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The Reverso is, in essence, one of the very first sports wristwatches, despite its refined and elegant appearance. The Reverso combined utility with a sleek Art Deco exterior that has become an icon of horological design. But in the case of the Reverso, looks deceive (Get it?).
Though the Reverso appears at first glance a dress watch, it owes its existence to the gentlemanly sport of polo. While touring India in the early 1930s, Swiss businessman César de Trey met a British polo player who'd just cracked the crystal of his watch on the field. De Trey returned to Switzerland with an idea already taken root in his head, which he then discussed with Jacques-David LeCoultre: What if a watch could be made with a case that could reverse?
The reversible case, masterminded by designer Alfed Chauvot, was Jaeger-LeCoultre's solution to the problems polo players faced on the field. Once reversed, the delicate components of the case were protected from the shocks sustained while on horseback. No more would polo players crack the crystals or damage the dials of their watches.
Chauvot placed a patent for the Reverso in March 1931. The first Reverso measured 38mm in length, 24 in width. Jaeger-LeCoultre also released the Reverso in gold, and decorated the case back with engravings or even miniature portraits.
We've carried modern Reversos before, and gladly. But when a vintage Reverso crosses our paths, it's hard to resist. Especially because they're so infrequently seen on the vintage market--if you're so fortunate to find one, then you cherish it.
No two vintage Reversos are alike, given the propensity of their owners to customize the case backs. This particular Reverso bears the initials of the first owner in a bold Art Deco font--H.U. On a Jean Rousseau strap, it looks every bit the part of a proper iconic dress watch, deserving to be worn for many years to come.
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mmX24mm. Jaeger-LeCoultre Manually-Wound Movement. Circa 1930s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition overall, with minor signs of use and wear consistent with age. Dial is in very good condition with fine even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour makers and hands. Unsigned crown. Case back bears engraving "H.U."
Includes one 17mm dark brown leather Jean Rousseau strap with Jean Rousseau signed buckle.