Fratello Friday: A Review of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931


Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute to 1931The design for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch dates back to 1931. Finding that polo players of that era were sick and tired of damaged crystals on their timepieces from playing their game, Jaeger-LeCoultre came up with the idea of a reversible watch — one these athletes could flip on their wrists in order to protect the crystal from serious beatings.  Over the decades, the Reverso — which was both introduced and patented in 1931 — developed into the iconic watch it is today.

In 2011, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated the 80th anniversary of its Reverso collection. During SIHH 2011 in Geneva, Jaeger-LeCoultre commemorated this milestone with this Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 model. Jaeger-LeCoultre takes the “ultra-thin” definition quite seriously; the Reverso is only 7.2mm thick. Jaeger-LeCoultre lend us its Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 for a week. This gave me time to get some hands-on experience with this watch. With our previous write-ups on the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 and Reverso Classique on our blog, Fratello Watches, we already had some experience in handling the Reverso.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - reclining

Although I like many Reverso models, I’ll admit I have a particularly weak spot for ultra-thin watches. I find them very elegant, even on fairly large wrists. You don’t always need a large watch, in my humble opinion, even though your wrist might fit one. With modest dimensions of 46 mm in length, 27.5 mm in width and only 7.2 in height, this watch will fit almost anyone. Although 46 mm sounds big, it’s actually a good fit for a normal-sized wrist. The ratio of the Reverso is just perfect, especially with the very slim case.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - up-angle

In my case, this Reverso fits me like a glove. The thin case is so comfortable, especially in combination with the beautiful alligator strap. It is also very easy to reverse the case on your wrist. Just grab the right side of the watch, pull it, slide the left side of the case through the right side, turn the crown side of the watch all the way to the left, and click. A bit difficult to explain in words, but the picture below might help it make sense.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - flipped

It is not easy to define, or even to explain, the “X-Factor” that makes a watch an icon. The Reverso, however, is clearly a watch that has earned its icon status. Together with the Cartier Tank, it is the most recognizable rectangular watch out there. Jaeger-LeCoultre has many variations of the Reverso, including a strong collection for ladies. These variations range from “hours and minutes only,” like this Reverso Tribute to 1931 model, to models with minute repeaters and tourbillons. Although these latter models certainly have the design DNA of the original Reverso, I believe that this ultra-thin Tribute to 1931 model has the best shot at becoming a modern icon. The clean Art Deco style dial, the influences of the original Reverso, and, of course, the thin case make this a Reverso watch that definitely stands out.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - dial CU

As explained above, it is very easy to flip the case of this watch. As you can see on one of the photos above, the part that would be normally considered the inner case back is finished with beautiful perlage. Although the in-house developed movement, Caliber 822, is worth looking at, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to stay close to the original and kept the case closed. The high-polish finish of the case looks wonderful and leaves room for a personal inscription, family crest, or other kind of engraving. The brushed finish on the caseback has a serene appearance, but does feature a few engravings and markings. The Jaeger-LeCoultre logo doesn’t appear on the dial, but is on the caseback, along with a reminder that the watch is a Reverso. The latter is probably an unnecessary addition, but it doesn’t really bother me. As you can see on the photo below, the watch is also water-resistant to 3 bar (30 meters) and was subject to 1,000 hours of control by the watchmakers of Jaeger-LeCoultre. In contrast to COSC’s chronometer testing, which tests uncased movements for accuracy, the Jaeger-LeCoultre “master control” tests the movements in their cases.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - back

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 was on my wrist for one week, and it was very difficult to let it go. It is clearly something different from many other watches out there that are considered icons (Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and even the Cartier Tank). If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am a sucker for iconic watches. This Reverso would blend in perfectly with my modest collection.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931 - flat

It was quite an experience wearing this rectangular beauty from Jaeger-LeCoultre, as it gave me a total different feel than other Reversos I’d tried in the past. The thin case integrates almost seamlessly with the black alligator strap (and stainless steel buckle). The elegant appearance makes this watch a perfect accompaniment for formal occasions, or when wearing a shirt and tie. To be honest, I really had to get used wearing this watch with a casual outfit. You can get away with it, of course, but keep in mind that the alligator strap and high polished, thin case will attract attention if you’re wearing a t-shirt or a polo shirt. The list price is $ 7,800.

One Response to “Fratello Friday: A Review of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931”

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  1. Debashish

    This watch is truly immortal, as it has been ultra-popular with watch lovers since its inception during 1930s.

    Reply
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