For Jaeger-LeCoultre, the first half of this year has been a celebration of its iconic Reverso. First came an extensive reveal of new novelties at this year’s Watches & Wonders, where the theme was ‘The Golden Ration,’ represented in the length-to-width of the Reverso. Now, the watchmaker has announced Lenny Kravitz, a long-time Reverso admirer, as its newest brand ambassador.
When the multi-talented artist – singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, actor, designer and photographer – performed at this year’s Oscars ceremony, he paired his black silk jumpsuit and layered jewellery with a Reverso. He also chose to wear a Reverso when appearing in the promotional video to announce his brand ambassadorship. This is quite an endorsement of Reverso’s style quotient, given that Lenny was recognised last year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) with its ‘Fashion Icon’ award.
“Beyond the function of a watch, style is very important – how it looks and the way it fits on your wrist. You have to really connect with it,” says Lenny. “My Jaeger-LeCoultre pieces feel like they have always been there – they blend with me and their style is absolutely timeless. You can really make these watches your own and when you want to change the mood, change the vibe, they always fit. It’s as if they become one with you.”
Lenny will have a choice of four new models, and several variants, to add to his Reverso collection. The four new models presented at this year’s Watches & Wonders are Reverso Tribute Chronograph, Tribute Duoface Tourbillon, Tribute Small Seconds, and the Reverso Hybris Artistica Calibre 179.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph, as the name suggests, pays tribute to the first Reverso Chronograph of 1996. The six-piece limited edition was powered by the Calibre 829 – the first chronograph movement in a rectangular case. It was also the first manually-wound integrated chronograph developed by JLC from scratch in the post-quartz era.
The 2023 Reverso Tribute Chronograph is powered by the new Calibre 860, which presents a chronograph with a double-sided display of the time. The front dial bears all the hallmarks of the Reverso Tribute line, with its baton hour markers, Dauphine hands and peripheral chemin de fer minutes track. The dials are discreetly elegant with a sunray-brushed surface.
The reverse side reveals the beautifully crafted chronograph mechanism through a skeletonised dial. The bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève, while the chronograph seconds and minute tracks are highlighted in black to maximise legibility. The blue chronograph hands complement the blued screws, and they starkly contrast against the other components.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph is presented in two variants. The steel variant comes with a blue-grey dial and dark blue straps. This sophisticated colour is achieved through the innovative Atomic Layer Deposit process, in which ultra-thin layers of titanium oxide are deposited progressively. The pink gold variant comes with a contrasting deep black dial.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Duoface Tourbillon
The new Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon presents the Duoface dual time zone complication and a tourbillon in the same watch for the first time. The Duoface has become a pillar of the Reverso collection since it was introduced in 1994. JLC’s first tourbillon was developed for a pocket watch in 1946, and in 1993 JLC became the first watchmaker to present a tourbillon in a rectangular case.
JLC’s ultra-thin hand-wound Calibre 847 is the movement that unites these two features, while being just 3.9mm thick. To achieve this, JLC’s watchmakers had to completely rethink the tourbillon mechanism, to reduce as much height as possible. Comprising 62 components and weighing a mere 0.455 grams, this highly sophisticated tourbillon does not have an upper bridge. The outer tourbillon cage was replaced with a ball-bearing system, and the balance wheel is attached to the centre of the tourbillon.
In the absence of an outer cage, the hairspring was replaced with an innovative S-shaped balance spring. One end of which is attached to a fixed point at the centre of the tourbillon mechanism, and the other end is fixed to the balance wheel. The S-shape avoids the coils of the spring from touching each other and makes the spring perfectly concentric to the tourbillon.
These understated details and the subtle glow of the silver sunray-brushed front dial allow the tourbillon to take centre stage. The cradle of the case features a visually dramatic sunray pattern emanating from a mirror-polished disc. The latter aligns with the tourbillon to reflect light through the mechanism.
The reverse dial of the watch has a bolder character, enhanced by partial skeletonisation and dramatic decorations. The second time zone is indicated by golden hands and indexes on a black sunray-brushed dial, and above the dial, the night and day indicator features an exquisite starry night sky. The gold bridges are richly textured with Clous de Paris guilloché, while blued screws contrast with the gold.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute Small Seconds
Soon after its creation in 1931 as a watch for polo players, Reverso became popular amongst other members of high society. This led to new variations of the watch featuring coloured dials that contrasted vividly with the case metal. This was an innovative departure at a time when white or silver dials were the norm for men’s watches.
The 2023 Reverso Tribute Small Seconds adds to this story with sunray-brushed coloured dials. Three of these – Black sunray, Burgundy lacquer, and Silver sunray – are encased in a significantly redesigned pink gold case which, at 7.56mm, has a reduced thickness of almost a millimetre. The fourth variant has a Silver opaline dial with black nickel finished hands and indexes in a steel case.
All four models are powered by the manually wound Calibre 822. This elegant and well-proven movement has a power reserve of 42 hours.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Artistica Calibre 179
Reverso Hybris Artistica Calibre 179 brings together the maison’s technical masterpiece – the multi-axis tourbillon – with the finest artistic craftsmanship from the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares (Rare Handcrafts) to elevate this timepiece to the level of high-art.
Calibre 179 features the fourth evolution of the multi-axis tourbillon or Gyrotourbillon. As with the Calibre 847 of the Reverso Tribute Duoface, Calibre 179 was developed specifically for the Reverso, and is also a Duoface movement. Comprising 382 components, this highly complex movement has been remarkably accommodated within an overall thickness of just 13.63 millimetres.
Visually enthralling to observe as it pirouettes around its twin axes, the highly complex structure of the Gyrotourbillon has a total of 123 components. It has an ultra-light titanium cage and a peripheral carriage mounted on ball bearings. These two elements turn perpendicularly to each other at different speeds. The inner tourbillon cage rotates 360 degrees every 16 seconds, and the peripheral carriage makes a full rotation once per minute. This peripheral carriage also provides a small seconds function, indicating the seconds on a ring that encircles the tourbillon aperture.
Rather than being held in place by a conventional bridge, the tourbillon mechanism is supported by a ring of ball bearings. As a result, the Gyrotourbillon appears to be floating in the space between the front and back dials of the Reverso. The effect is amplified by the light reflected from the mirror-like surface of a polished blue lacquer disc positioned on the supporting cradle of the watch directly beneath the tourbillon aperture.
On the aesthetic front, glowing dark blue lacquer on either side creates a rich contrast with the pink gold case of the watch. On the front dial, in a subtle allusion to the geometric patterns of Art Deco, a fine lattice of golden lines contrasts with the blue lacquer of the complements and the time display. On the reverse dial, blue lacquer has been applied to the fine tracery of the skeletonised hours-minutes ring and its supporting bridges, which similarly contrast with the golden tones of the various movement components.
In addition to these men’s models, JLC also presented two women’s models. The first model, a Métiers Rares atelier creation, is The Reverso One Precious Colours. It is offered in two eye-catching colour variations – green and blue. The second model, the Reverso Secret Necklace, is a magnificent jewellery piece whose case is entirely set with diamonds and onyx in an Art Deco pattern. The watch is suspended from a chain necklace of pink gold links and onyx beads.