Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced its Reverso watch in 1931, meaning that the iconic dual-face timekeeper is celebrating 90 years in production in 2021. During the recent Watches & Wonders exhibitions in Geneva and Shanghai, and in keeping with tradition, the Swiss watchmaker has unveiled (and will likely to continue to unveil throughout the year) a number of special timepieces in commemoration of the milestone. The one that dropped in Shanghai last week, the Reverso Tribute Nonantième, is perhaps the most noteworthy from a historical perspective, as it brings an entirely new complication to the venerable series.
Believe it or not, it took no fewer than 60 years for Jaeger-LeCoultre to add any complications at all to the original, time-only Reverso. The first was the Reverso Soixantième in 1991, which marked the model’s 60th anniversary and displayed the date and a power reserve. Many other complications would follow: a Reverso Tourbillon in 1993, a minute repeater in 1994, a perpetual calendar in 2000, and, to mark the 70th anniversary in 2001, the Reverso Septantième with a then-unprecedented eight-day power reserve. The Reverso collection now encompasses numerous complications, and combinations of functions, but up until this year has never hosted a semi-jumping, digital hour display. The Nonantiéme edition (French for “ninetieth”) brings this functionality to the Reverso’s double dials and rectangular, swiveling case architecture for the first time, combining it with a large date, moon-phase, and day-night indication.
The watch’s rose-gold case measures 49.4 mm by 29.99 mm in dimensions and 11.72 mm thick; like other Reverso Tribute cases it proudly displays its Art Deco-era origins, with the characteristic gadroons and angled curves. The silver sunray-brushed front dial is classically elegant — framed by a rectangular minutes track and applied gold indexes and swept over by gold Dauphine hands. The prominent “Grande Date” appears in a gold-framed double window at 12 o’clock, while a moon-phase bordered by a small seconds subdial balances it out at 6 o’clock.
On the watch’s reverse side is a far more unconventional arrangement, one inspired by early digital-display wristwatches (apparently none of them Reversos) developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre in the 1930s. A figure-eight shaped aperture composed of two differently sized circles dominates the center, encircled by semicircular gadroons that echo the rectilinear ones on the case’s edges. Inside the smaller aperture is the semi-jumping digital hour numeral, which synchronizes with the minutes disk in the larger circle — partially concealed by a blue-lacquered three-quarter plate — to display the time in an eye-catching, non-analog format. Encircled in the center of the blue disk, which is dappled with tiny golden stars to approximate a night sky, are a golden sun and moon passing above a horizon to indicate daytime and nighttime hours.
Jaeger-leCoultre developed an entirely new movement for the Reverso Tribute Nonantième, the manual-winding Caliber 826. Consisting of 230 components, altogether devoted to displaying the time in two formats on both sides of the watch, the latest in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s voluminous library of manufacture calibers holds a power reserve of 42 hours. Limited to 190 pieces, the Reverso Tribute Nonantième is presented on a black alligator leather strap and priced at $41,600.