World of Watches (Singapore) - - Features -


n an in­dus­try where most watch brands source their move­ments from other com­pa­nies, Jaeger-lecoul­tre is the tech­ni­cal su­per­power with more move­ments than we’ve got fin­gers to count them (more than a thou­sand dif­fer­ent cal­i­bres, in its 180-year his­tory, with hun­dreds of patents shep­herd­ing the evo­lu­tion of me­chan­i­cal watch­mak­ing), and dis­tin­guished names on its client list in­clude the likes of Patek Philippe, Vacheron Con­stantin, Aude­mars Piguet, and Cartier. Jaeger-lecoul­tre to­day boasts a most ex­pan­sive cat­a­logue that show­cases its deep ex­per­tise in di­verse dis­ci­plines, cov­er­ing high com­pli­ca­tions, ar­ti­san craft, and gem-set­ting. Of these, its most iconic watch is the Re­verso; and even here, this ven­er­a­ble model ex­ists in count­less it­er­a­tions, from pe­tite quartz mod­els for ladies, to high com­pli­ca­tion mod­els with per­pet­ual cal­en­dars, triple dial faces, re­peaters, and multi-axis tour­bil­lons spin­ning in cage within cage. Do we pick the move­ment one ought to know by draw­ing move­ment num­bers out of a fish bowl? No. If we have to choose, we’d pick the Cal­i­bre 854/1.

The orig­i­nal Re­verso was cre­ated in 1931 in an­swer to com­plaints by Bri­tish army of­fi­cers sta­tioned in In­dia over hav­ing their pre­cious wrist­watches smashed dur­ing en­er­getic games of polo. With the Re­verso, sim­ply flip­ping the case over pro­tected the frag­ile crys­tal and watch dial, while the metal case back that now faced the out­side could be en­graved with unit in­signias or lov­ing words. Out­side the polo ex­pe­ri­ence how­ever, we think it more prac­ti­cal to have a se­cond dial in place of bare steel, track­ing a se­cond time zone.

En­ter the Re­verso Duo­face of 1994, re­freshed in re­cent years with an ul­tra-thin and spe­cial edi­tion blue dial ver­sions, dis­play­ing time on each of its two sides. The GMT func­tion is among the most prac­ti­cal of com­pli­ca­tions in this global vil­lage cen­tury, and while ev­ery other GMT watch in the busi­ness shows home time ei­ther via pointer, or win­dow on one dial, the Re­verso is alone in spac­ing this out over two. It may not be as ef­fi­cient as check­ing dual time zones in a sin­gle glance, but the clar­ity can’t be beat. And be­cause the Duo­face sports con­trast­ing di­als, e.g. sil­vered dial and black on the re­verse, it is es­sen­tially two watches in one, able to match near a com­plete range of dress codes and oc­ca­sions. All this is made pos­si­ble with the hand-wound 854/1, a sin­gle move­ment driv­ing two time dis­plays. Time can be set nor­mally by pulling the crown, or when pass­ing time zones, the hour hand in the se­cond dis­play can be ad­vanced in one-hour jumps by push­ing the flat pusher on the case side.

Hand-wound move­ment beat­ing at 3Hz, with dual time zone and 45-hour power re­serve Di­men­sions: 3.8mm thick Num­ber of parts: 180

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