Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

In the 1930s, when British officers in the Indian Army who calmed their martial armour at polo ordered from the famous Swiss factory Jaeger-LeCoultre a watch capable of withstanding the rigours of the sport, little did they realise they would cause one of the greatest horological phenomena of the century.

In order to meet their rough-riding requirements, Jacques-David LeCoultre and Edmond Jaeger entrusted the best stylist of the period the Parisian engineer Rene-Alfred Chauvot, with the task of creating a case capable of protecting a delicate watch movement under all circumstances.

On March 4, 1931, the Reverso was born when the latter registered a patent describing in detail guide grooves, pivoting stops, ratchet mechanisms for a stainless steel case capable of cushioning from its base and turning completely over.

The Reverso has the longest existing design in the entire watchmaking industry. And since its inception 60 years ago, no one has been able to replicate the Reverso's unique design.

Beneath its transparent sapphire base can be seen the fascinating spectacle of a complication movement in gold comprising 193 pieces handcrafted by the elite of the master watchmakers of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The traditional screw balance, which oscillates 18,000 times an hour, is driven by delicate wheels, all of which is assembled using flame-blue steel screws.

Its face, in solid silver, with its guilloche pattern machined in the traditional way, faithfully reproduces the original Art Deco style. The hands are in blued steel and the date is in gold.

The 193 pieces of the movement are at the same time individual tiny "jewels" cut from gold and stainless steel and united in a barrel caliber, and all entirely hand-decorated. This mechanical hand-wound movement shows the hours, minutes, seconds, the date and the power reserve.

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