Just in time for the highly anticipated Reverso Pop-Up Exhibit in New York, Jaeger-LeCoultre has revealed two exceptional Métiers d’ arts masterpieces in its iconic Reverso collection. These exquisite hand-enameled timepieces pay tribute to the renowned 19th-century Japanese artist, Hokusai, and his timeless works. Both watches feature hand-painted depictions of waterfalls found in the Japanese countryside. The debut of these artistic marvels coincides with the opening of the immersive Reverso Pop-Up Exhibit in New York, titled “Reverso Stories,” scheduled to run from November 3rd to November 22nd at Iron 23.
In fact, for the pre-opening of The Reverso Stories exhibition at IRON 23, the brand held a grand event, with global ambassadors for Jaeger-LeCoultre Lenny Kravitz, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult attending, along wit hModel Maya Stepper, Actor Aldis Hodge, DJ Brendan Fallis, Eric Rutherford and more.
In tribute to the origins of the Reverso at the height of the Prohibition era, and to its Art Deco design, the 1931 Café was transformed into a speakeasy for the evening, with music by DJ Isaac Likes. Also present were Korean artist Yiyun Kang and “World’s Best Pastry Chef” Nina Métayer, both of whom created projects for the exhibition under Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Made of Makers program – a series of artistic partnerships that expands the dialogue between watchmaking and other art forms.
Created by Jaeger-LeCoultre as part of its mission to expand the cultural conversation around design and watchmaking, Reverso Stories offers visitors a deep immersion into the creative and cultural universe of this icon of watch design through more than 90 years since its birth in 1931.
The two watches in question are breathtaking reproductions of woodblock prints created by Hokusai: “The Waterfall at Ono on the Kisokaido Road” and “The Waterfall Where Yoshitsune Washed His Horse at Yoshino in Yamato Province.” These stunning artworks originate from a series of eight ukiyo-e style paintings titled “A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces,” produced by Hokusai in the mid-1800s.
Artistry on Both Sides
One of the remarkable features of these timepieces is their reversible design. On one side, you will find the watch dial, featuring guilloché and Grand Feu enameling, while on the reverse side, the miniature paintings shine in all their glory.
The Waterfall at Yoshino watch draws inspiration from a Japanese legend in which a General paused to rest his horse during the mid-1100s. The waterfall is depicted in a way that conveys the sheer power of the water coursing through the valley, surrounded by vibrant trees. The dial side of this timepiece boasts a lozenge-shaped guilloche dial adorned with a rich green translucent Grand Feu enamel.
The Waterfall at Ono, on the other hand, portrays famous waterfalls along the ancient road to Kyoto. The falls cascade straight down between two towering cliffs, and the painting features a small Shinto shrine with onlookers gazing at the falls. The dial side of this watch boasts the same richly hued Grand Feu enamel but features a traditional barleycorn guilloche pattern.
Exquisite Craftsmanship and Dedication
Jaeger-LeCoultre is renowned for its dedication to Métiers Rares™ and has a specialized department within its Le Sentier, Switzerland, workshops devoted to this art. The meticulous dedication and technique required to paint such intricate miniatures on the case backs are awe-inspiring. It involves applying a minimum of 14 layers of enamel, each of which must be meticulously fired before moving on to the next level. This process is fraught with potential pitfalls, as improper firing can result in bubbles or marks. In total, it takes approximately 80 hours to complete one of these masterpieces, and the paintings are created to a scale of one-tenth of the original works.
For the dial side, Jaeger-LeCoultre combines its intricate hand guilloche tradition with Grand Feu enamel painting, which demands painstaking precision. The creation of the lozenge-shaped barleycorn pattern for the Waterfall at Yoshino watch alone requires more than eight hours of painstaking work. The layering, firing, and drying of the enamel demand another eight hours, distributed over the course of a week.
Both Reverso Tribute watches are crafted in 18-karat white gold and house the manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 822. These exceptional timepieces are produced in an extremely limited quantity, with only ten of each being made. These watches are a testament to the timeless artistry and dedication that Jaeger-LeCoultre has consistently represented in the world of horology.
These extraordinary creations are not just watches; they are works of art, showcasing the delicate balance of craftsmanship and innovation that Jaeger-LeCoultre embodies. Don’t miss the chance to witness these masterpieces in person at the Reverso Pop-Up Exhibit in New York.