Jaeger-LeCoultre are seemingly incapable of producing a watch that doesn’t melt the hearts and wallets of watch enthusiasts worldwide, as they have proven again with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds in a glowing green. The watch comes in three dial colours with matching straps including deep blue and luscious burgundy, but this green machine feels like a particular standout.
Last year saw peak saturation of green dials with every shade and configuration seemingly covered by one brand or another, but the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface isn’t one of those to have just jumped on the hype train. The full-bodied candy apple green just works so perfectly with the rectangular case and Art Deco design language, evoking the feeling of an arm draped over a green leather lounge chair in the lobby of a 1930s Manhattan hotel. Not only is the emerald shade reminiscent of that old-world lavishness, but the dauphine hands and pointed applied indices each carry the clinical sharpness that one might expect of a vintage skyscraper.
As precisely finished as each individual component is, the overall look is appropriately stripped back. The Jaeger-LeCoultre printed logo has enough visual intrigue to keep your eye happy when poring over the dial, and the Swiss-made stamp below the running seconds subdial doesn’t clutter anything. The contrast between the warm sunburst dial and the crisp iciness of the steel parts is also very striking, exuding precision and elegance within the handsome frame. It’s easy to see in this guise how the Reverso is considered one of the first sports watches, even without the flipping mechanism that was intended for polo players, as the rectangle dial carries a definite strength beyond expectation for a dress watch.
While we can concede that tiny vintage watches aren’t very fashionable by today’s standards, it’s great to see the Reverso Tribute splitting the difference between the daintiness of the older references and the bulky visibility of modern watches. The width is 27.4mm with a lug-to-lug length of 45.6mm, making it an easy wear on most wrists as well as being easily visible from a bit of a distance. Despite the fact that a Reverso technically needs two casebacks, the total thickness is only 8.5mm for an easy cuff-sliding experience.
The reverse of the watch is left as a polished canvas for whatever you wish to do, whether that be an engraving, a customised enamel artwork or just leaving it blank to hide the dial. It’s quite ironic that the mechanism was originally designed to protect the crystal during sports, as the stainless-steel caseback would now be much more easily scratched than the modern sapphire crystal on the front. But, having owned a flipping watch before, I can attest to the fact that the mere action is a sufficiently engaging action in itself.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds uses their in-house Calibre 822 movement, which is a relatively simple affair from the watchmakers of watchmakers. The only complication is the running seconds subdial, and frankly the watch would suffer with the addition of anything else. It’s always tough to justify the luxury aspect of a watch when it’s this simple, but of all manufacturers to do simplicity, Jaeger-LeCoultre are one of the best. It has a power reserve of 42 hours beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, and is assembled from just 108 components. The entire movement is just 2.94mm thick, which is essential for keeping the Reverso slim considering how many layers of “packaging” it requires.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds in green is priced at $12,900AUD, which feels very appropriate for both the status of the brand and the quality of the watch. There’s no quoted limitation on production, but they do seem to be tricky to get your hands on and do fetch a slight premium over retail when sold new on grey-market retailers. If you’re absolutely lusting after one of these watches, like every other Reverso fan on the planet, it seems like a bit of patience may get you across the line and, of course, getting the boutique treatment is always a plus.