The New Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon: Now More Comfortable To Wear Through Even Slimmer Fit
Putting this groundbreaking tourbillon into the rectangular Reverso case – the Gyrotourbillon I of 2004 was housed in the round Master case – prompted Jaeger-LeCoultre to make fundamental changes in the Gyrotourbillon’s spherical double-axis tourbillon caliber.
One such change was initiated by the brand’s escapement research in a quest for more precision: the introduction of a cylindrical balance spring, the first of its kind in a wristwatch, plus the frequency of the Gyrotourbillon 2‘s balance was increased to a faster-paced 4 Hertz, up from the previous 3 Hertz.
The cylindrical balance spring was invented in 1782 by John Arnold. The extreme complexity involved in manufacturing a miniaturized version of this spring guaranteed that would remain exclusively inside marine chronometers and perhaps a few larger pocket watches until 2008, when it was successfully made entirely suitable for a wristwatch.
The cylindrical balance spring, combined with the spherical double tourbillon – whose outer carriage revolves at the conventional speed of one minute while the inner carriage rotates at a fast-paced 18.75 seconds – ensured that accuracy was the order of the day.
The thickness of the Reverson Gyrotourbillon’s manually wound Caliber 174 also made it necessary for the manufacture’s case engineers to design a new swiveling housing since the biaxial tourbillon with spherical balance spring demanded a thicker shell than was routinely used in the Reverso line.
Caliber 174, comprising a total of 371 components, 58 of which are jewels, boasts a power reserve of 50 hours with just one barrel fitted with a sapphire crystal cover (to reduce friction).
Its front displays the hours, minutes, seconds (on the tourbillon carriage), and a 24-hour indication. Being a Reverso, there is naturally an interesting back to this watch as well, which is outfitted with a power reserve indicator.
The Gyrotourbillon 2 was also only available in a limited edition of 75 pieces each in platinum and red gold.
For an in-depth look at this beauty, see Beautiful Contrasts: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2.
The 2016 Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon: much thinner, much more wearable
Eight years later, and just in time for the 85th anniversary of the brand’s iconic Reverso line, the Gyrotourbillon returns to the swiveling case.
But it is not the same movement, nor is it the same case: both are much, much thinner. In fact, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmakers say that the new Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon is 30 percent thinner in both height and width than the original 2008 Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2.
This was made possible by reworking the Gyrotourbillon, making its light and airy architecture even lighter and airier – and, of course, flatter and more wearable.
The reason it is flatter is because the engineers at Jaeger-LeCoultre have been able to make the movement thinner. And I can’t stress enough what an absolute feat this is.
In the quest for slimness, the biaxial tourbillon had to be reformatted. The conventional balance wheel was replaced with the flatter Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrolab balance wheel, which really isn’t a “wheel” at all, but more of an anchor-shaped configuration. This freshly engineered balance wheel first seen in the new Geophysic collection with True Seconds reduces air friction and takes up less room (see Stunning New Geophysic Collection From Jaeger-LeCoultre: True Second And Universal Time).
And the rare cylindrical balance spring of the Gyrotourbillon 2 has been upgraded to a an ever rarer semi-spherical balance spring in Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, which makes the multi-axis regulator even more mesmerizing to watch.
Then there is the “mysterious” biaxial tourbillon itself. Now the outer tourbillon makes its rotation in one minute – as usual – but the inner tourbillon only needs 12.6 seconds for a full revolution, making it 6 seconds faster than its predecessor.
Because the tourbillon is driven externally, and not by means of a cage, it really looks as if it were floating between the panes of sapphire crystal.
This is a flying tourbillon in the truest sense of the word!
First Gyrotourbillon with two functional sides
One of the really cool things about the redesigned Reverso collection of 2016 is that most of the new watches have functionality on both sides. This also stands true for the new Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon.
If you can tear your eyes away from the tourbillon’s mechanical ballet long enough, you will discover that the front features the hours and minutes using blued Dauphine-shaped hands against the backdrop of a beautiful finely grained white dial. Now you can relax and allow your eyes to wander back down to the tourbillon – at least for me, this happens as if drawn by a magnet – where the seconds driven by it are shown on a scale encircling the cutaway; a blued reference marker on the left side provides a precise read-off.
Sweep your eyes back up to that subdial showing hours and minutes if you can and you can just barely make out the day/night indicator in a subdial to the left of the main dial at about 11 o’clock that is so typical of the Reverso. It is no accident that this display is the same size as the spring barrel with its sapphire crystal lid to the right of that dial, a configuration that provides extreme symmetry.
Flip the swiveling case around and to your delight you will discover that the other side is equipped with its very own second time zone, including hours, minutes, seconds, and even a day/night indication.
The entirety of manually wound Caliber 179 is hand-engraved, enhancing the beauty of its svelte airiness.
And if you’re looking for that typical Reverso surface to embellish with engraved personalization, the freshly redesigned “cradle” offers plenty of that in addition to a perfect fit on the wrist.
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/reverso.
Quick Facts Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon
Case: 31 x 51.1 x 12.4 mm, platinum
Movement: manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 179 with mysterious flying double-axis tourbillon and hemispherical balance spring
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; 24-hour indication
Limitation: 75 pieces
Also published on Medium.