Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates the 85th Anniversary of its iconic Reverso model in 2016, and the Swiss brand has launched a plethora of new Reverso watches at this year’s SIHH watch salon in Geneva to mark the milestone (click here for some of the models that have already been presented). By far the most technically masterful is the piece I just saw today, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, a platinum cased, open-dialed, micromechanical marvel limited to 75 pieces.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has drawn upon the full force of its watchmaking expertise in creating the all-new movement for the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, which is equipped with a new version of JLC’s now-famous bi-axial flying tourbillon device (click here for an in-depth look at how it’s made and how it works) and yet is 30 percent thinner in terms of both width and thickness than previous gyrotourbillon calibers.
The watch, which is part of JLC’s Hybris Mechanica collection of ultra-complex timepieces, contains the manually-wound Caliber 179, whose rotating gyrotourbillon appears to be floating in midair beneath the dial but is actually controlled by an external driving mechanism. Pared down to their slimmest possible form, the two carriages of tourbillon perform an external rotation in one minute and an internal rotation in 12.6 seconds, this offering a view of the watch’s balance spring (like the entirety of the movement, hand crafted at the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture in Le Sentier). This delicate and exclusive balance spring, with its hemispherical shape, requires an immense amount of technical mastery to produce. It works in concert with the proprietary Gyrolab balance wheel, shaped like Jaeger-LeCoultre’s anchor logo and distinguished by a non-circular configuration that considerably reduces air friction.
The front dial of the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon features a finely grained, white, round dial with blued steel Dauphine hands, with a day/night indicator at 11 o’clock and an unconventional seconds display, indicated by means of a small blue arrow on a graduated disk rotating at the cadence of the Gyrotourbillon. A hand-crafted sunburst guilloché pattern adds a layer of classical watchmaking refinement.
Swivelling the case to the second dial reveals the entirely openworked movement, with hand-decorated bridges that represented an exceptional challenge for JLC’s horological artisans due to the sheer slenderness of the movement. The dual-time display and the Gyrotourbillon are front and center of the openworked movement, along with a day/night indicator, in 24-hour mode, at 2 o’clock and a small seconds hand driven by the tourbillon.
The watch’s cradle, gently curved to follow the shape of the wrist, is adorned with a sunburst guilloché motif that leaves a small round, smoothly polished surface just below the position of the Gyortourbillon, enabling a full view of it when the case is fitted inside its cradle.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon is the ultimate expression of the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute collection, which emphasizes high watchmaking, while the Reverso Classic focuses on simpler complications and the Reverso One, an all-new ladies’ line, features much smaller case sizes and the influence of historical ladies’ models. Stay tuned to WatchTime.com for more from the Reverso 85th anniversary collections, and check out our Facebook page for a video on the birth of the Reverso.