The peace brought about in the interim between WWI and WWII yielded many fruitful inventions. The ballpoint pen, nylon, chocolate chips, and helicopters were all first debuted in the early 30s. For watch addicts, however, one invention stands above the rest: Lecoultre’s original Reverso. First created (this contentious but go with me here) at the request of an English officer in India to protect its face during polo matches, the Reverso was one of the very first modern sport watches. In the intervening decades since its inception, the silhouette has become something of a dress watch staple for those in the know. Elevated beyond its initial brief, the Reverso is today to JLC what the sub is to Rolex. This modern boutique-exclusive Duoface is a modern interpretation of that 1931 Reverso that is as thoughtful and rare as it is beautiful.
Despite being an icon for sartorial elegance today, the Reverso began with sporting roots. British polo-playing officers of the roaring 1920s were finding wristwatch crystals easily shattered (yes, niche market) while off in other countries. They related to this problem to César de Trey at Lecoultre, who designed what is really one of the first true sport watches. The watch portion was cased in a hinged slide, which could be flipped over to protect the face.
This is no longer the case today. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the modern Duoface. This is a modern watch which understands its role in today’s world. No one really needs a steel secondary face to protect a fragile Reverso crystal from a polo swing or cricket bat anymore. But the modern consumer does need to match their watch face to their suit with ease in effortless style. No modern watch can suit that need with similar grace as the Reverso silhouette. Just ask Bruce Wayne or Pierce Brosnan.
This example is a Boutique Exclusive 1931 reissue in navy. The case measures 46.8×27.4mm at a 9mm rise. That is discreet. One face reads in opaline white dial with a guilloché Clous de Paris. The secondary face is a straight 1931 in navy. I would have a Duoface no other way. Its manually-wound 854/1 caliber beats at a leisurely 21600 vph for a 45 hour reserve. This example from 2015 is still in spectacular condition with light, even surface wear across its case and no dial ageing at all. To be clear, this is not a limited edition. However, most boutique only JLCs tend to be produced at numbers that would make them a limited edition from any other Swiss manufacture (excluding Omega). It comes with a full set and two year warranty from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Boutique Duoface Reverso 1931 here from Mr Watchley for 16850 EUR.