Owner’s Review: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classique

It’s fascinating how watches can spark a certain feeling from within, and occasionally inspire us to do things. Tool watches are a perfect example. For me, my old Doxa Sub 300 reminded me of Cousteau’s adventures and every glance of the watch made me want to drop whatever I was doing and head for the water. My Rolex 14270 Explorer inspired me to go on my own mountain adventure and was on my wrist during my very first summit. I have a strong connection to these objects and the feelings that rise to the surface every time I put a certain watch on. At times the connection is so strong, that even if we don’t participate in the things the watch is intended to do, we still have a deep understanding of why the watch should exist.

Art Deco at its finest.

Dress watches can also have that spark. That’s what I’ve learned with my Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. It’s a watch that instantly reminds me of a time when modern architecture and design were just starting to be appreciated and incorporated into everyday objects. The gold rectangular case makes me think of the guys who wore these types of watches and their certain elevated taste in art, design and everything in between. It just oozes cool. And akin to a tough diver with heritage or a durable field watch built with memories from adventures past, the JLC Reverso has its own unique appeal that makes me want to reach for the watch time and time again. The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classique has been on my wrist for the better part of two weeks and, to my surprise, it makes a strong case for an everyday watch.

From case finishing to engineering, it’s all in the details for the JLC Reverso.

Owner’s Review: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Classique

Yellow Gold
Manual Wind JLC Caliber 846
Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance
23 x 38mm
Lug Width

Now as most of you already know, I have a strong affinity for getting outdoors, which is the reason why I gravitate towards a finely made tool watch. The JLC Reverso is a finely made watch in its own right, but you may wonder, how does a Reverso, or any dress watch for that matter, fit into an active lifestyle? I mean, it’s quite simple. The Reverso stays on until it’s time to take it off. If I plan on heading out for a surf session, I swap out the Reverso for my Seiko SNE573. If I head out into the hills for a quick hike, I throw on the Garmin Instinct and the Reverso stays at home. The Reverso being labeled as a “dress” watch doesn’t deter me from wearing it confidently in a casual setting. There are the right tools for the job, and when it comes to telling time in a suave way, the JLC Reverso is my go-to.

Golden Ratio on wrist.

The JLC Reverso in hand is outfitted in yellow gold and the case is made primarily of two parts: an outer-case and a mid-case allowing the Reverso to swivel between dial and caseback.  The fluted lines that adorn the top and bottom of the mid-case are a product of design inspiration from the Art Deco movement of the ‘20s and ‘30s. One of the things I appreciate about the Reverso is how the watch looks at different angles. A view directly from the top displays the iconic rectangular silhouette, but a side profile shows off the sharp lines of the outer-case that blend beautifully with the curvy mid-case.

Some may be put off by the size, but a watch of this style shouldn’t take up a lot of real-estate. It should wear svelte, streamlined and low to the wrist. I think at 23mm wide, 38mm lug to lug and 7mm thick, the Reverso does exactly that and will fit a wide array of wrists perfectly. In fact, this particular example can trace its roots back to 1981 when Daniel Wild, an engineer from JLC, was tasked to give the Reverso case an upgrade. Wild would go on to create a more modern case that included 55 parts (compared to the 23 part case in the original 1931 Reverso) that fit the contemporary proportions of the time. The new and improved case was dubbed the Reverso Classique and would set the standard for quality and design for Reversos of today.

For those uninitiated, here’s how the Reverso case works. In one smooth motion, the mid-case can be removed from the outer-case by lightly pushing on the nine o’clock side. Once the spring loaded pins are released, the mid-case moves along a set of parallel grooves formed on the inside of the outer-case, until the mid case is exposed entirely and swivels 180 degrees so that now the solid caseback is in view. By pushing the mid-case on the crown side, it securely locks into the outer-case, shielding the dial and putting the caseback on display.

The Reverso in action.

The caseback on the reversible mid case is a blank canvas ready for any type of engraving that will solidify a personal connection to the watch. It’s yet again another example of how JLC “gets it”. I haven’t committed to adding any sort of engraving but if I do, I’ll most likely lean towards my initials.

When I purchased the watch it came on an alligator strap, which I immediately knew had to go if it was going to fit my vibe on a daily basis. The toughest part about finding a casual leather strap was actually finding one that fit the slim 17mm lug width. I came to find out there weren’t a lot of options out there, so I decided to go the custom strap route. What came out of that was a better understanding of the materials, stitching and tapering of a strap, which is something I never gave a second thought about when purchasing a new watch. Working with my new found friend and strap tailor (s/o @wristwatchme) we ultimately ended up with a sweet Casa Fagliano inspired brown leather strap that fit the Reverso perfectly.

Custom Casa Fagliano inspired leather strap courtesy of @wristwatchme

The JLC Reverso confidently stands on its own as a daily wearer. It wears centered on wrist and stays exactly where it needs to be. Despite the gold case and formal rectangular silhouette, the watch wears spectacularly in a casual setting. It looks the part at the end of a denim jacket cuff and even better when paired with just jeans and a t-shirt. Telling time is pretty straightforward with the blued hands working in tandem with the Arabic numerals encircling the dial. The dial is something to appreciate more in person. It’s minimal, yet dynamic. The dial is silvery light gray, as opposed to the white dial I initially thought it had from images on the internet. The outer border has a separate sheen finishing that plays with any lighting and contrasts with a more muted matte center dial.


I believe the watch that someone chooses to wear says a little something about them. For me at least, it sparks a curiosity about the person, especially when I spot a gold rectangular watch from across the way. The JLC Reverso is minimal, elegant and practical. I appreciate the straightforward and lively design. The Reverso is elegant in a way where it’s vintage profile speaks of a particular taste. As a practical matter, the Reverso does tell the time, and accurately at that. As of the last time check, the JLC 846 hand wound movement lasted 41 hours and was accurate to within 5 seconds on a full wind. Is the reversible case practical? Well it’s unique, it’s something to fidget with for a moment, and with my first child on the way, I would say a protective caseback is practical to have as I enter Fatherhood.

From a pricing standpoint, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The JLC Reverso Classique in gold, can reach upwards of 5K, which is by no means inexpensive. In a time where “hype” watches have taken certain watches to astronomical price levels, the market for a JLC Reverso has stayed relatively stable and are a great value in my humble opinion. If you’re keen on this style of watch, but don’t want to shell out, I suggest you check out a Fears 1930 Archival or a Seiko SWR049. Both are great options to dip your toe in the world of rectangular watches.

The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso is a sign that my tastes for watches are constantly evolving, and I’m totally content with change. I have a newfound appreciation for the dress watch and more specifically the Reverso. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll stop wearing tool watches. I’m positive that I’ll happily throw on a diver or field watch when the time calls for it, or when I just want to wear one out and about. But in the meantime, the Reverso will stay on wrist and I’ll take all the cool and smoothness that comes with it.

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.