IN 2021, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled, perhaps, its most elegant expression of functional high jewellery to date. Part of the watchmaker’s iconic Reverso One series, it saw artistic crafts like enamelling, engraving and gem-setting work — each completed by hand in the maison’s Métiers Rares atelier — come together in four extremely rare timepieces. Inspired by the architecture and decorative jewels that characterised the 1920s, the reverse and sides of each model were painted with the most delicate floral patterns.

Suitably, the collection was called: Reverso One Precious Flowers.

These timepieces captured the imagination of women all over the world — women who view their watch not only as a practical time telling tool, but an heirloom of rare beauty. Now, three years on, and Jaeger-LeCoultre is introducing three new models to its coveted Reverso One Precious Flowers series, which form a joyful expression of the art deco spirit of the Reverso.
Of course, the watchmaker could have chosen anywhere in the world to unveil these new expressions. Yet in a big coup for fans of the brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen Sydney as the destination for this highly anticipated global launch.

“It was important to come to Australia because we’ve been there now with two stores, and [have] ambitions to go further in our expansion,” Jaeger-LeCoultre chief executive Catherine Rénier told Harper’s BAZAAR Australia/New Zealand recently. Of the timepiece’s significance, she adds: “It is one of the oldest icons in watchmaking, dating back to 1931… has one identity but is very versatile in how it can express itself for men and women.”

The three new additions to the Precious Flowers series pay homage to the ‘Streamline Moderne’ architecture movement, as well as the most iconic tropical flowers: the Bird of Paradise, the Hibiscus and, in the most sparkling rendition of the trio, a Diamond Hibiscus, which is set with a total of approximately 523 2.02 diamonds.
To give you an idea of the craftsmanship that when into producing these pieces, setting those 523 diamonds in the Diamond Hibiscus took 120 hours of work, while 12 trials of colour research were undertaken to achieve the desired shades and subtle graduation on the watch’s reverse. Meanwhile, to complete the delicate champlevé enamelling, which is one of the oldest decorative enamelling techniques, many years’ experience and great technical skill are required, because the firing process needed to achieve such vibrant colours renders the outcome unpredictable. Once painted, each face is fired at up to 800 Celsius. The slightest mistake could destroy countless hours of work.

Of course, the end result is worth it. When it comes to the intersection of watchmaking and high jewellery, the Precious Flowers range feels like the gold standard. It’s worth noting that the composition of the iconic timepiece — the fact its case can be quite literally ‘reversed’ to reveal a second dial — makes for the ultimate canvas for which the artisans in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘movement-decoration’ workshop can push their skills to the limit. According to the maison, it takes several artisans to collaborate in a carefully orchestrated manner to produce the floral designs that wrap seamlessly from the back to the bezel of each Precious Flowers piece, with the curves and angles of the case adding a high degree of complexity to the work.

As Catherine Rénier points out: “The play with colours really makes the piece more so jewellery than a watch, which is the beauty of the Reverso.”

It’s the type of craftsmanship that needs to be seen to be believed. Fortunately, Australian watch and jewellery lovers can do just that, as these three new additions to the Reverso One Precious Flowers range are being unveiled as part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Reverso Stories’ exhibition, which is touching down in Sydney’s Martin Place from from May 10 to 19. Open to the public, it will be the first place in the world you can view these highly considered, hand-enamelled pieces, as well as the watchmaker’s full collection of mesmerising Reverso models, ranging from archival treasures to modern-day marvels.
Should you wish to secure one of the three new Precious Flowers, orders for the pieces will be open from today. Keeping in mind, of course, these pieces take after the rarity of their name — only 10 pieces of each design will be made.

In other words, it’s well worth attending the Reverso Stories experience, to get a glimpse of these pieces, which truly are one-of-a-kind.

Reverso Stories will run from May 10 to 19 in Martin Place, Sydney. Opening daily from 9am to 7pm (5pm on Sundays), access to the exhibition is free to the public. Guided 20-minute tours, are available. Visitors can book online here or register upon arrival.