The Reverso Collection of Jaeger LeCoultre watches is one of the more popular wristwatches today. The watch company LeCoultre, founded in 1833, has aimed and achieved superb craftsmanship and precision in all their products. LeCoultre specialized in precise watch movements and was the supplier of movements for famous watchmakers such as Patek Philippe until they decided to craft their own movements.
The company now known as Jaeger- LeCoultre is actually a merger between LeCoultre and Jaeger in 1903. After more than 100 years in the watch business, Jaeger LeCoultre has not wavered in its mission of timepiece excellence. The merger has produced many “firsts” in the word of horology. The ultra-thin calibre was the first of the hundreds of patents of Jaeger -LeCoultre.
César de Trey was a Swiss national who devoted himself into the distribution and sales of high-end Swiss watches. In 1930, he came to British India. He was especially eager to market the Duoplan watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre not only because of its superior quality but also because Jacques-David LeCoultre was a great friend of de Trey.
In the early 1930s, England’s colonies included British India and as was the norm back in those days, the English cavalry officers stationed in British India were keen in playing Polo. The first quarter of the 20th century also saw a rise in the use of wristwatches for men and women. After Polo match, one of the officers came over to de Trey and showed him his watch with its dial’s glass broken. The Polo player encouraged de Trey to meet up the challenge of creating a wristwatch sturdy and rugged enough to withstand a rough game of Polo.
Innovations back in those days tried to meet the challenges of protecting the glass of the dial but were complete failures as the functionality of the watch was sacrificed to a point. César de Trey’s idea was to make a wristwatch with a swivelling case. He left the development of the idea to an engineer named Rene Alfred Chauvot who immediately went to work and applied for a patent in March 1931 for a “ watch able to slide in its cradle and swivel over completely”- in other words, a reversing watch. César de Trey approached his friend Jacques-David LeCoultre and presented him with the idea of a reversible watch.
The Reverso was on its way to becoming one of the top choices for wristwatches but WWII came and curtailed the Reverso from reaching its full commercial possibility. After the war came a myriad of watch innovations that the Reverso was set aside. However it was timely that an Italian watch dealer saw a few pieces of unused Reverso cases inside a Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmaker’s drawer. The Italian watchmaker bought all the cases and made “Reverso” watches in 1972. The watches sold out in a few weeks. By the 1980s Jaeger-LeCoultre pushed to reintroduce the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso due to high demands.
Article from Anthony Charles, content editor at Watch harbour