One of the industry’s most iconic timepieces is the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. A watch initially designed as a sports watch, to be worn on the wrist of elite polo players, has firmly stated its position as one of the most desirable dress pieces.
But how does a sports watch become a dress watch? Does a modern reference still have sporty elements to it? How does a Reverso fit into everyday life? And does it live up to the hype? These are all questions we can now answer after spending a month with the JLC Reverso mid-size.
This is Time Will Tell: The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Duoface Midsize.
Let’s wind back our watches first, to 1931…
This story begins with a Swiss businessman, César de Trey, an avid polo player, whose watch was broken during a game of polo. He was challenged to create a watch that would withstand the bumps and bruises of a polo watch.
César approached Jacques-David LeCoultre who subsequently partnered with Jaeger S.A to create this reversible case.
The premise was, and still remains, that the watch can be flipped to hide the dial and protect the watch during certain activities.
Of course, as horology and the brand have grown, the Reverso has changed and now we see the Duoface, which houses two separate dials so you can change your watch dependent on your mood, your outfit, or the time of day without it leaving your wrist.
As trends change, we see the Reverso becoming less of a sports watch and more of a dress watch. It’s hard to think that, in today’s landscape, the Reverso was ever a sporty watch. But after a month on the wrist, how does a Reverso fit into everyday life?
Reverso Duoface Mid-size: General Impressions
Image Credit: Fratello Watches
When I first looked at this watch, I knew that I would enjoy wearing it, but I always had an inkling that its dressier design might hold it back in more casual settings.
However, I was genuinely surprised by the versatility. In the summer I’ve always been a fan of stainless steel and leather watches. I find with an oxford button-down and shorts, leather straps go well, and the Reverso was no exception.
The ability to switch dials, which still sounds like a crazy thing to me, was apt when I changed into evening clothes for drinks or dinner.
So not only was the overall watch more versatile than first imagined, it had the additional level of versatility being a Duoface, which I liked.
I also felt as though I walked a foot higher. I’ve worn some special watches, but wearing the Reverso makes you feel as though you should be at one of Gatsby’s parties or heading for dinner at the Ritz. It’s a unique sensation, that’s for sure. But how did the Reverso wear? What was the quality like and is it worth the almost £9,000 price tag?
Wearability and Visual Appeal
Let’s start with visual appeal. I’m going to say this straight away, the Reverso is one of, if not my favourite watch visually.
I’m a huge admirer of art deco watches and this is undoubtedly one of the most refined-looking and iconic designs. I think that the guilloche section of the dial adds to the dressier appeal and draws the eye to the centre of the dial.
You can easily see the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into producing one of these watches. The sub-dial, if I’m being picky isn’t the most legible that I’ve seen and against the guilloche section does get a little lost at times, particularly if you’re glancing quickly.
Value for Money and Quality
Jaeger LeCoultre is recognised for its exceptional quality and attention to detail and I’m glad to report that the Duoface Reverso was no exception.
At almost £9,000 you really are getting a lot of value for money. But this is by no means an affordable watch. What can be said is that this is a watch which, in build quality and finishing, compares to a Patek Philippe Calatrava or an A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia, which of course shows that there is real value for money here.
Tech and Specs
Image Credit: Watches of Switzerland
This JLC is a manual-wind which suits this watch well. The ability to rotate the case makes this watch tactile and the fact you have to wind the watch regularly adds to the bond I ended up feeling with the watch.
It may sound peculiar, but when you wear a watch every single day you grow an attachment to it, and this is only more so the case when you are winding it almost daily. In terms of the proportions, I found the mid-size really suited my almost 7-inch wrist.
It’s 42mm end to end which means that it’s by no means small, but also isn’t intrusive and sits very well under a cuffed shirt or sweater.
I think that there are many options when it comes to the strap and a light brown or tan strap could probably accent the white dial quite well, but I did enjoy the black croc leather strap.
Overall, the JLC Reverso Duoface is a fantastically versatile and endlessly refined timepiece. I was surprised by how good the JLC looked in more relaxed settings, with shorts and trainers for example.
Where the Reverso really comes to life is in more formal attire. This is one of the best possible dress watches. If you’re in the market for a dress watch then look no further. Equally, if you’re looking for a watch that you could wear to work but then also wear over the weekends, this could be a good option.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending a month wearing the Reverso and can share with you that I think this is one of my favourite all-time watches. As I’m a vintage man, I’d definitely consider finding an earlier model, but if you’re looking for reliability and top-quality finishing then the Reverso Duoface mid-size is the perfect addition to most collections.