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The Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre's most distinctive watch, certainly has an impressive pedigree. Essentially one of the very first sports watches, the Reverso combined utility with a sleek and elegant Art Deco exterior that has become an icon of design and horology.
In the case of the Reverso, looks deceive. Though it 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 he made a watch 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 miniatures.
But with changing tastes in the 1970s--for round watches as well as quartz movements--Jaeger-LeCoultre ceased production of the Reverso. The model lay dormant for twenty years, until its triumphant re-issue in 1982. While those watches contained quartz movements, their success represented a future for the Reverso.
Jaeger-LeCoultre released the Reverso Grande Taille in 1991. While retaining the classic silhouette of the original 1931 Reverso--with its Art Deco striping on the front--the Grande Taille increased the case size slightly to suit modern tastes. The dial is still crisp, clean, and uncluttered, with large, legible numerals and a rectangular sub-seconds dial at 6 o'clock.
They updated the movement as well, to the manual-wound caliber 822. A 124-piece caliber that belies its thin, 2.94mm height, the caliber 822 has a power reserve of 45 hours. We think those polo players of the 1930s, who inspired the creation of the Reverso, would be proud.
This combination of new innovations and a time-honored appearance makes the Reverso Grande Taille hard to deny. Even Bruce Wayne wore one in Batman Begins. If the Dark Knight wears one when he isn't saving Gotham, then imagine how amazing it would look on your wrist.
18k Solid Yellow Gold case is approximately 26mm wide (excluding crown) and 42mm lug to lug. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reference 270.162. Calibre 862 Manually-Winding Movement. Circa 2005
Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent, like-new condition with no major signs of use or wear. 18k solid yellow gold case is in superb condition with a few very light wear marks visible. White satin dial with Arabic numerals is in stunning original condition. The blued-steel Bâton hands are likewise in excellent condition. JLC-signed crown.
Includes one 18mm brown crocodile-style leather strap with matching gold buckle.