The highest epithet of sports watches, the chronograph finds an unusual interpretation in one of the oldest sports watches designs ever, the Reverso. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph pays tribute to the 90+ years old design with a new movement that unites a chronograph with retrograde minutes and a second-time display on the reverse dial – the Calibre 860.
Launched during Watches & Wonders 2023, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph perpetuates the spirit of inventiveness specific to the grand Maison and reiterates a story started in 1996 with the first Reverso Chronograph. On one side, the watches bear the hallmarks of the Reverso Tribute line, while the other side surprises with a chronograph with central seconds and retrograde minutes and a second-time display.
A classic Reverso case
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph comes in the classic rectangular case prepared in stainless steel or pink gold. The case measures 49.4 x 29.9 mm – a well-proportioned case for my taste. The case is decorated with mirror polish. The base interior was decorated with a burst engraving that will grant a nice set of reflections during the flip action. The deep horizontal engravings are part of the signature specifications of this watch.
The crown is far by being tall, but it offers a good grip. The set and wind are a real pleasure. The end of the winding opposes enough resistance to know that the barrel is fully wound without the risk of damage. The Jaeger-LeCoultre logo is embossed on the bombe polished surface. Two rectangular pushes serve for the start/stop and reset for the chronograph function present on the verso face.
The inward bent lugs sweeten the 47mm length into a quite comfortable feel and wear. The short lugs are part of Reverso’s case beauty. The Reverso case should be known to any person that has a bit of knowledge about watches. The prominent characteristic, the changing face with just a simple flip, is such a pleasant activity.
The back of the watch bears the brand’s name and logo engraved, together with water resistance and serial number. Another detail is the 1000-hours control engraved medalion attesting the quality check – one of the best on the market. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph is fitted with gorgeous blue or grey canvas-and-leather and all-leather options designed by Casa Fagliano and ends with a JLC deployant clasp on steel and with a pin buckle on the pink gold variant.
The recto dial
My personal favourite feature of the Reverso is the ability to change its face. In this case, the recto dial follows all the detail of the Tribute line inside the Reverso collection. The front dial elegantly displays the time using the specific aesthetic code: gadroons, “railroad” minute track, applied baton hour-markers and the faceted dauphine hands. All the details stand out against the sunray dial.
The blue-greyish dial – a shade strongly dependent on the ambient light, is obtained using an innovative ADL (atomic layer deposit) process in which ultra-thin layers of titanium oxide are deposited. As usual, an applied logo is hand-mounted above the printed name.
The black dial is balanced by golden details giving a warm feeling. While the sunrayed substrate is the same as the other variant, the light game is harder to be matched – but the effect is spectacular. Both dials offer exceptional legibility. The pictures reveal some of the shades both watch faces display in various lights.
The Verso dial
Turning the watches, an entire magical world is revealed. The is skeletonised offering a generous glimpse into the new Calibre 860. The verso face displays the same time as the front face (no dual time or similar function), making use of the same style “railroad” minute track, applied baton hour-markers and the faceted dauphine hands.
In addition, the central display bears the chronograph seconds using a thermally blued hand with a generous counterbalance. The precision reading is assured by a black opaline track printed with Arabic numerals surrounded on the exterior by a circle in case material with printed indexes.
The lower side of the verso face is used by a semi-circle subdial indicating the retrograde 30-minute chronograph counter. A small blued lance hand hovers over the black opaline and silver/gold track bearing the printed numerals and indexes. Enriching the dial’s beauty is the visible column wheel of the fully integrated chronograph.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph is powered by the newly designed and developed Calibre 860. This creation unites the recto time display with a chronograph with retrograde minutes and a second-time display on the reverse dial. The entire construction answers the question of how to fit circular chronograph timing indications within a rectangular case while maintaining the clarity and legibility essential for this sporty complication. To display hours and minutes on both front and reverse dials, the movement powers two sets of hands that must move in opposite directions to indicate the time in the correct clockwise fashion on both faces of the watch.
Calibre 860 is also unusual from the perspective of the pushers present on the “left” side – the entire architecture is “against” the classic chronograph layout. The watchmakers needed to rethink the effect of the actuator’s length and to change the complete geometry of the chronograph constituent parts. The result fits in only 5.44mm thickness, offering 52 hours of autonomy on a full wind.
The movement is partially open-worked not only to fit the gears but also to showcase the beautiful decorations. The Côtes de Genève and the blued screws maximise the playfulness of the chronograph.
The Reverso Tribute Chronograph is a true example of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s capabilities for innovation while fully respecting the heritage. The watch dully represents and honours the beauty of the 1931’s design by keeping “traditional” elements that are very sought after by the general public. Any hard-core collector will find joy in the classic elegant details of the Reverso.
The second face is a superb evolution and interpretation of a chronograph. The open face and exceptional choice to display the complication using a retrograde minute counter add not only general complexity to the movement but also offers an entire suite of details to be enjoyed by a keen eye. I am pleasantly surprised at each turn of the face: the beautiful sunrayed dial or the complicated machinery. Well done Jaeger-LeCoultre – a superb ode to a classic.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph Steel Technical Specifications
- Calibre 860
- Manual winding,
- Components: 292,
- Vibrations per hour: 28800,
- Jewels: 38,
- Barrel: 1,
- Thickness: 5.44mm,
- Power reserve: 52 hours
- Recto functions:
- Hour – Minute
- Verso Functions:
- Hour – Minute identical on front/back,
- 30-minute counter Chronograph,
- Chronograph’s Second
- Stainless steel / Pink Gold 750/1000 (18 carats)
- Dimensions (L x W): 49.4 x 29.9 mm
- Thickness: 11.14mm
- Water Resistance: 3 bar
- Appliqued hour-markers,
- Blue / Black, sunray-brushed
- Dauphine hands
- Black, Opaline, Appliqued hour-markers
- Dauphines hands
- Blue chronograph hands
Strap & Buckle
- Two straps included with the watch:
- Calfskin Leather, Bleu marine / Calfskin Leather, Grey
- Calfskin Leather,Black / Calfskin Leather,Black
- Interchangeable: Yes
- Lug width: 22mm
- Length 12h: 75mm
- Length 6h: 120mm
- Double Folding Buckle / Pin buckle
- Stainless steel / Pink Gold 750/1000 (18 carats)
- Buckle width: 20mm
ABOUT THE GOLDEN RATIO
Created in 1931 at the height of the Art Deco artistic movement, the original design of Reverso was governed by the Golden Ratio. A mystical number represented by the Greek letter φ (Phi) and simplified as 1.618, the Golden Ratio is recognised as a universal signifier of beauty and harmony. In watchmaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso expresses this principle with the utmost eloquence. While many variations of the Reverso case have been presented over the nine decades since then, the original proportions have remained as an anchor for the collection, and the Golden Ratio continues to define the Reverso’s design today.