Born in 1931, the Reverso was one of the first wristwatches ever developed specifically for sport – its ingenious swivelling case designed to protect it when worn on the polo field – although its appeal immediately spread far beyond the sporting arena. In 2023, the new Reverso Tribute Chronograph pays tribute to the Reverso’s roots with the quintessential sporting complication – the chronograph. Perpetuating the spirit of inventiveness that has driven Jaeger-LeCoultre for 190 years, and drawing inspiration from the first Reverso Chronograph of 1996, the new Calibre 860 unites a chronograph with a double-sided display of the time.
Contrasting dials marry watchmaking tradition to modern aesthetics The Reverso Tribute Chronograph is presented in both steel and pink gold, complemented by dark blue and black straps respectively. The cool tone of the steel case is complemented by a blue-grey dial – a sophisticated colour achieved by the innovative ADL (atomic layer deposit) process, in which ultra-thin layers of titanium oxide are deposited. The subtle glow of a pure black dial creates a noble contrast to the richness of the pink gold case. Turning the watch case over reveals the beautifully crafted chronograph mechanism on the reverse side. To showcase the fascinating animation of the chronograph and full complexity of the movement, the dial is entirely skeletonised, the bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève to create visual unity, and the chronograph seconds and minute tracks are highlighted in black to maximise legibility. Blue screws are matched by the blue of the chronograph hands, underlining the perfect integration of movement and decoration. Enhancing the sense of visual depth, the indications for the second time display – faceted baton indexes and chemin de fer minutes track – appear to be floating above the calibre.
A rich legacy of expertise in complications The Reverso Tribute Chronograph revisits and reinvents the ground-breaking Reverso Chronographe of 1996. The earlier piece was one of six special Reversos developed in the space of a single decade, each of them designed around an entirely new expression of the great classical watchmaking complications. Starting in 1991, following the 60th anniversary of the Reverso, these pieces were landmarks in the revival of mechanical watchmaking after the quartz crisis. The movement of the 1996 Reverso Chronograph, Calibre 829, was not only the first shaped chronograph movement in a rectangular case for Jaeger-LeCoultre but also the first manually-wound integrated chronograph to be developed from scratch in the post-quartz era – a remarkable testament to the Manufacture’s inventiveness and technical prowess.
Calibre 860: a new expression of the chronograph Adding a fresh chapter to the rich history of complicated calibres conceived and made in the Vallée de Joux, the Reverso Tribute Chronograph is powered by the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 860, a fully integrated hand-wound chronograph movement. Entirely designed, produced and assembled within the Manufacture, it is an elegant and creative answer to the challenge of housing circular chronograph timing indications within a rectangular case, while maintaining the clarity and legibility essential for this sporty complication. Moreover, according to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s approach to product integrity, whereby a movement should be shaped according to the case that houses it, the calibre itself also had to be rectangular. The result is a beautifully balanced and highly distinctive dial layout, with a large chronograph seconds display in the upper part of the dial complemented by a retrograde 30-minute indicator on an arc at the base of the dial. Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, Calibre 860 incorporates a column wheel chronograph with a horizontal clutch, which was chosen over the more familiar vertical clutch to reduce the overall thickness of the movement. 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 correct clockwise fashion on both faces of the watch. Calibre 860 offers a power reserve of 52 hours, even allowing for the high energy requirement of a retrograde chronograph combined with two time indications. Despite this complexity and no fewer than 300 components, the shaped rectangular movement fully respects Jaeger-LeCoultre’s philosophy of elegance, fitting into a case less than 12mm thick. Fagliano Collection straps add character and style The two straps offered with each watch, a signature of the Reverso Tribute line, feature an interchangeable buckle for easy strap changes. In canvas-and-leather and all-leather options, they are designed by the celebrated Argentinian polo bootmaker Casa Fagliano, adding a dash of sporty sophistication while reconnecting the Reverso to its roots in the world of polo.