270.2.73 Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Minute Repeater
JLC knowns how to throw a party. And they went really, really hard for the Reverso’s 60th, throughout the whole decade of the nineties in a manner that would seem way too lavish in 2022. But it was the early 90s. Bon Jovi, Sting, Rod Stewart, and Nirvana were charting. OJ was being chased down an LA freeway. Science had just successfully cloned two calves and markets were soaring. The esteemed Grande Maison demonstrated that optimism in a different manner. They gave the Reverso its first-ever minute repeater . . .and so much more.
But the ‘they’ is important here, see CEO Henry-John Belmont, French designer Janek Deleskiewicz, and new recruit (to shake things up) Günter Blümlein wanted to take the Reverso and elevate it considerably. The trio wound up pushing further than, I think, even they could’ve imagined. So began a stream of six limited editions, each in rose gold (this is known as the rose gold Reverso saga), each with their own new movement, and each produced in just 500 examples. First, the ’60ème’ with power reserve and date in 1991, then tourbillon in 93, this minute repeater in 94, retrograde chronograph in 96, Géographique ‘World Time’ Duoface in 98, and perpetual calendar in 2000.
In many regards, this is just JLC showing off. A bit like that A student in class who also wanted you to know they had all the answers. JLC had to muster all their technical ability for this king of complications, the minute repeater. Not only is the movement tiny compared to most repeaters, it was the first ever rectangular repeater. That calibre 943 is comprised of 306 parts, finished and adjusted by hand. The best part though is the reveal in its silver guilloché dial for a spinning gold governor that keeps the strike. When showing off produces art this beautiful, I’m okay with it . . .even if it is a tiny bit quieter than your 5078 for its diminutive case. Isn’t that fragility of voice somewhat romantic?
This example is exactly the kind I would seek out. Its case is not perfect. Light to moderate surface wear, evenly distributed, but with no signs of polishing. This means you can wear it frequently and not worry so much. It’s a full set too. It comes from a well-regarded Shanghai retailer.
Find this 270.2.73 here from Woohoo Time for 50000 USD.