Creativity Meets Artistry in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon

The Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre needs no introduction in the world of high horology. Initially created in 1931 to withstand the tough challenges of the polo sport, this art-deco inspired rectangular timepiece has charmed enthusiasts ever since, with various functions displayed on the rear side thanks to the ingenuity of its swiveling case.

Since 2022, the case back has also served as a canvas for rare craftsmanship in the Chinese Zodiac series produced in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Métiers Rares atelier. As the name suggests, the master enamelers and engravers at work employ rare and intricate craftsmanship that not only requires exceptional talent and expertise but it also time-consuming. The latest edition to this custom-made collection available only on order is the Reverso Tribute Enamel ‘Dragon’, honoring the Chinese Year of the Dragon, starting on 10th February 2024.

When the watch case is swiveled to its reverse side, a majestic dragon surrounded by golden clouds is revealed. Engraved into the pink gold case metal, the mystic creature appears to leap out from the glossy black Grand Feu enamel background. The polished surfaces of the dragon’s body, the intricacies of its scales highlighted with black rhodium, and the contrasting sandblasted texture of the clouds catch and refract light, creating an illusion of movement and power.

To enhance the sense of volume and depth, the master engravers employ modeled engraving, a precise technique demanding intense focus and exceptional dexterity, as they don’t start with a bare metal surface but with one already coated in Grand Feu enamel, requiring unprecedented accuracy to avoid damaging the pristine enamel. Using ten differently sized chisels to sculpt the metal step by step, the master engraver dedicated 80 hours to create this masterpiece.

While the rear side fascinates with the wealth of details, the black dial, also made of Grand Feu enamel, showcases the elegant understatement typical of the Reverso Tribute. It is adorned with faceted appliqué hour-markers, a chemin de fer minutes track, and Dauphine hands.

However, despite the apparent simplicity, achieving the depth and richness of the black enamel is also a complex process. Five or six layers of enamel, each followed by firing and cooling, are required, totaling 24 working hours (16 for the case-back and eight for the dial) over several days in the brand’s enamel workshop. Half a day of polishing follows to achieve a flawless, uniform shine.

The movement powering this exceptional timepiece is the manually wound caliber 822. Entirely designed, produced and assembled in-house, it adopts the rectangular form to perfectly fit in the Reverso case.

To learn more, visit Jaeger-LeCoultre, here.

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