Like brake horsepower figures, replica watch brand anniversaries can attract a sort of unthinking, Pavlovian wonder. A number ending in a nice big zero – 10, 50, 100 years! – often delivers the illusion of significance without ever facing any real scrutiny. Anniversaries are sometimes, therefore, little more than marketing fast food – and they can get in the way of a good story (or, indeed, cover up a bad one).
What then to make of the 90th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s lynchpin Reverso, which rolls into town next year, no doubt with as much fanfare as Covid allows? The rectangular art deco flippable luxury Jaeger-LeCoultre replica watch has been with us since 1931, created in response, as the romantic telling has it, to the whinnying of polo-playing British officers of the Raj who sought a watch they could wear during a chukka without fear of it getting smashed. Despite the passing of nine decades, the Reverso is still a modern classic, a watch wardrobe staple that is unequivocally one of the greatest ever made.
To mark it, Jaeger-LeCoultre will be releasing a number of new models, the first of which has just been announced, the 190-piece limited edition pink gold and burgundy-red Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano. And a lovely thing, it is, too.
The bare bones are familiar. Front-side up, it shows the time via Dauphine hour and minute hands, a small seconds and sword-tipped baton hour markers, all set against that sumptuous burgundy-shaded lacquer backdrop.
The B side has a second time zone with a 24-hour day/night indicator, this time with a hobnail “Clous De Paris” guilloché finish. Either way up, it’s a handsome thing, those Rubenesque fall-away case edges, triple-stacked grooves and balanced proportions giving familiar texture to the watch’s overall form. The mix of colours and materials is, frankly, gorgeous.
But what makes this watch interesting is neither its case, nor its dial, nor its movement, nor even its functionality. What catches the observant eye is that, for the strap, Jaeger-LeCoultre has gone for a cordovan leather and cotton canvas blend. Yes, you read that right. A Reverso with a part-canvas strap.
Of course, it’s not just any old army tent canvas. It’s crafted by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s long-time collaborator Casa Fagliano, the Argentine workshop known for its riding and polo boots, which provided the strap for the 80th anniversary of the Reverso Tribute model, too. We’re told each strap takes six hours to cut and stitch.
But it is still canvas, a distinct, deliberate choice and one that points to the softer, more casual approach to luxury we’ve been seeing from some of the more mainstream players in watch land. Even before this year’s pandemic-induced WFH chic became a thing, those brands were chipping away at the fusty veneer that still coats some quarters of the Swiss watch industry like a dozen coats of Ronseal. But it’s not something we had seen from the so-called grandes dames of Swiss watchmaking, where we find Swiss movement replica Jaeger-LeCoultre.
A part-canvas strap might appear small beer, but for a venerated brand such as aaa quality copy Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, it’s much more significant. Pushed on the matter at the virtual press launch, the company’s chief executive Catherine Rénier described the choice of canvas as “modern” and “versatile”, which is true. And given the eternally modern feel of the Reverso’s art deco form, it’s a natural complement, too. But it feels like more than that. And it feels good. More of the same please, Jaeger-LeCoultre.