The New Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph Has One of the Most Ingenious Chrono Displays We’ve Seen

The lineup from Jaeger-LeCoultre at this year’s Watches & Wonders is remarkably focused. When I received the embargoed press releases a few weeks ago, I’ll admit to a slight twinge of disappointment at the apparent lack of variety. It would be a Reverso year for the watchmaker’s watchmaker, and vague hopes that I always have for a recommitment to high spec but elegant sports watches were once again dashed. My disappointment (it’s  an overstatement to even call it that) was short lived, as I began to dig into those very same press releases and began to realize that we were likely to see some beautiful stuff from JLC. The Reverso is such a great watch, it’s tough to be anything but charmed by them at the end of the day. 


The most interesting of the new Reversos that I saw is also the most clever, and is a fun, practical, and beautiful use of the iconic hinged case and the capacity for the watch to feature two dial displays. The new Tribute Chronograph is part of a large package of new references in the “Tribute” category, all paying tribute to the original Reverso in their perfect proportions. For the chrono, we get two references, one in gold and the other in steel, each with a dial that tells the current time and a secondary dial that displays elapsed time via a rather ingenious chronograph display. 

Think about almost every chronograph you’ve ever seen, and you begin to realize that a circular case and dial are practically core to the complication itself. Shifting the information that you need to be able to read if using a chronograph into the format of a small rectangular dial is both a design and engineering challenge. Leveraging the Reverso’s ability to be flipped on its side to expose another display is step one. Step two is figuring out how to shift a display that typically consists of multiple sub-registers into a shape that isn’t exactly compatible. 

JLC’s solution was to put the chrono seconds totalizer front and center, with a retrograde minute totalizer in the shape of a semi-circle right below it. This saves a remarkable amount of space, and easily allows timing events up to 30 minutes without even having to squint. The manually wound JLC 860 caliber being used here is brand new, engineered specifically for this watch, and has a total of 52 hours of power reserve and uses a column wheel and horizontal clutch in the mechanism. The choice to go with a horizontal clutch, we were told, was out of consideration for the unique geometry of the Reverso case and the natural physical limitations of what would be possible in creating the movement inside of it. As an added bonus, the chronograph side of the case is tastefully skeletonized, allowing a peek at the mechanism and presenting a contrast with the traditional and sober time telling side up front. The front dial on the stainless steel version of the chronograph is a very attractive slate gray with a subtle sunburst finish, and its basic black on the pink gold reference. 

The case is just shy of 30mm wide and measures 49.4mm from lug to lug. It’s 11.4mm tall, which works very well on the wrist. It has just the right amount of wrist presence and even though it’s based on the classic Reverso from the 1930s, it feels contemporary in its sizing while keeping the same general proportions of the best Reversos from the past. JLC is highlighting that the Reverso makes use of the “Golden Ratio” in their current campaign, and it really does feel like if it were just a hair wider without increasing in length (or vice-versa) it would throw everything off. 

The pink gold reference has a selling price of $37,400, and the stainless steel will retail for $21,400. Jaeger-LeCoultre

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.