Margaret Thatcher proclaimed “The lady is not for turning” intimating that turning was an undesirable action. However, the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre has delighted owners for generations because of the facility to turn over the dial and protect it from any stray objects.
It was in 1931 Jaeger-LeCoultre patented a unique watch – “The Reverso”.
The Reverso had an unusual case allowing it to turn over on itself and protect the glass from the dangers of errant Polo balls on the playing fields of India as British Officers galloped in competition.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has launched many models over the years and in 2011 the Reverso celebrated its 80th birthday.
During the time of its reign, the Reverso has been sold in many forms from small to large, on strap or bracelet, ladies and gents and in various metals.
In recent years Jaeger-LeCoultre released the “Squadra”, a modern interpretation in various forms of the classic art deco Reverso with a square case instead of the regular rectangular case favoured by traditionalists.
Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC) has offered various complications including the “Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2”, a staggering example of watch making and confirmation as if it were needed that this is a truly great “Manufacture”.
The case back has often been adorned with personalised engraving or beautiful enamelling, skills which have a long tradition within Swiss watch making dating back to the Huguenots settling in Geneva.
Background to my purchase
I purchased the watch pictured from an authorised JLC retailer in 2004.
The recommended retail price at the time was £5450 including VAT and like many watches the retail price has risen since the date of purchase unlike many equities I have owned over the same period.
On the Reverso Grand Date, turn over the inner case back and a sapphire back is revealed and its wonderful movement exposed, which I never tire of admiring.
A small channel within the outer case provides the pathway for the hinge of the inner case to travel from left to right and then revolve over. Two small ball bearings on the crown side of inner case provide the friction to hold the inner case in position.
The inside of the outer case has surface decoration typical of the Reverso (perlage).
The movement features blued screws, rubies, Côtes de Genève stripes and twin spring barrels which provide the 8 days power reserve.
The dial incorporates blued hands which contrast against the silver Guilloché dial.
A power reserve indicator is positioned in the top left hand corner of the dial providing a useful aide-mémoire to manually winding the watch.
Winding is a delight, turning the crown to power the spring barrels, reveals a beautiful smooth action.
The large date in the bottom left of the display utilises two revolving discs which are independent of each other and patented by JLC.
The Alligator leather strap is fitted with a deployant and whilst like many collectors I change my watch every few days, the strap has worn remarkably well and is certainly not in need of changing after 7 years of ownership.
I have owned many watches over the years and a watch which I once proclaimed was essential to my collection would sometimes result in boredom and an amicable separation, however, I never cease loving the Reverso Grand Date.
It is understated and valued by other discerning collectors who have often favourably commented on the watch, whilst it adorns my wrist.
Its design is faithful to the original but the sapphire back facilitates my admiring stares at the beautiful “finissage” of the movement.
The Iron Lady may not have been for “turning”, but I will turn over the dial on my Reverso for many more years.