Back in the early 20th century, British polo players in India were faced with a challenge: how could they play without smashing the crystals of their timepieces? This question birthed the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso back in 1931, and now, in celebration of the 90th anniversary of this revolutionary creation, the Swiss brand is debuting an exhibition and a café.
Dubbed ‘Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931’, the immersive exhibition will bring to life the backdrop into which the Reverso was born and the art deco period in a story that crisscrosses the globe. It will cover its history in detail in four chapters. The first is The Story of an Icon – a presentation of rarely seen archive materials alongside key Reverso models, from the very first 1931 piece to the newest Reverso Tribute timepiece. Visitors are invited to explore the manufacture through a film that celebrates the artistry of the timepiece makers themselves, following every step of the intricate creation process.
Next, visitors consider the model aesthetically, with a deep-dive into design. The Story of Style and Design looks at the rectangular shape and graphic lines that make the piece so quintessentially art deco. The original forms that the timepiece has taken since its conception are explored in The Story of Innovation which is an exploration of how it has developed since René-Alfred Chauvot submitted the first design to the Paris patent office. Finally, The Story of Craftsmanship celebrates the engravers, gem setters and enamellers who intertwine intricate watchmaking codes with high jewellery capabilities for exquisite pieces, miniature works of art in their own right.
As well as the exhibition, Jaeger-LeCoultre is revealing the specially commissioned Spacetime art installation by American artist Michael Murphy, which will be showcased in Europe for the first time and explores the physical dimensions of space and time in a heady journey delving into the inner workings of the Reverso.
To complete the experience, guests can submerge themselves in the art deco period at the 1931 Café, a monochrome tribute to the chic era, where Parisian pastry chef Nina Métayer delivers the treats.
“The idea of opening the café is to offer our guests the chance to immerse themselves fully in the style and ambience of the art deco period when the Reverso was born,” says Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Renier.
“We are partnering with Nina Métayer on the signature menu. Nina has designed the pastries not only to echo the art deco aesthetic but also to take guests on a journey to our home in the Vallée de Joux. The collaboration came as a fantastic encounter between two universes – fine watchmaking and pastry making – that both celebrate craftsmanship and artisans. The 1931 Café is a place where style meets craftsmanship.”
The exhibition will run from October 21 to December 24 2021, Tuesdays to Saturdays. It is free to the public, but you would have to register first. So, if you would be in Paris during this period, love everything about timepieces and would not mind a taste of fine dining, then Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931 just might be the place to be.