The curious history of the Reverso
Jacques-David LeCoultre and Edmond Jaeger – both innovative watchmakers – sought out to solve and an everyday problem for watch wearers of their era. During the 1930s, synthetic sapphire watch glass had not yet come into existence and watch crystal glass was doomed to shatter as soon as the wearer engaged in any dynamic activity. A friend of LeCoultre named César De Trey was watching British officers play a polo match while he was on a business trip in India. Trey was simply appalled by the number of broken watch glasses by the end of the match. He was approached by one of the players who held up his watch and challenged him to create a timepiece that could withstand the severities of the sport. Word got back to Jacques-David LeCoultre and consequently sparked the concept of the Reverso.
Entrusted in the design of the Reverso was engineer René-Alfred Chauvot. He created an ingeniously simple system in which the centrepiece of the clock could be rotated 180 degrees and flipped over so that the watch glass could then be protected. The revolutionary was filed with the Patent Office on March 4th, 1931 and soon became a coveted item among the British Army Officers in India. Thanks to its innovative design, the Reverso continued to gain popularity, eventually becoming a huge success. Not surprisingly, other watch manufacturers began to turn to Jaeger-LeCoultre with the request of creating a Reverso on their behalf.
Watch connoisseurs and collectors are still fascinated by the strict yet elegant Art Deco design of the Reverso. Furthermore, they appreciate the history and tradition engrained within the legendary timepiece.