|Year of production (circa)||
Gold / steel
20 x 32mm
Original box & papers
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto Ref. 266.5.44
The origin of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso is a well-known story. A little recap; In 1930, a businessman named César de Trey received a challenge to devise a solution for protecting the crystal of the watch during polo matches. Motivated by this task, de Trey conceived an ingenious idea—a reversible case. Recognizing the need for skilled craftsmanship, he enlisted the help of his friend Jacques-David LeCoultre to manufacture the watch, while enlisting the services of René-Alfred Chauvot to design it. This collaboration gave birth to the iconic timepiece known as the Reverso.
From that moment on the iconic line has experimented with lots of iterations such as the Duoface, Tribute, Skeletons, and chronographs. The one we have here is the Duetto! The Duetto possesses the remarkable capability to flip over and unveil not just an alternate face, but two distinct countenances. On one side, an elegant and timeless Reverso dial. Meanwhile, the opposite side presented a very elegant and decorative dial, featuring a mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond bezel.
This specific Duetto comes in a combination of 18k yellow gold and steel, giving it a refined jewelry-like – appearance. The watch houses a manual movement as one would expect in the Reverso. Additionally, the watch comes with the original box and paper making it slightly more attractive.
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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.
We do our best to handle packages as soon as possible. This could take a max. of 3 working days. Note that the delivery times commence the day of dispatch.
Unfortunately, we cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by destination customs clearance processes, local duties and taxes, and items that are lost in transit.