Better but bigger.
One of my favorite products from Watches & Wonders (W&W) is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph. Given the space constraints and commercial implications of developing a rectangular movement, complex Reversos are almost always interesting, and the Tribute Chronograph is no exception. cheap watches for men
The new chronograph is a recreation of one of the brand’s iconic watches from the 1990s. The original Reverso Chronographe Retrograde was launched in 1996 as a limited edition of 500 pieces in rose gold, while the Tribute Chronograph is a regular production watch, available in rose gold or steel. Both versions feature a sunray-brushed main dial and a partially skeletonized chronograph dial on the back.
As a fan of the original Reverso chronograph, I was delighted to see the concept brought to life. The key elements that made the original unique, namely the distinctive style of the two dials and the compact rectangular chronograph movement, have been retained and updated. Both the steel and rose gold versions are attractive, but the rose gold version is arguably the most alluring, with a gold-on-black finish reminiscent of vintage “gold-plated” dials.
That said, there are some trade-offs that make me hesitate. The large case of the Tribute Chronograph can be problematic for some wrists, and the simplified dial feels generic (whereas the original had a guilloché dial).
I also feel conflicted about exercise. On the one hand, it’s nice to see an ingenious building gain new life. Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC), on the other hand, is a brand that has built its reputation on technical ingenuity – it was historically a movement manufacturer rather than a watch brand – and thus its reliance on 27-year-old movements, updated And enhancements, though it may be, are somewhat of a dampener. cheap watches for sale
Overall, however, the Tribute Chronograph offers a compelling value proposition, especially when it comes to steel. JLC’s recent price increases for the Reverso range have been quite aggressive, and the Tribute Chronograph sits at the top of the price pyramid, at $21,400 in steel and $37,400 in rose gold. While recent price hikes may jeopardize the brand’s reputation for value, the Tribute Chronograph is still a great value watch when compared to other premium chronographs on the market.
In fact, there is nothing quite like it. There are very few watches that offer two distinct personalities in one watch, and those that do tend to be much more expensive. The closest competitor might be JLC’s own Reverso Classic Large Duoface, but the Duoface lacks the technical allure of a chronograph, and the contrast between its two faces is less clear-cut, both functionally and aesthetically.
Twenty-seven years in the making
The story of the Tribute Chronograph begins with the Reverso Chronograph Retrograde in 1996, one of six limited edition Reverso models launched between 1991 and 2000 to commemorate the model’s 60th anniversary. All featured complex movements housed in rose gold cases and guilloché dials with Arabic numerals, a look that was very much in keeping with the typical Reverso aesthetic of the time.
Square and rectangular fake swiss Watches tend to be less popular than round watches, making them a bigger statement when brands develop cases for such cases from the ground up. These complex movements form a key part of the limited-edition Reverso collection – each movement is specially developed for the compact Reverso Grande Taille case. This sends a strong signal to the industry that the JLC can and will do whatever it wants.
At the time, JLC was overseen by Günter Blümlein (1943-2001), a visionary who saw the brand’s unique technical prowess, thanks to its history as a movement manufacturer, as a key differentiator in a post-quartz environment . In all, the six complicated Reversos, along with later models like the Gyrotourbillon in 2005, helped raise the brand’s standing in the industry to where it is today.
While certainly a novel invention in the 1990s, the original Reverso chronograph may have actually been inspired by a prototype Movado built in 1939. Last seen in public more than thirty years ago, when the only example sold first at Sotheby’s and then at Antiquorum, the prototype was a double-face chronograph housed in a Reverso case, then Offered to various brands by case manufacturers.
Oddly enough, cal. The 829 in the original Reverso chronograph is often cited as the first integrated chronograph movement designed in the post-quartz era—a false assumption.
While this is undoubtedly an important milestone, the slim and refined Frédéric Piguet cal. 1180 predates calibration. The 829 was introduced around the late 1880s. But even if it’s not the first, cal. The 829 is a significant movement that helps to understand the aesthetic potential of technical watchmaking.
a fitting tribute
Given that the new chronograph is part of the “Tribute” collection, it is natural to compare it to the original. While functionally similar, they were aesthetically quite different, with the Tribute adopting the standard look of today’s Reverso luxury fake watches , with a clean style in keeping with the prevailing taste for minimalism.
