The two faces of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface TourbillonBorna Bošnjak
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is a lot of things. First, it was a sports watch. Then, over the years, and owing to its wonderful Art Deco shape, it became a dress watch icon. These days, it also serves as a canvas for some of the watchmaker’s watchmaker’s most elaborate complications. The Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon occupies the latter two categories, as it combines an effortlessly elegant pink gold case with a flying tourbillon calibre.
This isn’t the first time the Reverso is fitted with the Calibre 847 – that honour went to the 2018 Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Platinum, a limited edition of 50 pieces. Introduced alongside the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds and well-received Reverso Tribute Chronograph, the new pink gold Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon is not limited in production and sports an even more compact case than its predecessor (more on which shortly), continuing the slimming-down trend.
Let’s start with the movement. Despite the Calibre 847 being a flying tourbillon with an independently adjustable second time zone hour hand and day/night indicator, it’s far from the most complicated movement that’s been put in a Reverso. Nevertheless, it’s still well-executed, though most of it is hidden beneath a solid dial on the front, and a hand-engraved guilloché on the reverse side. It’s a manually wound movement with a 38-hour power reserve beating at 21,600vph. On paper, the specs aren’t that impressive, but there’s more here than meets the eye. For starters, the entire movement is a mere 3.9mm in height thanks to a patented S-shaped balance spring that attaches to the centre of the tourbillon mechanism and the balance wheel, whereas it’s usually attached to the tourbillon cage itself. That’s because the entire assembly has been reworked, and there’s no traditional tourbillon cage to speak of, as it’s been replaced by a ball-bearing system that rotates the centre-affixed balance.
These refinements result in a case that is a mere 9.15mm in height, which is already under the magical 10mm mark many dressy watches aspire to achieve. When put in context, however, it becomes astounding. Remember, this is a Reverso, which means a two-part construction with a rotating case connected to a cradle. Then, there’s the Duoface design, meaning that there are two dials, each capable of showing an individual time zone and with a sapphire crystal on top. The rest of the dimensions are just as fitting of the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon’s classy intentions, with a 27.4mm width and a lug-to-lug of 45.5mm. Water resistance is negligible at just 30 metres, but if a watch to go swimming with is your concern, you’re already looking in the wrong place, though, I admit, there would be something inexplicably cool about going for a dip in your six-figure, solid-gold Reverso.
And how about those two dials? The “main” one is classic Reverso and mostly unassuming. A silver champagne with a rich sunburst pattern that emanates from the pinion matches the elongated arrow indices and dauphine hands wonderfully, only interrupted by an oversized tourbillon aperture that takes up most of the lower portion of the dial. For me, however, it’s the reverse face that’s most interesting. Not only does it stylistically match the complicated nature of the Reverso Tourbillon, but it also sports a stunning hobnail guilloché plate that surrounds the dial and tourbillon assembly. The skeletonised elements above the dial combine wonderfully with the hand-bevelled tourbillon bridge, and even the tiny day/night indicator in the upper right corner has a detailed starry sky design. The most complex of these elements are courtesy of JLC’s Métiers Rares workshop, the place where all of the finest in-house decoration is performed, from rose engine engraving to hand-painted enamel miniatures.
The Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon is the watch I think best represents what JLC are today. Never flashy or hype-chasing, but refined and proper, with a sprinkling of spicy complication here and there. My main gripe with the Reverso has always been the height, especially so with any Duoface or Duetto. That’s pretty much been completely rectified with newer Reverso models, and the Tribute Duoface Tourbillon is the pinnacle of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s recent efforts. With the storming release of the slimmer Tribute-branded models, I feel like I’m running out of excuses for not having a Reverso in my collection. Granted, I’m not likely to be adding the Tourbillon model anytime soon – but oh man – if only.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon pricing and availability
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon is available now. Price: US$139,000
|Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon
|27.4mm (W) x 9.15mm (T) x 45.4mm (LTL)
|18k pink gold
|Sapphire crystal on both sides
|Silver sunburst front, black sunburst reverse, handmade guilloché
|Black alligator, 18k pink gold folding buckle
|JLC Calibre 847, in-house, manual winding
|Hours, minutes (front)
Jumping hours, minutes, day/night indicator (reverse)