Created by Jacques-David LeCoultre in 1931, the Reverso was initially conceived to withstand the harsh beating a watch would endure during a game of polo. With the need for the watch to be more durable, the Reverso's genius reveals itself through its eponymous design – a reversible case. With its case able to be turned around on itself, the Reverso's dial can be protected while playing sports and returned to its natural position with a quick flick and slide. Thanks to its iconic heritage, the Reverso has evolved into one of Jaeger LeCoultre's most important design vehicles to date, with a healthy number of contemporary variations to suit the palate of modern enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.
Offered here is a rare variant of the Reverso which debuted in 2011 – the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Edizione Speciale Italica, Ref. 277.8.62. For context, 2011 marked 80 glorious years of watchmaking for the Maison and the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. To simultaneously celebrate and pay tribute to these important occasions, JLC released two versions of this particular variant specially for the Italian market. One in pink gold and limited to only 50 pieces, and the steel variant that we have on offer here today limited to 150 pieces.
I think the most unique element of this reference is the dial. It features all the aesthetic codes of the historical Reverso from the 1930s alongside some contemporary design touches such as its stunning vertical guilloché decoration, highly sober Arabic numerals, and gorgeous blued hands. At the 8 o ‘clock position, a red “R” with the word “Reverso” forming in its stem was used as a replacement for the conventional “8” numeral, which also ultimately serves as an indication of the number Octoginta (meaning, 80). The red accent was also used here to recall the exclusive limited editions that were specially created for the Italian market prior to this reference, namely the Master Ultra Thin Italica and the Reverso 976 Italica.
Powering this stunning work of art from within its elegant 46mm x 27mm stainless steel case is the ultra-thin, in-house, manual-wind JLC Cal. 822 at just 2.94mm in thickness, which features 21 jewels, beats at 21,600 bph and carries an impressive power reserve of 45-hours.
Overall, this is a stunning timepiece that beautifully encapsulates the Maison’s objective of showcasing true craftsmanship, as well as its desire to celebrate two very momentous occasions in the manufacture’s watchmaking history and of Italy. Due to its rarity, heritage-focused design, and stunning good looks, the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Italico is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after variants of the Grande Reverso today.