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The Golden Ratio Translated into a Watch

By Debbie Hathway
Reverso One Precious Colours Green

Since it was introduced in 1931 as a solution for polo players who needed a watch that could withstand the rigours of their sport, the Reverso watch collection has contributed significantly to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s heritage and patrimony through its innovative design, practicality, iconic Art Deco style, and the company’s commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.

Jaeger-LeCoultre chose the Golden Ratio for this year’s theme at Watches and Wonders. The mathematical ratio found in nature, art and design is conveyed in the harmonious and balanced proportions of the rectangular case of the Reverso timepieces. The placement of hour markers, hands and sub-dials creates visual harmony and balance. At the same time, the engraved patterns on the case or dial also reflect the Golden Ratio in their proportions and geometry. The case length, around 1.6 times its width, is close to the Golden Ratio of 1.618, often found in natural forms such as seashells and spiral galaxies.

The unique reversible case that can be flipped over to protect the watch crystal during play is highly functional and practical. Still, the playfulness of the concept has enhanced its popularity among trendsetters, watch enthusiasts and collectors. The intricacy of the flip mechanism and the ingenuity of its engineering combine to produce the tactile pleasure of the case gliding in its carrier and locking in place with a satisfying click that CEO Catherine Renier describes as a “special moment, a playful moment with your watch”, fulfilling the Reverso’s original intention with utmost elegance.

Lionel Favre, product design director at the Manufacture, says that in maintaining the essence and DNA of the line, they rely on storytelling and history to guide the expression of their creativity. “You will see in our new collection that the geometry this year is really strong. The Golden Ratio is also a geometric concept. Every year we try to find a guideline to propose a new interpretation of our movement, a new dial, so it’s always a link to Art Deco for Reverso and we try to stay relevant with this theme.”

Execution is a “little more complicated” for Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmakers, who have developed skills to create a very compact movement with less space to express the display and set the complication. “We need to manage the symmetry of the movement because of the two displays on the front and the reverse side, and we have to be sure the crown is exactly where we need it,” says Favre.

Spirit of inventiveness

Summarising the inventiveness coming through in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s launches for 2023, Renier says the expression of creativity is in the wearing of the watch. Last year was more about technical innovation – the complication of the shooting star moving through the dial. This year marks a return to design and stylish innovation through the feminine offer. “The Reverso Secret Necklace is a new way to wear a 90-year-old watch and has never been done before for [this collection]. We had pendants and accessories created with watches, but for us such a long necklace like a sautoir is a totally new way to wear a watch as a jewel – not a bracelet but this time as a necklace,” she says. “The advantage of Reverso is that it is a watch and a jewel – the secret is embedded in the timepiece itself. Reverso is made to be hidden, so this is a natural next step for Reverso.”

Two new ladies’ models have been added to the Reverso One Precious Colours collection. Geometric patterns in blue and green border the dial and fully decorate the reverse, showcasing the artisanal expertise for which the Manufacture is renowned. The Reverso’s clean lines, geometric shapes, and bold colours are characteristic of the Art Deco style, which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. These pieces will be produced in limited quantities, as will the Secret Necklace.

Debbie Hathway

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