Jaeger-LeCoultre shines the spotlight on Rare Handcrafts (Métiers Rares) with four exceptional Reverso One timepieces
As a canvas for artistic expression, the double-sided case of the Reverso is unique in watchmaking – an opportunity for the artisans of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Métiers Rares (Rare Handcrafts) workshop to unleash their skills in the art of decoration.
For 2021 the Maison introduces four sparkling new Reverso One models that unite the codes of fine watchmaking, artistic crafts and High Jewellery to bring fresh colour, sophistication and glamour to the collection. The creation of these exquisite timepieces has brought together multiple artistic crafts – enamelling, engraving and gem-setting work – in a remarkable collaboration between highly skilled artisans who are at the peak of their powers.
Inspired by the decorative jewels worn in the 1920s, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s artistic team has created four exceptional models that celebrate the poetry of flowers, with two models in white gold and two in pink gold each showcasing rare handcrafts in different combinations.
The restrained elegance of the dials provides only a subtle hint that these are truly precious timepieces: the glow of white mother-of-pearl is accented by the numerals, and the golden brackets that define the four corners of the dial. It is the flip side of the case that gives full rein to the artistry and diverse skills that reside within the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture, with multiple artisans applying different crafts, collaborating in a carefully orchestrated process over the course of many weeks and months. When working on such complex and collaborative projects, the artisans’ work must follow a strict order: engraving first, then enamelling – which requires multiple coats of enamel pigment to add richness, nuance and visual depth. After each coat is applied, the enamel must be fired to set the colour – an exacting process that takes many days. To complete the piece, the background is decorated with lacquer or mother-of-pearl, or is set with diamonds – according to the model.
Precious Flowers in four interpretations
White Lilies – symbolising purity, devotion and honour in the language of flowers – decorate a white gold case. The blank gold case-back has been relief-engraved – a technique by which the background metal is sculpted away, leaving only the raised outlines of the floral design. Each of the blooms is entirely hand-engraved, replicating the texture of lily petals in fine detail. Contrasting with the cool tones of the white gold, the leaves are enamelled in a rich blue and the stamens in light blue. To create the sky-blue background, tissue-fine wafers of mother-of-pearl are cut to the exact shape then laid in place. Grain-set diamonds embellish the entire case, wrapping seamlessly from front to back, and the winding crown is adorned with a reverse-set diamond.
Pink Arums – a symbol of admiration and appreciation – complement the warm tones of a pink gold case. With a black lacquered background providing dramatic contrast, the blooms are enamelled in graduated shades of pink, while the foliage is fully set with diamonds. The winding crown is adorned with a reverse-set diamond, and grain-set diamonds embellish the entire case, wrapping seamlessly from front to back.
Two fully diamond-set models also feature Arums: Purple Arums (on pink gold) symbolise charm and passion, and Blue Arums (on white gold) symbolise grace and refinement. On these two watches, the flowers and leaves are all enamelled, and the entire background is snow-set with diamonds – an exacting technique that requires approximately one hour to set just five or six stones. Altogether, the gem-setting on these pieces requires a total of 95 hours. The floral design wraps seamlessly around the case-sides, from the back to the bezel, involving curves and angles that add a high degree of complexity to the artisans’ work.
Set in the elongated Reverso One case and complemented by shiny alligator straps in vivid colours, these new timepieces are a joyous expression of feminine elegance. Naturally, given the Maison’s mastery of technical watchmaking, there has been no compromise on the movement, and Reverso One Precious Flowers introduces the hand-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846, a shaped movement developed especially for the Reverso.
To be made in an edition of just 10 pieces of each model, every one of these miniature works of art is subtly different – their fine detailing and nuanced colour palettes the product of each artisan’s particular gestures, expressing their passion and personality, as well as their remarkable skill.
Conceived as an ode to 21st-Century femininity, these new Reverso One timepieces attest to the horological savoir-faire, artistic craftsmanship and jewellery-making skills of La Grande Maison, while paying homage to the women who inspire Jaeger-LeCoultre every day.