reverso Grande Taille – launched in 1991

In 2001 there was the “Reverso 70ème” and in the early 2000’s several platinum Reverso… All stunning but during the “Lambert” era of innovation and trying to make Jaeger-LeCoultre to reach a younger audience, the Reverso went through many changes…

The Gran Sport, the XL Grande Taille, the Squadra. Many of them with not only new design but also new technical achievements, will return with a separate post on this…

4 different cases – Grande Taille, Gran Sport, XL Grande Taille and Squadra

Yes, Jaeger-LeCoultre even created a three sided Reverso, the Triptyque!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Triptyque – three sides

Despite all these new models within the Reverso line, the popularity of the Reverso started to fade until…

2011: Tribute To Reverso 1931 – back to the roots!
For the 80th anniversary of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Tribute To Reverso 1931. To me this was like a “reset”, back to the roots after so many highly complicated, highly advanced models – Jaeger-LeCoultre hit the reset button and went back to the beginning, where it all started.

I would say it was an instant success! Even if we “watch nerds” focused a lot on the Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm which was launched the same year, the larger audience embraced the Tribute To Reverso 1931 and since then how many different Reverso Tribute versions has it been? I don’t know, I lost count…

Tribute To Reverso 1931 Red dial – launched in 2012

For a watch line to survive over 80 years, I think one of the most important things is that there is a model available for the larger audience.

The original and the tribute – 80 years apart

So now you know why I think these three Reverso models are milestones to the Reverso history and success!

T.W.O years from now we will see another anniversary Reverso, the “Reverso 90ème” – I am still hoping for a Reverso Memovox…!

A BIG thank you goes out to @jaegerlecoultre_aficionado proposing these stories and for posting them on Instagram!