Ninety years after the emblematic Reverso was born, Jaeger-LeCoultre invites watch enthusiasts to enjoy an immersive cultural experience. The exhibition “Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931”, offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of one of the watchmaking’s greatest legends.
A unique and timeless expression of the Art Deco movement, the legend of the Reverso began on the polo fields of India, where the idea of a case that could be flipped over was born. With its revolutionary design and immaculate craftsmanship, the Reverso was immediately embraced by trendsetters from all walks of life, quickly transcending its original purpose. Deftly combining form and function, it is one of the most recognisable watches in the world.
The “Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931” exhibition is an opportunity to explore the cultural and creative universe of this design icon, through an immersive sensory experience that embraces a pop-up boutique, a fascinating retrospective, an Art Deco café and a hands-on workshop. Featuring a specially commissioned art installation by the American artist Michael Murphy, and a selection of famous Reverso watches, from the earliest time-only models to the new Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185, this original concept tells the story of Reverso through four key themes.
The Reverso, in four chapters – and a new art commission
The journey begins with the Story of an Icon, retelling the tale of the Reverso’s origins through rarely seen archive materials and heritage documents from the Jaeger-LeCoultre collection, as well as a selection of milestone Reverso watches, from the first 1931 model to the latest Reverso Tribute piece. A specially commissioned film transports the viewer inside the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, tracing each step in the creation of a Reverso through the words of the artisans and watchmakers themselves.
The Story of Style & Design looks at the Reverso watch from an aesthetic perspective. A quintessential example of Art Deco design, the rectangular shape of the reversible case is accentuated by clean lines and elegant curves; its dimensions determined by the rules of the golden ratio. To illustrate the stylistic evolution of the Reverso, examples for men and women are presented, each embodying its distinctive style in bold and often unexpected ways.
A Story of Innovation highlights the insatiable spirit of invention that characterises the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture. The Reverso was the result of a brilliant idea that took shape in the hands of French engineer René-Alfred Chauvot, whose design was submitted to the Paris patent office on 4 March 1931. Since the 1990s, the legendary Art Deco watch has welcomed emblematic complications, including the first rectangular minute repeater, the retrograde chronograph and the Gyrotourbillon, as well as the double-dial Duoface and Duetto models. Enhanced over the years by new materials and numerous interpretations, this technical creativity has culminated in the extraordinary four-face Reverso Quadriptyque in 2021.
The Story of Craftsmanship pays tribute to the engravers, gem-setters, enamellers and guillochage masters of the Manufacture, revealing how they have unleashed the full potential of the Reverso as a canvas for artistic expression and personalised messages. From historic timepieces, such as those belonging to Amelia Earhart and General Douglas MacArthur, to modern-day High Jewellery and miniature-painted models, these pieces provide special insight into how the Reverso has itself been telling the stories of its owners, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
A special highlight of the exhibition, the Spacetime art installation makes its European debut in Paris. Commissioned by Jaeger-LeCoultre from the American artist Michael Murphy to coincide with the 90th year of Reverso, it transports visitors through the three physical dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time. Viewing the installation is a bewitching and multifaceted experience that, in the words of the artist: “explodes into myriad elements that tell the story of the Reverso Tribute Nonantième and its inner workings”.
The 1931 Café
Before or after the exhibition, visitors can enjoy a delicious break at the 1931 Café, an elegant and welcoming Art Deco setting. The elegant black and white décor, reminiscent of the 1930s, is a feast for the eyes, while a special menu created by the young Parisian pastry chef Nina Métayer will delight the taste buds. Designed to evoke the aesthetic codes of Art Deco, these exceptional sweet treats are an invitation to travel through the aromas and flavours of the Vallée de Joux: mountain berries, nuts, honey, herbs and chocolate.
The Atelier d’Antoine
To complete the exhibition, the Atelier d’Antoine – named after the Manufacture’s founder – has been specially relocated to Paris, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy a unique, hands-on adventure with the Reverso. Together with a watchmaker and instructor, this workshop combines interactive theoretical learning with practical training.
The “Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931” exhibition and the 1931 Café will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 21 October to 24 December at 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The exhibition is free to the public, but booking is recommended at www.exposition-reverso.com
Audio guides are available for the exhibition.