***The Intriguing History of the Reverso - by Tyler
What is a Reverso? In a nutshell, it's a watch made by Jaeger-LeCoultre that can be flipped around so that the dial is facing downwards. As the story goes, the purpose of this was to protect the glass while polo players stormed across the field, but it has since taken on an entirely different function.
Along with the Cartier Tank and Rolex Prince, it’s my favourite piece of all (notice any similarities?). I won’t delve into my reasoning; I’ve done enough preaching on the topic lately but I’ll suffice it to say that it’s a watch with one of the most iconic designs ever and a rich history few other pieces can match. And though I spend countless hours researching it, I’m constantly coming across interesting facts that turn what I thought I knew on its head, and this week I discovered something very interesting indeed.
As it turns out, Jaeger-LeCoultre isn’t the only brand to have made a Reverso. In a recent article by watch news site Le Monde Edmond, a very curious Patek Philippe is highlighted. Save for the words Reverso printed along the dial, it bears all of the characteristics of the Reverso:
Don’t mistake it for a rip-off though (as if Patek would sink so low), it’s a genuine Reverso in both name and appearance. In 1930, Cesar de Trey, a Swiss businessman who was responsible for initiating the discussion of the Reverso and who went on to own the Reverso brand name along with the grandson of the founder of JLC, Jacques Davide Le Coultre, who incidentally also sat on the board of Patek Philippe, decided to license out the Reverso name. But it wasn’t just Patek that made a Reverso, the pair also licensed it to great brands such as Vacheron Constantin and Cartier:
I haven’t been able to find out how many pieces Cartier made, but the fact that I could only find auction listings of them tells me they don’t pop up often. The Patek and Vacheron however, numbering at only 8 and 3 respectively, are true grail pieces. They’re all in private collections and to even see a picture of them is a real privilege. The stuff watch-dreams are made of.
Until next time,