|Year of production (circa)
23 x 28 mm
Jaeger-Le-Coultre Service papers
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Ref.250.8.10
Originally designed for athletes, specifically polo players, the Reverso addressed a common issue faced by gentlemen polo players in 1931: their wristwatches were not durable enough for their sport, often breaking upon impact with the ball. Sapphire glass, commonly used today, was not yet available, so the solution was innovative: a reversible watch case. This allowed the delicate glass of the time to be protected during rough activities while still being worn on the wrist. This invention relieved a headache for polo players and earned admiration from enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.
Preserving its elegant Art Deco aesthetic since its introduction, the Reverso remains timeless in its beauty. This offered model, a Quartz Classic, retains the original men’s size and features a striking blue dial with aged tritium numerals, evoking a vintage charm. Notably, it is one of the few models with a date function. Adding, it comes with 2024 JLC service papers.
Turn your attention to this timepiece. Feel free to visit us to try it on and learn more over a cup of coffee. You’re warmly invited.
Availability: In stock
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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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