The List




The List


Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso

Few would claim that polo is an egalitarian sport. The twin requirements of owning numerous polo ponies and having had a public school education tend to discourage any widening of participation in the game amongst the less affluent portions of society.


That JLC is now inextricably linked with its Reverso line, which has strong historical ties to the game of polo, is perhaps fitting, then; after all, the Swiss company’s watches, worn by polo-playing royals, mirror the values of the sport, both in expense and in exclusivity.


Created in 1931, apparently at the request of British polo players in India, the Reverso’s key distinguishing feature is the ability to reverse its face in order to protect the watch mechanism (presumably from overzealous opponents’ mallets.) In this sense, it is, perhaps, the world’s first sports watch, which, together with its distinctive Art Deco styling, has earned it a place on The List.


The original Reverso was not a huge sales success; the 1930s was a particularly hard decade for most luxury watch manufacturers. However, following its rediscovery in the 1960s, and subsequent modifications and adaptations, the Reverso line of watches has grown to be JLC’s most popular, accounting for nearly half of the brand’s sales in the last ten years.


There is now a myriad of different Reversos from which to choose, some with tourbillons, others with multiple complications, but for us, the Reverso has always been a dress watch (despite its sporting origins) that benefits from simplicity. This means leather straps, no gold and no additional complications that supply extraneous information, such as the current price of fish cakes in Hong Kong.


The modern Reverso that most embodies this aesthetic of purity, in our opinion, is the Grande Taille, which features a calibre 822 movement with 21 jewels and a 45 hour power reserve. The nice thing about JLC is that, as a manufacture, its movements are produced in house, adding exclusivity and greater differentiation from other lesser brands, whose offerings are often based on ubiquitous ETA movements. The calibre 822 is no exception, and bears all of the classical signs of a JLC movement, including the four bridge design.


In terms of wearing the Grande Taille, (and, in fact, any Reverso), the overarching rule is that it should only ever be teamed with smarter items from your wardrobe. It is a dress watch after all, and matches nicely with a well cut evening suit, or, maybe, a pin-striped business suit. It is not, under any circumstances, to be worn with t-shirts, polo shirts, rugby jerseys or anything else of that kind – that is the territory of sports watches from brand such as Omega and Breitling, both far removed from JLC’s domain.


This is a watch that does not rely on vulgar ostentation to show its class. Nor does it link itself to a particular time period; the Grande Taille is beyond the fripperies of fashion. What it does do is to clearly state its owner’s taste for fine timepieces in a subtle way that is far removed from the peacock-like displays of colour in which some of JLC’s competitor’s are apt to indulge.