Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater: A Truly Fitting Tribute
Tributes, at least the best ones, seek to reiterate what was so great about the subject of the tribute. A fireworks show is not a great tribute for a jazz musician, but it is a phenomenal tribute to the inventor of the modern fireworks show. For that same reason, a philanthropist is best honored not with a concert but more philanthropy.
If we follow that reasoning, what would be a fitting tribute to the first minute repeater and the first version of the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre? JLC answered this question by creating an incredible Reverso with an updated minute repeater movement featuring the very best that Jaeger-LeCoultre has to offer.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater
The history represented by this new limited-edition Reverso is extensive to say the least. It has been 150 years since Jaeger-LeCoultre made its first minute repeater. Wanting to celebrate that milestone, Jaeger-LeCoultre didn’t stop there, realizing that another momentous milestone would coincide with that of the first minute repeater: the Reverso’s birthday. The path forward became obvious, and the Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater was born.
The watch’s aesthetic is a mix of modern and the classic Art Deco that highlights the mechanics since it is a tribute to the minute repeater mechanism. Both sides of this Reverso have no dials with only a simple set of chamfered and polished indices and small minute tracks around the edge.
The repeater side is the front since it offers the Jaeger-LeCoultre logo in the traditional position printed on a layer of sapphire crystal spanning the opening above the movement; the crown is at 3 o’clock in this position, too.
The mechanics underneath the crystal are a mix of gold- and rhodium-plated finishes with a swooping bridge that supports the hour and minute hand pivots. Combined with the bright silver-colored hands, the black-and-gold chemin de fer (railroad) minute track, and the customary Art Deco styling, the presentation is visually dynamic.
When it’s in motion as the repeater is operating it is an aesthetic ballet. The gongs are just visible in the corners of the dial as they arc past the minute track and back under to follow the dial shape.
The reverse face of this Reverso is the more relaxed side, still with fully exposed mechanics but this time it is the balance, going train, and winding mechanism in almost entirely bright rhodium plating and vertical Geneva stripes. Here the chemin de fer minute track is silver with black lines, brightening up the entire face.
The reverse side displays the same hours and minutes as the front, allowing the wearer to choose between showing off the fantastic repeater mechanism or making it seem like it is “just” a skeletonized Reverso. That is still in line with the legacy of the Reverso, hiding or protecting one side, but now one can tell the time regardless. To add a bit more contrast on this side, the dauphine hands match the gold of the case and – as on the opposite face – select screws are blued to provide a pop of color.
Presentation or mechanics: you choose
At the bottom of the “simpler” face is a nicely relief-engraved plaque with “Jaeger-LeCoultre” in rhodium plating and the same pink gold trim of the case. This entire side of the Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater is subdued compared to the front, though still bold in comparison to the classic dials. But the purpose of such a “tribute” is entirely about the mechanics and their place within such an iconic shape.
The Reverso is, undoubtedly, an Art Deco masterpiece that is so successful it remains the defining watch of an entire brand a century later. No matter what Jaeger-LeCoultre does in the future, it will live in the shadow of the Reverso. The only thing that comes close is the Atmos clock.
So it stands that if Jaeger-LeCoultre wants to make a statement about an important milestone, it should be housed within a Reverso.
The Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater took everything necessary from the classic Reverso and hollowed out a spot to highlight its mechanical chops with revised Caliber 944A. This movement is more of a combination of two movements placed back-to-back with the rear, base movement driving the counting for the minute repeater and the second time display on the front.
The minute repeater mechanism, on full display up front, houses all the components to make the repeater work including the centrifugal regulator, mainspring, and all the counting wheels. At the top of the dial we find the trebuchet hammers, a patented mechanism allowing the hammers to strike the gongs as quickly and as powerfully as possible while also ensuring they spring back after the strike for a crisp and clean note.
In a movement that already has so much to entertain you visually, especially when it is chiming, the trebuchet hammers add another layer, showcasing why JLC makes such incredible timepieces and why it enjoys a legacy as “the watchmaker’s watchmaker.”
This watch may not be as flashy as some of the Duomètre or Hybris Mechanica pieces, but it is a pure tribute to two major parts of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s history. It precisely captures what is great about the brand and shows those perhaps unfamiliar with it exactly what they need to see to know why Jaeger-LeCoultre is the brand to love.
This watch is limited to ten pieces (and is well outside of my price range), but having had the opportunity to spend time with it, even for a little while, was more than enough for me to count my lucky stars!
Speaking of stars, let’s break this down like a supernova!
- Wowza Factor * 9.4 A Reverso with a minute repeater is already an impressive piece but add to that completely visible mechanics on both sides and wowza is just the beginning!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 94» 921.825m/s2 It is always a late night with a Jaeger-LeCoultre, and this watch is more than the typical JLC!
- M.G.R. * 68.8 I will always respect the might minute repeater, and making it in a rectangular form adds a layer of complexity when it comes to the gongs, so this one stands very tall!
- Added-Functionitis * Moderate I’ll say this carefully: the Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater is incredible yet still only has one added function, the minute repeater mechanism. But it is so complicated that I had to bump it up from “Mild” to “Moderate” just so that I can sleep at night. Still, you should grab some regular-strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream to enjoy the melodic masterpiece!
- Ouch Outline * 10.4 The pain of watching your team lose game 5 of the World Series at home! Growing up in Minnesota I learned early that rooting for your favorite sports team often ends in heartbreak. I took a decade and a half off and only this year started rooting for my new hometown team and attending games. Then “my” team made it to the World Series and had a chance to win at home on Halloween – while I was standing outside in costume cheering them on. But they blew it. Feeling that ache of disappointment reminded me why I stopped watching professional sports, but since the Atlanta Braves ended up winning two days later, I was able to finally move on and embrace the uncertainty. But I certainly would do it again if it meant getting the Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Look at those hammers! It is hard not to immediately fall head over heels for trebuchet repeater hammers, and Jaeger-LeCoultre makes some pretty amazing ones. All it took was one look and I was calling hotels looking for reception halls!
- Awesome Total * 792.05 Start with the size of the case (51.1 mm) and multiply by its width in millimeters (31), then divide by the number of faces the Reverso has (2) for a substantially mechanical awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/us/en/chronicles/new-reverso-tribute-minute-repeater.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Minute Repeater
Case: 51.1 x 31 x 11.41 mm, 18k pink gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber 944A with dual face and minute repeater, 35-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes (front); hours, minutes (rear); minute repeater
Limitation: 10 pieces