Jaeger-LeCoultre’s original 1931 reversible case served to protect the fragile glass on the dial side by flipping the case on the wrist. With the steel case-back facing up, the glass beneath was less prone to damage. The necessity for this design was born out of British polo players wanting to track time without damaging the crystal during polo matches in post-war India. It’s a well-known legend, but these days sapphire crystal has become strong enough to withstand whatever life throws at it. The scratch resistance of sapphire is so much that many of Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface collection have sapphire displays on both sides yet retain the iconic reversing case.
New for 2021 is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in green that pays homage to the original reversible watches of the 1930s. It is somewhat of an update to the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin 1931 in green that launched alongside the Bond Street Boutique opening in London. While it strays from the London Reverso Tribute 1931, it does share the green aesthetic. The London steel model had a limitation of 26 pieces and was a boutique-exclusive. It also had an engraving on the steel flip side featuring the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower. While the new Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is also in steel, the green dial has a sunray finish rather than the flat green of the London LE.
As the name suggests, this new Reverso has the small seconds at the 6 o’clock position. It’s this sub-dial that interrupts the rail-track scale that follows the shape of the rectangular case. To indicate the minutes, the dashes in the rail-track have a graduating angle to stay relative to the hand’s position. On the dial. this model has the full Jaeger-LeCoultre logo in that glorious typeface and embossed steel logo. This new Reverso also carries over many of the previous Tribute Small Seconds elements. Namely the blue dial from 2018 and the follow-up red dial Tribute Small Seconds from 2019. It makes me wonder how it took JLC so long to decide on this vibrant green after last year’s hiatus.
Dimension-wise, the Tribute Small Seconds Reverso has a 45.6×27.4mm case and a thickness of 8.5mm. This rectangular dimension allows you to flip from the dial side to the reverse side with a polished steel case-back. Having a sparse case-back opens up the opportunity to engrave a significant logo or image at the owner’s request. This ability to flip the case enables the wearer to adapt their wrist-wear in correlation to their outfit. The Reverso’s versatility is quite underrated — southpaw wearers could happily affix the Reverso to their right wrist and have the watch flipped to the case-back side. Doing so provides the comfort of keeping the crown pointing towards their fingers. However, this inhibits them from reading the time without flipping the case, of course. But it can at least provide a subtle way to expose any unique engravings.
The green Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is a welcome addition to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s growing rainbow of dial colors. With the beautiful lacquer dial and steel dauphine hands, the new Reverso proves this classic design is still evergreen. As per many of the previous Tribute Reversos, the strap is supplied by celebrated bootmaker Casa Fagliano. The Fagliano strap is the only element brought in from outside the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. JLC manufacture the elegant cases, dials, movements, and carry out assembly all under one roof.