The Reverso becomes a sautoir

Since clocks were first miniaturised to be carried or worn as watches, women have played a pivotal role in determining the aesthetic of time and the ways in which it is worn.

Thanks to the pioneering spirit of its founder, LeCoultre & Cie recognised the tremendous aesthetic and technical potential of timepieces that could also be worn as jewels and accessories.

Underlining this commitment to feminine expressions of fine watchmaking, the Reverso – although originally conceived for the gentleman polo player – began to appear in feminine form very soon after its launch in 1931. Among the many variations were models that could be worn on a cordonnet strap or transformed into brooches, handbag clips or pendants. In 2023, Jaeger-LeCoultre takes this creative legacy to a new level, presenting a new interpretation of the Reverso in the form of a magnificent piece of high jewellery – the Reverso Secret Necklace.

The Reverso Secret Necklace transforms the design icon into a graceful and exquisitely feminine sautoir, or long necklace. The cordonnet, the original black fabric strap (literal translation: fine or small cord) seen on Reverso models of the 1930s has been reimagined as a supple chain of intricate diamond-set links and polished onyx beads, from which a richly gem-set Reverso is suspended. Two pendants featuring polished onyx charms add a refined flourish to this elegant new way of wearing the time.

Worn with the case back turned to the front, the Reverso Secret Necklace is a beautiful Art Deco-inspired jewel that conceals its secret power of time-telling until the wearer chooses to reveal it; worn with the front dial showing, it is an exquisite timepiece that hides its reverse side like an enchanting, personal pleasure. It is notable that while the dial appears to observers to be upside-down, it is set that way so that the wearer can read the time naturally as she lifts the watch to her line of sight.

The reverse side of the pink gold case is set with white diamonds and black onyx in an intricate pattern of geometric repeats, contrasting with the warm tone of the metal. Vertical rows of bead-set diamonds wrap around the convex sides of the case and frame the dial. Contrasting with the richness of black onyx and pink gold, the centre of the dial is set with white diamonds, as are the signature brackets that define each corner of the dial. Each of the hundreds of tiny links that form the supple chain has been set with diamonds – a particularly demanding process as it requires great skill and dexterity to manipulate such tiny elements. The clasp of the necklace is formed of polished onyx, pink gold and diamonds, while the triangular sections that attach the cordonnet to the top and bottom of the case are also adorned with diamonds set in pink gold on a black onyx background. With over 3,000 diamonds, the gemsetting on the Reverso Secret Necklace requires over 300 hours of meticulous work by the artisans of the Métiers Rares atelier.

May 17, 2023