Jaeger-LeCoultre Releases New Reverso “Precious Flowers” Collection

by Sameera Gamage

Three exquisite new timepieces displaying artistic expression are added to the Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Series.

The Reverso is an icon of watchmaking. Immediately recognisable thanks to the swivelling case, it offers the wearer two watch faces, or in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s case, a canvas for artistic expression. The 18-carat pink gold (750/1000) case back of the new Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ series offers a canvas for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Métiers RaresTM atelier to showcase their exceptional skills in decorative crafts and jewellery techniques.

Jaeger-LeCoultre first introduced the Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ in 2021, where with this collection they united the different codes of fine watchmaking, artistic crafts and high jewellery. Now, for the 2024 release, the La Grande Maison updates the Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ collection with a fresh new material colour that gives glamour and sophistication to the collection. Each of the three new timepieces will be a limited edition model, with only 10 pieces of each being made. The highlight of each piece will be displaying the expert skills of enamelling, gold-leaf paillonnage and gem-setting.

The inspiration behind the artistic expression of this latest ‘Precious Flowers’ collection takes us back to 1931 when the Reverso was first created, the pinnacle of the Art Deco period. The three new timepieces showcase the spirit of Tropical Art Deco, which made its appearance in the 1930s. To display this theme on the timepieces, the watches are characterised by sleek lines of Streamline Modern architecture, which is set against a backdrop of lush vegetation and vividly coloured flowers.

The new designs give full rein to the artistry and diverse skills of the Métiers RaresTM atelier, with several artisans collaborating in a carefully orchestrated process over the course of many weeks and months. The floral designs wrap seamlessly around the case-sides, from the back to the bezel, involving curves and angles that add a high degree of complexity to the artisans’ work.

Jaeger-LeCoultre on the collaboration of different artisans to make new Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ collection.

The 18-carat pink gold (750/1000) cases set the tone of these elegant artistic creations. The background of the Reverso case is made of white mother-of-pearl, with gold brackets defining the four corners of the dial, which creates a framework for the signature Reverso One font numerals to be set. The cases are then finished with grain-set diamonds that decorate the gadroons and lugs, with the winding crown being set with reverse-set diamonds.

Expert Craftsman Techniques of Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Collection

Champlevé Enamelling

Champlevé (which translates to ‘raised field’) is considered one of the oldest enamelling techniques. Jaeger-LeCoultre explains their process as “To begin with, sections of the flat metal surface of the case are hollowed out to leave an outline of the desired motif. The enameller then begins painting the details and tonal nuances of the design into the remaining wells and troughs with enamel, one layer at a time – in varying combinations of transparent and opaque enamels to achieve the desired effect.”

More than 10 Enamel Colours have been used to create Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ casebacks.

The expert artisans must do careful research into the colours that go into the Champlevé enamelling process. This research is a long process of trial and error as due to the way the enamel pigments react at high temperatures; it takes more than 50 hours of experimentation before the actual enamelling work can begin.

Paillonnage

The art of Paillonne enamelling involves covering ornamental pavilions (tiny motifs), which in this case are pieces of 24-carat gold leafs cut to the exact shape and pattern that they are to fill. A layer of fondant (translucent enamel) is then completed. The enameller then takes the gold leaves and fixes them perfectly into the desired space. After this process, working with coloured enamelling can begin.

Grand Feu Enamelling

The process of Grand Feu enamelling requires exceptional skill. Each individual case requires 10 or more firings, with each firing building the intensity of the enamel colours. The skill of Grand Feu enamelling requires many years of experience from the enameller, as the outcome of the process can be quite unpredictable. The cases in this case are fired up to 800o Centigrade, which is done to change the chemistry of the pigments. Only an enameller with many years of experience under their belt can predict what the final colours will look like.

Gem-Setting

Stunning Display of gem-setting by Jaeger-LeCoultre artisans.

The gem-setting process can only begin once the enamellers have completed their work. “Indeed, combining enamelling and gem- setting is a delicate dance between the artisans: while firing hardens the gold, the gem-setter requires soft metal, so the challenge is to find the ideal balance. At any point during enamelling or gem-setting, the slightest mistake could destroy countless hours of work. These are process that cannot be rushed and that is what makes these decorative crafts so intriguing, going a long way to explaining why they are so highly prized.

RELATED READING: Jaeger-LeCoultre Presents Reverso Timeless Stories Sydney

Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Birds of Paradise

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Birds of Paradise

The new Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ collection starts with the “Birds of Paradise” model, which symbolises freedom and joy in the language of flowers. The dial of the Reverso shows the geometric shape of the eponymous flower being captured in brilliant colouring thanks to the Grand Feu Champlevé enamelling. The first step in creating this masterpiece is hollowing out the overall design on the pink gold case. Then the miniature pieces of 24-carat gold leaf are cut to exact shape as the outlines and certain sections of the flower and then put into place. This painstaking process is then followed by another delicate process, which is the application of the 19 different colours of enamel pigment.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Birds of Paradise – Mother-of-Pearl Dial

Up to nine layers of enamel may be applied, which requires 60 hours of dedicated concentration. The snow-set diamonds are then applied which form the background, complementing the rich colours of the flowers nicely. The technique of snow-setting uses stones of nine different sizes, and the setter must work by“freehand”, choosing and placing the stones so that not even a millimetre of the metal surface remains – the objective being to create a seamless expanse of sparkle.

The Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Birds of Paradise is set with approximately 331 diamonds for a total of 1.64 carats, with the whole creation process taking a total of 125 hours of Métiers RaresTM work.

Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Enamel

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Enamel

The Hibiscus Enamel timepiece showcases the quintessential tropical flower, a symbol of beauty and wisdom. The timepiece re-interprets this flower in colours that are reminiscent of a sun-kissed lagoon. For the first time on a Métiers RaresTM
Reverso One, the entire background is Grand Feu enamel, wrapping around the convex case-sides to frame the dial. The flowers and foliage are done through Grand Feu Champlevé enamel, requiring 12 enamel colours applied in nine layers.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Enamel – Mother-of-Pearl Dial

Through the craft of paillonnage, the golden stamens are shown through the tiny pieces of 24-carat gold leaves set beneath the enamel. The case’s gadroons and lugs are set by 157 diamonds, totalling 1.25 carats. The green leaves and blue flowers are complemented beautifully by the glistening of the surrounding diamonds. The process of creating Hibiscus Enamel takes 72 hours of work: 50 hours for enamelling and 22 hours for gem-setting.

Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Diamonds

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Diamonds

The Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Hibiscus Diamonds is the most complex of the three timepieces, as it combines the crafts of enamelling, paillonnage and diamond-setting. Taking the same Hibiscus flower design as the Hibiscus Enamel model, the timepiece now gives it a new luxurious sparkling rendition. To achieve the right colour shade for the leaves and flowers, it took the artisans 12 trials of colour research and was created in Grand Feu champlevé enamel, requiring 30 hours of work.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ – Hibiscus Diamonds – Mother-of-Pearl Dial

The background of the timepiece has the same layout as the “Birds of Paradise” timepiece, with snow-set diamonds creating a shimmering contrast against the beautifully coloured enamel work. Together with the grain-set diamonds on the gadroons and lugs – a total of approximately 523 diamonds for 2.02 carats –, the gem-setting represents 120 hours of work. With the enamelling process, the Hibiscus Diamonds requires a total of 150 hours of craftsmanship.

Manually-Wound Calibre 846 Movement

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Manually Wound Calibre 846 movement

All three new creations of the Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ collection feature Jaeger-LeCoultre’s manually wound Calibre 846 movement. This movement, comprised of 93 parts, operates at a moderate frequency of 3Hz (21,600 VpH) and puts out a power reserve of 38-hours. The Calibre 846 movement is a workhorse movement for Jaeger-LeCoultre, as the brand has used it extensively through their lady’s Reverso and Rendez Vous Secret range, a testament to the movement’s reliability and robustness.

Final Thoughts

This latest collection of Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ timepieces reminds us that while the beauty on the surface is what everyone sees, it’s also important to look at the finer details, the processes and exceptional skill required to create such artistic masterpieces.

To simply say that it takes 100+ hours to create a single watch doesn’t do the artisan’s work justice. The tiniest mistake during the process of enamelling or gem-setting could undo countless hours of work. It is only with the highest exceptional skill and patience displayed by the artisans that the work can be completed in the given timeframe, making these artistic timepieces so intriguing and highly prized.

In addition to this, each of the 10 timepieces made of each variant will be subtly different from each other. The very fine details and nuanced colour palettes are the end product of the individual artisan’s particular gestures, showcasing their personality and passion, along with their exceptional skill.

And if you want to see these pieces in person, they are on display now at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Timeless Stories exhibit at Martin Place in Sydney, on now until the 19th May 2024. To book a personal tour, click here.

Reference: Q3292421 REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – BIRDS OF PARADISE

Specification

  • Case: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm
  • Case Material: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)
  • Dial: Mother-of-pearl
  • Case Back: Grand feu champlevé enamel and snow-set diamonds
  • Diamonds: Approximately 331 brilliant-cut diamonds for 1.64 carats
  • Crystal: Sapphire scratch-resistant, with anti-reflective coating.
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846
  • Movement Frequency: 3Hz (21,600 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Bracelet: Shiny green alligator leather strap

International Recommended Retail Price: Price on Request.

Availability:  Limited to 10 timepieces. Available now. Enquire through Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques or online at Jaeger-LeCoultre.com

Reference: Q3292422 REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – HIBISCUS ENAMEL

Specification

  • Case: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm
  • Case Material: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)
  • Dial: Mother-of-pearl
  • Case Back: Grand feu champlevé enamel
  • Diamonds: 157 brilliant-cut diamonds for 1.25 carats
  • Crystal: Sapphire scratch-resistant, with anti-reflective coating.
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846
  • Movement Frequency: 3Hz (21,600 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Bracelet: Shiny blue alligator leather strap.

International Recommended Retail Price: Price on Request.

Availability: Limited to 10 timepieces. Available now. Enquire through Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques or online at Jaeger-LeCoultre.com

Reference: Q3292423REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – HIBISCUS DIAMONDS

Specification

  • Case: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm
  • Case Material: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)
  • Dial: Mother-of-pearl
  • Case Back: Grand feu champlevé enamel and snow-set diamonds
  • Diamonds: Approximately 523 brilliant-cut diamonds for 2.02 carats
  • Crystal: Sapphire scratch-resistant, with anti-reflective coating.
  • Water resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846
  • Movement Frequency: 3Hz (21,600 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 38 hours
  • Bracelet: Shiny blue alligator leather strap.

International Recommended Retail Price: Price on Request.

Availability: Limited to 10 timepieces. Available now. Enquire through Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques or online at Jaeger-LeCoultre.com

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