Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 Rouge
I get nervous every time a legendary design is re-issued. This is so much room to royally fuck up a classic watch when the proper amount of care is not given. Tag, I’m looking at you. There is one exception, however. There is one manufacture that has proven themselves time and time again to know exactly how to modernize a design without losing its charisma. You may have guessed, that marque is Jaeger Lecoultre. In 2013, JLC released a tribute to the original 1931 Reverso design. Much like the Porsche 911, the Reverso has steadily evolved over the years, maintaining a clear design DNA throughout. One would only really notice the changes when comparing a modern reference side-by-side to the original. What we have here is an unaltered classic design with modern manufacturing techniques and proportion; a long hood 1965 911 made by the new GT deparment guys also doing 918 development.
You all know the Reverso story: polo players in the 1930s needed to protect their watch faces and so Lecoultre created a case with a swappable rotating mechanism. This tale is almost certainly apocryphal marketing, but it’s a nice story nonetheless. The model has grown and evolved through the decades into technical masterpieces like the Gyrotourbillon and Hybris Mechanica 185. Impressive as those are, there is no denying the allure of the original simple, time-only variant. Collectors have all but entirely dried up the market for original early Reversos. Finding any example that isn’t abused is a nearly impossible task without serious connections.
In updating the classic, there were a few tweaks. The case is overall a few mil larger and a few mil thinner. The ultra-thin title is well-deserved and only possible through modern movement engineering. What remains is the general art-deco styling of the 1930s. The thin luminous indices are flattered by streamliner-style banded betal across the top and bottom. The only miss, in my opion, is the fixed steel back. I get it; the solid back is a nod to the real 1931 polo story. But the caliber 822 deserves to be admired. Surely they could have engineered a sapphire with modern techniques thick enough to survive a polo strike. That aside, this is a perfect dress watch. Just ask the real Batman.
This piece is a special edition and not a limited release, the terminology can be a bit convoluded. That said, the model is no longer in production. This example is nearly new. It still wears its original protection stickers with no noticable wear. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 1931 Ultra Thin Reverso here from Mr. Watchley for 13850 EUR.