While the original model featured an Art Deco dial with guilloché and blued-blade hands, the Tribute opted for a sunburst dial and dauphine hands that are now pretty much standard on the Reverso line. The look is certainly more modern, though it loses some of the charm of the original model, reminiscent of vintage Reverso watches from the 1930s.
One of the most notable differences between the new chronograph and the 1996 original is size: the volume of the case has increased by approximately 58%. The main reason for the increase is the case length, which has increased from 42mm to 49.4mm.
While still wearable, the larger size might be problematic for smaller wrists, especially given the elongated, flat form of the case. The lugs arch down to help with ergonomics, but it’s still a long case.
some mechanical adjustments
But since this is Jaeger-LeCoultre, there is a technical reason for the enlargement: to synchronize the secondary time display. Engineer for design calibration. The 1996 829 did such a good job of making it so compact that there was no room left to attach the movement piece to the back of the movement. Since the secondary time display on the back required an additional gear train to run around the components of the chronograph and main time display, a wider baseplate and larger movement were required.
With more breathing room, JLC took the opportunity to increase the power reserve to 52 hours, a 30 percent increase over the original. That said, it’s not known if the increase in runtime is due to the larger barrel, or simply a new mainspring with more coils and a premium alloy in the same size barrel.
More subtle improvements to the movement included relocating the off-centre adjustment screw used for adjustment to the edge of the movement for the watchmaker’s convenience.
The second time display means that the chronograph dial can also double as the main time display, making this watch almost two in one. An independently adjustable secondary time display would be better, allowing the watch to indicate a second time zone, but a secondary synchronized time display would still be a welcome addition.
Unfortunately, the new chronograph does away with the stop/run indicator on the original main dial, meaning the wearer needs to turn the watch over to see if the chronograph is running. While this results in a more minimalist dial that defines the current Reverso aesthetic, the indicator provides useful information that would otherwise be missed.
This is largely due to the construction of the movement, which relies on transverse coupling to drive the chronograph. Since such transversely coupled chronographs are not supposed to run all the time (which would increase the energy consumption of the mainspring and ultimately affect timekeeping), a stop/run indicator is used to notify the user of an unexpected start of the chronograph. The fan-shaped stop/run indicators also add a pleasing asymmetry and technical appeal to the original main dial, in my opinion. chronowrist.ru
On the plus side, cal. The 860 in the new chronograph does away with the date at six o’clock in the cal. The original 829. While the date window on the original is well integrated, it’s always been a secondary consideration when it comes to design; the unusual chronograph is the watch’s raison d’être. The lack of a date window makes aesthetic sense and further accentuates the difference between the main and sub-dials — minimalist on one side and minimalist on the other.
Finished on cal though finished to a similar high end industrial trim standard. 860 looks slightly more even and consistent than cal.860. 829. JLC has always used a neat machine finish on its products, which is superior to the equivalent movement at ETA and comparable to that of the Frédéric Piguet, located nearby, which was later integrated into the Blancpain. While this approach to finishing has remained consistent over the years, the brand has refined its methods and standards. The 860 demonstrates this progress.
Overall, the Reverso Tribute Chronograph lacks some of the eccentric charm of the original, but arguably makes up for it in the enhanced practicality of the extra time display on the chronograph side. Its larger size may dissuade some buyers, but technical and aesthetic updates allow it to stand up on its own merits—it’s not just another refurb on a vintage watch. It will appeal to Reverso fans and those who like unusual chronographs.
But literally, high quality and technical interest come at a price. Specifically, the steel Tribute Chronograph costs more than double the brand’s average retail price, according to Morgan Stanley’s 2022 estimates. While it’s not the absolute bargain that JLC once excelled at, many rival brands charge more for less. According to insiders, the Tribute Chronograph has proven popular as orders for the watch have outstripped first-year production. Review copy watch