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Icons of the Exchange: Jaeger-LeCoultre

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s resilient yet refined Reverso watch is a long-standing classic

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Small Seconds watch

The sport of polo, also referred to as ‘the game of kings’, is synonymous with poise and elegance, but as one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult sports to play, it doesn’t come without its knocks. That’s why, in 1931, renowned Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the now-iconic Reverso model, a timepiece specially created to withstand the rigours of polo matches played by British army officers in India in the 1930s.

The Reverso’s case is designed to be flipped over so that its elegant dial can face down and be fully protected from the risk of possible mallet strikes. The back of the case can be personalised – options range from decorative enamel detailing and engravings to gemstones – making it a popular and distinguished watch choice both on and off the polo field.

With its sleek, Art Deco-inspired style – characterised by signature geometric lines, Arabic numerals and decorative gadroons that frame the face – the Reverso is one of the most distinctive and androgynous classic timepieces of the 20th century. While its outer appearance is instantly recognisable, throughout the past nine decades the inner workings of the Reverso timepiece have evolved to house more than 50 different calibres.

Founded in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, in the Swiss Jura Mountains, Jaeger-LeCoultre has created more than 1,200 calibres since its first workshop opened in 1833. The Reverso Classic Large Small Seconds model houses the watchmaker’s 822/2 calibre – a mechanical movement with manual winding, containing 108 parts and a 45-hour power reserve – and features a complication to indicate the passing of seconds, creating a second level of timekeeping, which is displayed at the 6 o’clock position.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Small Seconds watch

‘While The Royal Exchange celebrates 450 years, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates 90 years of the iconic Reverso and we could not think of a better pairing,’ says Lisa Broun, senior watch buyer at Watches of Switzerland, purveyor of Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces at The Royal Exchange. ‘A timelessly elegant design, its aesthetic has remained almost unchanged during its existence. The Art Deco style of this timepiece is enchanting and is not surprisingly one of our bestsellers. If you are looking for a watch that has its own chapter in watchmaking history, a Reverso is the place to start.’

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Small Seconds, £5,650, Watches of Switzerland

The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. Our Icons of the Exchange series pays homage to the exceptional array of retailers that call The Royal Exchange home, with a look at the heritage, design and craftsmanship of products that epitomise the essence and excellence of our celebrated brands.

We look forward to welcoming you back, from 12 April, for a considered shopping and dining experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange, and keep an eye on our specially created 450 Years site, journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about The Royal Exchange’s past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year.