Bucking the current trend in replica watchmaking where ‘old’ is hot, but ‘too-old’ is not, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Replica spent the year celebrating its 85th birthday with the Tribute Calendar announced at SIHH 2016 – a fully modern, yet carefully preserved icon that we recently had a chance to experience in 18k rose gold. An absolutely gorgeous dual faced replica watch, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Calendar replica watch will make enthusiasts drool. Even those a little more weary of the ubiquitous Reverso will likely understand that the execution of replica watches like this one is exactly why the line has come to define Jaeger-LeCoultre, for better or worse.
85 years is a long time. For perspective, in 1931 when the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso debuted as an early truly purpose-built ’sport’ replica watch, Herbert Hoover was president of the United States and a loaf of bread cost 8 cents. And in all that time since, the Reverso has largely escaped major alteration to its double-sided swiveling case construction and art deco design language, yielding one of those impossibly classic replica watches that just never gets old – quite literally and figuratively. And while it’s awfully easy to lose count of the myriad of versions we’ve seen over the years, one thing is certain – the Reverso is a veritable time capsule, beloved and readily counted amongst the ranks of other icons like the Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster Professional, or the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak – only this replica watch predates the aforementioned by multiple decades each.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Calendar Replica is built around the familiar vertical portrait-shaped case shape. Given the overall complexity of the hand-wound Caliber 853 triple calendar movement within and the obvious contemporary desire for larger cases, the size grows even from the Large Duoface’s 47mm by 28mm dimensions to 49.4mm tall by 30mm wide. In terms of thickness, the replica watch sits a reasonable 10.9mm high. Really, the joy of a Reverso like this comes in the dual faces and world class finishes. It really sits in a class of its own without any real peers, and I have a feeling a lot of people are going to drool over this replica watch. Even those people who, somewhat correctly, feel that JLC is reliant on the Reverso to the point of interchangeability will agree that this replica watch is a good reason why.
The 853 manifests itself in two dial executions on the Tribute Calendar – foremost with the silver ‘front’ dial of the replica watch which exhibits a split day/month aperture and a moonphase indicator with a pointer date surround at 6:00. It’s more information than most might be used to seeing in such a small amount of real estate but it remains extremely well-balanced, thanks to textbook applications of symmetry and contrast between the beveled dauphine hands, applied rose gold markers, and the beautiful silvered texture of the dial itself. And speaking of that silver dial, it acts as an antidote, counterbalancing the rose gold’s warm tones with a cold, refined masculinity that’s just a pleasure to behold – something that few rose gold replica watches can lay claim to.
Before we flip the replica watch over, let me discuss the movement itself for a moment – the hand-cranking 853 hums along at a relatively low 3 Hertz, or 21,600 vibrations per hour, granting a power reserve of around 45 hours. On paper, higher oscillations are always more of a pleasure to behold, but since there’s no running seconds hand on this Reverso, there’s no visual indicator that the replica watch is running at a lower speed. Granted, we get a moonphase indicator instead, so it’s hardly a terrible trade-off.