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March 05, 2017

Why Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Is An Equestrian Icon

Text by Simone Louis

The Reverso watch is an Art Deco tour de force that never fails to impress

It was the year 1931 in British India. Swiss businessman and watch collector César de Trey was at a polo match when an officer, whose watch glass had just broken, challenged him to create a model robust enough to endure the sport. De Trey discussed the concept with Jacques-David LeCoultre — then-owner of the LeCoultre manufacture — who in turn appointed the Jaeger S.A. firm to create the case, and the Reverso was born. Sophisticated enough for officers to wear with dress uniforms yet tough enough for sports, the timepiece could slide and flip to protect the crystal and dial from impact, thanks to a unique mechanism invented by French designer René-Alfred Chauvot. The original case was the same size as the newer Reverso Classique.

Years later, when the two brands merged to become Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937, the watch had already been established as a great Art Deco classic. It’s only fitting then, that their ties to the world of polo were maintained and continue to go from strength to strength even today. Over and above sponsoring prestigious events like the Polo Open of Argentina and the British Open Polo Championship, the brand is also the official timekeeper for the Cowdray Park Polo Club and supports players like Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Luke Tomlinson and Clare Milford Haven, Marchioness of Milford Haven. In fact, to mark the 85th anniversary of the watch, the Marchioness crafted her own version of the Reverso Classic Duetto Medium in pink gold. Graced with two dials and a double set of hands driven by a single movement, it features a crown finely set with diamonds and a ruby, and is held by a night-blue calfskin strap reminiscent of polo players’ boots. The latter comes as no surprise considering that the watchmaker also collaborates with legendary Argentinian polo boot makers Casa Fagliano, to offer bracelets in special cordovan leather for certain models.

Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is still reinventing the iconic timepiece, each time with a unique approach that allows it to stay true to the original design and spirit. In 2016, it turned heads and won over new fans with stylish avatars born from a collaboration with Christian Louboutin. In addition, a number of collections dedicated to women evoke an aura of elegance while paying tribute to the spirit of technical innovation associated with the classic. With an ever-growing repertoire of moon phases, dual-dial cases, tourbillons and diamond-studded dials, the Reverso stands out as a heritage work of art and a shining example of ingenuity.

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