Discover the timepieces that keep Waldorf Astoria General Managers on the go.
Here, we look at the sporting story behind Jaeger LeCoultre’s range of reverso watches and speak to David Wilson, General Manager of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeriah, about why he loves his model.
Art deco never goes out of fashion. Few objects embody its design philosophy better than Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s range of Reverso watches. Square or rectangular in shape, the Reverso was invented in 1931 as a way for polo players to protect their watches during matches.
The idea came after watch collector César de Trey witnessed British officers play the sport in India. When one gentleman’s watch was smashed during play, he challenged de Trey to make a watch that could withstand the rough and tumble of the game.
De Trey went back to Europe and talked it over with watchmaker Jacques-David LeCoultre, who in turn asked Jaeger SA (they’d merge in 1937) to design a case for this purpose. In the end it was French designer René Alfred Chauvot who invented the slide-and-flip mechanism that’s still used today. Immediately popular with polo players, it soon found favor away from the sports ground.
Over the years, JLC has produced various versions of the Reverso, but they all share that same functionality.
What does change is the back: the company offers engraving and hand-painted services, which means every individual model can be personalized to the wearer’s taste. Some have their initials engraved, while others get portraits or landscapes done.
It’s not all about the looks though. Unlike a lot of big-name watch brands, all of JLC’s movements— the mechanics that power the watch— are made in-house. This is no small achievement, considering the different case sizes the watch comes in.
In the end, it’s all these factors that make the Reverso one of the undisputed greats of the horological world, a study in subtlety in an age of unapologetic bling. As Ariel Adams says on his influential horology blog, A Blog To Watch: “What makes the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso so universally appealing isn’t just that it happens to be a successful rectangular watch, but that it demonstrates how important an iconic design is today that does indeed look like something out of art deco history… It is one casual-to-dressy timepiece I’ve never seen anyone regret.”
Looks like those polo players were really on to something.
David Wilson, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeriah, explains the Reverso Squadra Limited Edition is his watch of choice…
“It’s a watch that looks good with anything! I’ve owned my Reverso Squadra Limited Edition for six years. Part of an edition of 500, this beautiful timepiece is made of rose gold with ceramic touches. It’s very comfortable to wear.
“I love the fact that when it came out people would be able to switch it around when they were playing polo. However, these days it’s more of a design feature. In my case, you can see through the back to the movement inside, which is fascinating to look at.
“I also love the Reverso’s flexibility: I can wear it with a suit or as part of a casual outfit. Guests do mention it, though what they say depends on whether they know about watches. Often, people just like the way it looks. We all have ways of telling the time these days, but I like to wear a watch. I prefer it to using my phone!”