La Grande Maison presents the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon in pink gold inspired by its first tourbillon wristwatch—the Reverso Tourbillon—introduced thirty years ago. A glorious expression of the Calibre 847 introduced in 2018, it shines a spotlight on the Manufacture’s avowed expertise in tourbillons. Also incorporating the Duoface concept, its two dials present two different aesthetics, with a second time zone and a day-night indicator on the reverse dial.
Uniting a flying tourbillon with the Duoface complication, this ultra-thin hand-wound movement comprises 254 components and measures just 3.9mm thick. To achieve this, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmakers had to completely rethink the tourbillon mechanism to reduce as much height as possible. As well as dispensing with the upper bridge, to which the balance wheel is normally fixed, they replaced the outer tourbillon cage with a ball-bearing system and attached the balance wheel to the centre of the tourbillon.
Normally, the hairspring would be attached to the outer tourbillon cage; however, in the absence of such a cage, a new solution was required. Jaeger-LeCoultre invented (and has patented) a unique S-shaped balance spring; one end is attached to a fixed point at the centre of the tourbillon mechanism and the other end fixed to the balance wheel. The S-shape avoids the coils of the spring touching each other and makes the spring perfectly concentric to the tourbillon, which is essential for precision.
Comprising 62 components and weighing a mere 0,455 grams, this highly sophisticated tourbillon is eloquent testimony to the Manufacture’s mastery of this regulating mechanism, as well as its status as one of the very few Manufactures to develop and produce its own hairsprings in-house. The Duoface concept, a pillar of the Reverso collection since it was introduced in 1994, is a unique expression of the dual time zone complication, displaying local time on the front dial and home time on the reverse.
The movement must turn the two sets of hands in opposite directions in order for them to move around their respective dials in the clockwise direction and display the correct time. Adding to the mechanical elegance of the movement, all settings are controlled through the crown; this not only ensures simplicity of operation for the wearer but also preserves the aesthetic unity of the case.
On the wrist, with the front dial visible, the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon has an elegant yet highly distinctive presence. Capturing the spirit of the early 1930s models, the pared-down aesthetic and signature details of the Reverso Tribute dial exude refinement; the faceted hour indexes are complemented by Dauphine hands and framed by a chemin de fer minute track.
These understated details, together with the subtle glow of the silver sunray-brushed front dial allow the tourbillon to take centre stage. The eye is drawn to its whirling motion, then travels all the way through its intricate structure to the back of the watch case. As the case turns over, it reveals the cradle, where a visually dramatic sunray pattern centres on a mirror-polished disc; the disc is precisely aligned with the tourbillon to reflect light back through the delicate mechanism.
The reverse dial of the watch projects an altogether bolder character, enhanced by partial skeletonisation and glorious decoration, including hand angling of the bridges, all executed in the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares workshop. The second time zone is indicated by golden hands and indexes on a black sunray-brushed dial, and above the dial, the night and day indicator features an exquisite starry night sky. Gold bridges, a reminder of the 1993 Reverso Tourbillon, are richly textured with Clous de Paris guilloché, and blued screws provide a rich contrast with the gold. The guillochage on the bridges—a delicate and highly skilled operation executed on a 100-year-old hand-operated lathe—represents six hours of meticulous work.
To enhance the elegance and wearability of the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon, its case is just 9.15 mm thick, despite the complexity of the movement. Its clean Art Deco lines and strong geometry lend the case an air of deceptive simplicity. In fact, it is one of the most complex cases in watchmaking, with more than 50 components including the patented slide-and-swivel mechanism that connects the case to its cradle.
With its distinctive rectangular case, the Reverso is acknowledged as an icon of 20th-century design and one of the world’s most recognisable watches. The harmonious proportions of its case—closely adhering to the original design that was based on the golden ratio—look as modern today as when the Reverso first left the drawing board more than 90 years ago, a perfect foil for fascinating complications.