Art market Magazine January 2017

 
LIFESTYLE 
 
Reverso watch, a real success story…
LIFESTYLE

Reverso watch, a real success story

a

t the age of 85, this pure product of 1930s Swiss watchmaking is right up among the top 10 great classics, just behind
the Omega Speedmaster and ahead of the Rolex Submariner. JaegerLeCoultre's flagship watch represents 23% in volume of the brand's pieces sold at auction, with an average price that has risen 45% in ten years.

Born in a polo field
Like all success stories, the Reverso arose from the meeting of a man and a project. This one began in India in 1931, when a watch distributor from Lausanne attended a polo tournament. The British officers were playing a match, and one of them broke his watch crystal. César de Trey took note, and then combined the visionary skills of two major names in watchmaking and engineering, calling on JacquesDavid LeCoultre to design the movement, and René-

Alfred Chauvot for the case. Two months later, on 4 May 1931, the patent was filed in Paris. It was based on a slide and flip system that enabled the face to perform a remarkable 180° turn. It was an unbeatable recipe, with the "heads" side featuring a dial, and the "tails" side a flat, smooth steel surface – with an imperceptible "click" to boot, which became one of the most "in" sound signatures of watchmaking. Now it just needed to be made. And 5,000 pieces were produced in 1931 alone! A record given the complexity of its production, which required countless machining operations. Totally original, and more solid and robust than most watches available on the market, it was a roaring success with young trendsetters of the time.

On all fronts
Its status as a sports watch ensured it a high-flying male clientele, found on tennis courts, in the sky and

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© Jaeger-LeCoultre

Reverso watch personalised with initials, during engraving at the Jaeger-LeCoultre factory.

Art Market Magazine January 2017
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