To mark its 185th anniversary back in 2018, Jaeger-LeCoultre had presented a gorgeous timepiece fit for the occasion. It had to be a Reverso of course, and this one brought together the flying tourbillon with the signature Duoface concept. This combination of technical complications is a match made in heaven as it allows one to fully appreciate the flying tourbillon on both sides.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface
The creation of such a piece was not by chance as it clearly contained the essence of two previous Jaeger-LeCoultre masterpieces: the Hybris Mechanica 11 and the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon. Here, we bring you the low-down and our thoughts on the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface, a celebratory timepiece that represents the culmination of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmaking know-how.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
Fitting for an anniversary timepiece, the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface is crafted in the noblest of metals: platinum. Lug to lug, the watch measures 45.5 mm, with a width of 27.4 mm. In spite of its mechanical complexity and the additional cradle for the watch head, the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface manages to retain a thin profile of just 9.15 mm. Much like every other Reverso since inception, the case of the Tribute Tourbillon Duoface is reversible thanks to its trademark swiveling mechanism. The triple horizontal gadroons that adorn the top and bottom ends of the case are yet another signature design element of a Reverso case.
Being a Duoface model, the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface has two dials – one at the front, one at the back. The front dial, blue and sunrayed, is designed for elegance. It is also fitted with silvered hand-applied hour markers and dauphine-style hour and minute hands. On the opposite end, Jaeger-LeCoultre has opted for a raw industrial look. Here, the dial has been openworked to reveal the beautiful movement that powers the watch. Only a small portion of the dial remains to serve as a backdrop for the dauphine hands and hour markers. Its grainy surface texture contrasts spectacularly against the shiny, metallic surface of the movement behind.
Driving the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface is the in-house Calibre 847. The manually wound movement has a shorter-than-average power reserve of 38 hours, which is understandable given the presence of a power-hungry tourbillon and the small mainspring barrel of the movement. There are also other complications that contribute (to a lesser extent) to the short-ish power reserve, namely the second time zone and the day/night indicators, both of which can be found on the back dial.
The main attraction of the Calibre 847 is, naturally, the flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position. The flying tourbillon is reminiscent of that from the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (also known as the Hybris Mechanica 11), then the world’s thinnest minute repeater. The tourbillon also doubles as a seconds indicator (on the flip side) as it is fitted with a seconds scale that makes a full rotation every minute.
The finissage afforded to the Calibre 847 is excellent and can be appreciated through the openworked dial at the back. The top surface of the bridges is decorated with hypnotic sunray Côtes De Genève that emanates from the centre of the tourbillon. The edges are visibly beveled and polished, with numerous rounded angles and a handful outward angles to add. The screws are either flame-blued or polished to a sheen. The part of the bridge immediately above the mainspring barrel has also been skeletonised to form the brand’s ‘JL’ logo.
The Competitive Landscape
It’s not everyday that you’ll see a swiveling rectangular watch, let alone one with a tourbillon. With round watches still the dominating force in the market, this makes the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface all the more unique. Perhaps the most underrated aspect of the anniversary piece is how wearable it is, in spite of its double-stuffed nature. Apart from celebrating the 185th birthday of the brand, the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface is also a toast to both Jaeger-LeCoultre’s rich Reverso legacy, as well as its watchmaking prowess that made such a minimalist tourbillon a reality. As one might expect, such excellence does not come cheap; the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface – limited edition of 50 pieces only – is priced at SGD183,000.
The Lang & Heyne Anton is (arguably) the most ornate rectangular tourbillon watch in the market that you’ve never heard of. Still considered a niche fine watchmaking brand, Lang & Heyne watches are hand-finished to a painstakingly detailed extent – the Anton is no exception. The watch features the brand’s signature triple lugs, a grand feu enamel dial, a flying tourbillon with a lyra-shaped cage, and an art deco-inspired dial design. The Calibre IX that drives the watch has a unique architecture that utilises cocks (in place of bridges), and can be partially seen through the case back. Needless to say, the finissage on the entirety of the watch is exemplary. Price at around EUR86,100 (year 2018) for the rose gold model, the Anton is priced considerably less than the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface and is a must-consider for fiends of high craftsmanship.
Speaking of high craftsmanship, the ultra-opulent A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is the latest rectangular tourbillon watch to join the fray. Limited to only 30 pieces, the watch boasts transcendent levels of finishing and decoration – true to its ‘Handwerkskunst’ designation. The dial of this new Cabaret Tourbillon is entirely made of gold, with the center portion expertly hand-engraved with a geometric, diamond motif. The border that wraps around the motif is decorated with tremblage, created by hammering the surface to form intricate indentations. As if that wasn’t enough, the entire section with the diamond motif is covered with translucent enamel. The movement, visible through the sapphire crystal case back, is just as impressive. In addition to the standard Lange treatment, the three quarter plate is specially frosted here, with the same hand-engraved diamond motif found adorning two cocks that secure the tourbillon and intermediate wheel, respectively. Its technical specifications are no joke either: 120 hours power reserve, grand date, power reserve indicator, and a stoppable tourbillon, to name a few highlights. Unsurprisingly, this 2021 platinum limited edition timepiece has an eye-watering price tag: EUR315,200, to be exact.
In a world where round watches are the norm and the tourbillon is an occasional treat, the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface stands out as rather special. It might not have the largest, shiniest tourbillon, but it is one of few examples out there that allow the tourbillon to be appreciated both front and back whilst the watch is worn on the wrist – a tourbillon aficionado’s dream come true. The pricing of the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface may be steeper than what most are used to from Jaeger-LeCoultre, but given that this is simultaneously a tribute piece, a limited edition piece, and a platinum tourbillon piece – all factors that inflate pricing – it is perhaps to be expected.
The photographs of the JLC Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface were taken at the JLC Boutique in Marina Bay Sands. The watch was offered for the photoshoot with protective stickers in place, as can be seen in the photographs, and we were asked not to remove them. As usual, this set was shot with our Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 and HC 2.8/80 with H26 Extension Tube on Profoto strobes.