|Year of production (circa)||
18k Yellow gold
23 x 33 mm
Jaeger-Le-Coultre Service papers
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto 256.1.75
Once upon a time, in the quaint town of Le Sentier in Switzerland, there lived a master watchmaker named Antoine LeCoultre. He had a passion for creating exceptional timepieces that were not only accurate but also beautiful works of art. One day, Antoine had a brilliant idea for a watch that could be flipped over to conceal the face, giving the wearer the ability to protect the dial while playing sports . Thus, the Reverso was born.
Years later, the brand Jaeger-LeCoultre, named after Antoine and his grandson Edmond Jaeger, took over the production of the Reverso and continued to innovate and improve upon the design. One of the most stunning iterations of this timepiece was the Duetto Reverso.
The Duetto Reverso quickly became a favourite among watch enthusiasts and collectors, as it allowed them to have two different looks in one watch. It was a perfect balance of function and fashion, and it quickly became a symbol of luxury and elegance.
The Duetto Reverso was a watch that not only had the ability to flip over to reveal a different face but also had two distinct faces. One side of the watch displayed a beautiful, classic design with a small seconds hand, while the other side showcased a more intricate, decorative face with a mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond bezel.
This specific Duetto from 2002 is executed in 18k yellow gold case and bracelet, and measures in at 23 x 28 mm with a manual movement. Additionally, the watch features 2023 service papers.
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To understand the odd design of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, we have to travel to India, 1930. Watch collector and business man Oscar de Trey was watching British army officers play a game of polo. One of them broke his watch’s crystal during the match and challenged Oscar to come up with a design that would survive the rough sport.
De Trey dreamed up a watch that would be reversible and met up with Jacques-David LeCoultre to get it done. He would supply the movements for these watches. Edmond Jaeger (who would later merge with LeCoultre in 1937) was contracted to build the cases. A designer by the name of René-Alfred Chauvot was hired to develop the basic idea into a working design. His unique reversible watch case was patented in 1931. The case could slide out of its cradle and be turned over, exposing a metal backplate, rather than the delicate crystal and dial. The Reverso was born.
If you have a look at this 1931 art deco design, you will instantly recognize the modern Reverso. The case shape has hardly changed and the original was already rather substantial; the same size as the modern Reverso classique. Of course many variations were introduced, among which a 1935 update with a square sub-dial for the seconds.
The backplate of the Reverso was often used for personal engravings or enamel decorations. It took until 1994 before JLC would house two dials and sets of hands within a single Reverso, creating the duo-face. A technical challenge, since both faces are powered by the same movement in between. Most would feature a light and a dark dial, to match different outfits, moods or times of the day (Reverso Day & Night).
Several versions with different complications were produced from 1991 onwards. Multiple sizes, materials and movement types are also available. Most are fitted with manually wound or quartz calibers, although automatic versions do exist.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is arguably the world’s first specially designed sports watch. By today’s standards its looks are classically formal, but its roots are clearly in equestrian sports. Much like the Cartier Tank, its rectangular design has survived the test of time with flying colors. If it is a true design classic you are after, no need to look any further.
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