Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso celebrates its 85th Anniversary.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso celebrates its 85th Anniversary.

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Who would have thought a watch design born out of necessity and practicality would attain cult status like Jaeger- LeCoultre’s Reverso? It was created in 1931 for British officers in the Indian Army who needed a watch that could withstand the rigours of their polo matches. Since then, the Reverso has grown to be one of the world’s most emblematic, if not most beloved watches—a treasured heirloom or sentimental keepsake, thanks to a swivel case that can be turned to reveal a loving message, or another watch face. Fast-forward to 85 years later and the Swiss watchmaker is back with a new slew of enticing creations that will not only satisfy its fans, but garner a new generation of loyal collectors too.

Take the Reverso One Réédition and Reverso One Cordonnet, for instance. Looking to the ’30s for inspiration, the timepieces were made to be “the one” for ladies who are after an elegant timepiece that transcends seasonal trends and their fickle dictates. Think of it as an LBD of sorts for the wrist: Always stylish and never out of place. The common thread between these two variants—and all the other Reversos, in fact—is the timelessness of the designs: Despite minor tweaks being made through the years to maintain a contemporary face, the Reverso has essentially retained its original design elements and features. “We revisit the Reverso every five years, but always with respect to certain design protocols: From the Squadra, which is sporty, to the Duo Face, which is unique… I’m really happy with its evolution. It has a good equilibrium between function and aesthetics; which is not easy to work on,” says Jaeger- LeCoultre’s Artistic Director Janek Deleskiewicz.

Even its exciting collaboration with shoe maestro Christian Louboutin, undertaken as part of the celebrations for this momentous year, is not going to change that. What the partnership does is to present female Reverso lovers with a myriad of fashionable options to personalise their timepiece under its Atelier Reverso service. As Deleskiewicz observes: “We’re not a fashion brand, so we needed someone like him to push [that aspect] for our brand. With him, we can now offer bespoke options of dimensions, materials, finishings. It’s a good step for us for future creations and to educate the public: Jaeger-LeCoultre is not just about mechanics and technical know-how. We can create pretty watches with special dials and straps too.” With Atelier Reverso’s offer of seven Reverso models, 49 dials and 800 straps for an astounding 5,277 possibilities (excluding engraving), it’s like having a haute couture creation on your wrist—made to your every whim and fancy.