Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Hidden Treasures

by Chamath Gamage
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2021 marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the Jaeger-Lecoultre Reverso model and as a part of the celebrations, the brand has released the Reverso Tribute Enamel Hidden Treasures. These are a trio of timepieces that celebrate the extraordinary work of three masters of Modern Art: Gustave Courbet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Gustav Klimt. 

All three of these latest timepieces include the artisanal skills being put into practice at the Jaeger-Lecoultre manufacture. Artisanal skills such as grand feu enamel, miniature painting, and guilloche. This latest Reverso Tribute collection closely mimicks the 1930’s original models by the simplicity of the dials, which is now enhanced by the guilloché backgrounds.

The three paintings depicted on the Reverso side of each timepiece showcase three important markers that belong to a Western artistic tradition, such as the 19th-Century Realism of Courbet, Van Gogh’s Post-Impressionism to the expressive spirit of Klimt and the Viennese Secession. The actual paintings on each of the watches are also in a way a tribute to the Reverso model. 

The stunning paintings on the watches are a miniature portrayal of actual paintings that have been hidden from the world for many decades and assumed to have been lost, until in recent years when they have been rediscovered and authenticated. The Reverso plays with the same concept of the painting being “hidden” until the dial is turned over to reveal the beautiful artwork. 

All three timepieces come in a white gold 45.6 x 27.4mm rectangular casing, with a contrasting black alligator leather strap to suit. Each of the main dial colours is a snippet of the main colours used for the enamel miniature paintings on the Reverso side. The movement used inside all three timepieces is the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822/2. This movement powers the hour and minutes on the dial and comes with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. 

Gustave Courbet – View of Lake Léman (1876) – Reference: Q39334C2

Gustave Courbet – View of Lake Léman (1876)

Gustave Courbet found a home on the shores of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, near Vevey, after being exiled from his native country of France in 1873. Being inspired by the constantly changing views across the water, Courbet was able to capture the beautiful movement of the clouds and sunlight on the surface of the lake in his painting View of Lake Léman (1876).

Gustave Courbet – View of Lake Léman (1876)

For the timepiece in Reverso Tribute Enamel Hidden Treasures, the master enameller at Jaeger-Lecoultre has perfectly captured the very delicate colour palette and has been able to recreate it in such a miniature form. The white gold case acts as a perfect window into viewing the artwork which features soft tones of blue and light yellow. This is then perfectly complimented by the main dial which features the blue-grey herringbone guilloché texture.

Vincent Van Gogh – Sunset at Montmajour (1888) – Reference: Q39334V1

Vincent Van Gogh – Sunset at Montmajour (1888)

The Sunset at Montmajour (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh is a painting where the artist is experimenting with new styles of visual interpretation. This painting is a portrayal of a summer evening where Van Gogh has tried to show nature in new and different ways. 

Vincent Van Gogh – Sunset at Montmajour (1888)

He has in essence captured the distinctive vegetation Provence in the South of France with rich vivid colours of “golden hour” just before sunset. 

The master enameller has faithfully recreated the Sunset at Montmajour (1888) artwork on the Reverso side in its miniature form. The artwork is simply stunning, to say the least, with every minute detail such as the characteristic brushwork and “heavy impasto”. With the artwork being portrayed as sunset over nature with yellow tones and luscious green, the main dial features a green enamel done over a sunray-guilloché pattern.

Gustav Klimt – Portrait of a Lady (1917) – Reference: Q39334K1

Gustav Klimt – Portrait of a Lady (1917)

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of a Lady (1917) is known as a ‘double portrait due to its history. The story is that the Viennese artist painted the first portrait of a young woman with which Gustav Klimt fell madly in love. She would later become his muse and inspiration for the painting of the original “Portrait of a Lady”. However, she suddenly died, which left Gustav quite heartbroken. To ease the pain of his loss, he painted over her portrait with a new one, of a different lady. 

Gustav Klimt – Portrait of a Lady (1917)

The master enameller has done exceptionally well to capture the portrait to such close detail in miniature form. The Portrait of a Lady used for the Reverso Tribute Enamel Hidden Treasures captures the same dreamy quality that Klimt shared in the original artwork. The elegant pose of the lady along with her outfit is captured in intricate detail on the Reverso. Matching the teal/green tones of the painting, the main dial has been given a green dial which has been decorated with gran feu enamel over a fine barleycorn guilloché pattern. 

All three of these incredible creations with their miniature artworks are unfortunately limited to 10 pieces each, and we can understand why. The painstaking effort to recreate each of the different paintings multiple times should not go unnoticed. It is safe to say with quite a certainty that these timepieces in Jaeger-Lecoultre’s Reverso Tribute Enamel Hidden Treasures collection will not last long, if not sold out already! 

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