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Jaeger-LeCoultre Unveils Exquisite Art Deco-Inspired Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Collection for 2024

Immediately recognizable by its swivelling, rectangular case, the Reverso is iconic in watchmaking – able to be worn with either of its two sides facing outwards. On the monoface models, the blank pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats) case-back naturally offers itself as a canvas for artistic expression, inviting the artisans of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Métiers Rares™ atelier to exhibit their exceptional skills in the decorative crafts and jewellery techniques.

 

In 2021, the Maison introduced the sparkling Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ series, uniting the codes of fine watchmaking, artistic crafts and High Jewellery. For 2024, La Grande Maison enriches the collection with three new models in pink gold, that bring fresh color, sophistication and glamour to the collection. Offered in a limited edition of 10 pieces each, these exquisite timepieces unite the artistic crafts of enamelling, gold-leaf paillonnage and gem-setting.



Art Deco inspiration expressed through vivid colour


Inspired by the design of the Reverso, which was created in 1931 at the height of the Art Deco period, the three new pieces celebrate the exuberant spirit of Tropical Art Deco. Enjoying its heyday during the 1930s, it is characterised by the sleek lines of Streamline Modern architecture set against a backdrop of lush vegetation and vividly coloured flowers. Abundant examples of the original style still survive in cities from Singapore to Cuba to Mumbai and, most famously, Miami.



A complex dance of artistry and craft to create objects of rare beauty


The restrained elegance of the Reverso One dial design is a perfect foil for the rich and colourful decoration of the cases: on a background of white mother-of-pearl, gold brackets define the four corners of the dial, creating a frame within which the numerals, in the signature Reverso One font, are set. Grain-set diamonds decorate the gadroons and lugs and the winding crown is adorned with a reverse-set diamond.


The new designs give full rein to the artistry and diverse skills of the Métiers Rares™ atelier, with several artisans collaborating in a carefully orchestrated process over the course of many weeks and months. The floral designs wrap seamlessly around the case-sides, from the back to the bezel, involving curves and angles that add a high degree of complexity to the artisans’ work.

 

Champlevé (which literally means ‘raised field’) is one of the oldest decorative enamelling techniques. To begin with, sections of the flat metal surface of the case are hollowed out to leave an outline of the desired motif. The enameller then begins painting the details and tonal nuances of the design into the remaining wells and troughs with enamel, one layer at a time – in varying combinations of transparent and opaque enamels to achieve the desired effect. Research into the colours – a long process of trial and error because of the way that enamel pigments react at high temperatures – took more than 50 hours, before the work could even begin.

 

These new ‘Precious Flowers’ designs further elevate the craft of enamelling by combining it with paillonnage. Tiny pieces of 24-carat gold leaf are cut to the exact shape and size of the pattern to be filled in. After a clear layer of fondant enamel has been completed, the enameller takes these tiny fragments and fixes them into place, modelling them to fit the desired space perfectly. Only then can the process of working with the coloured enamel begin.


The cases require 10 or more firings, each one building the intensity and depth of colour. Grand Feu enamelling requires many years of experience as well as great technical skill because the outcome is unpredictable: firing at temperatures up to 800º Centigrade changes the chemistry of some pigments and only with many years of experience can an enameller predict whether the final colours will be as desired. While every firing increases the beauty of the piece it also increases the risk: the enamel may bubble or crack; it may burn and shrink; or the metal base may warp.

 

On designs with diamond-set backgrounds, the gem-setting can begin only after the enamel work is completed, adding to the delicacy and complexity of the task. Indeed, combining enamelling and gem-setting is a delicate dance between the artisans: while firing hardens the gold, the gem-setter requires soft metal, so the challenge is to find the ideal balance.

 

At any point during enamelling or gem-setting, the slightest mistake could destroy countless hours of work. These are process that cannot be rushed and that is what makes these decorative crafts so intriguing, going a long way to explaining why they are so highly prized.



Three new models celebrating the beauty of tropical flowers


Birds of Paradise – which symbolises freedom and joy in the language of flowers – captures the brilliant colouring and strongly geometric shape of the eponymous flower in a new twist on traditional Grand Feu champlevé enamelling. Once the first step is completed – hollowing the outline of the design from the flat gold surface of the case-back – tiny pieces of 24-carat gold leaf are cut to exact shape and size of certain sections of the flower then painstakingly fixed into place. This gold leaf underlay lends texture and exceptional brilliance to the orange and golden tones. Then the enameller begins the delicate process of applying the 19 different colours of enamel pigment, painting it to create nuances of tone and an impression of volume.

 

As many as nine layers of enamel are applied, requiring 60 hours of work. The rich colours of the flowers and leaves are complemented by the sparkle of snow-set diamonds that form the background. A challenging technique, snow-setting uses stones of nine different sizes and the setter must, in effect, work “freehand”, choosing and placing the stones so that not even a millimetre of the metal surface remains – the objective being to create a seamless expanse of sparkle. The Birds of Paradise timepiece is set with approximately 331 diamonds for a total of 1.64 carats – 65 hours of gem-setting work – and is fastened to the wrist with a strap in shiny green alligator leather, custom-dyed to perfectly match the green leaves. Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Birds of Paradise represents a total of 125 hours of Métiers RaresTM work.



Hibiscus Enamel showcases the quintessential tropical flower – which symbolises beauty and wisdom – reinterpreting it in colours reminiscent of a sun-kissed lagoon. For the first time on a Métiers Rares™ Reverso One, the entire background is Grand Feu enamel, wrapping around the convex case-sides to frame the dial. The delicately drawn flowers and foliage are Grand Feu champlevé enamel – their nuanced details requiring 12 colours of enamel, applied in nine layers. Harnessing the meticulous craft of paillonnage, the golden stamens are highlighted with tiny pieces of 24-carat gold leaf set beneath the enamel. The beautiful tones of blue and green enamel are enhanced by the sparkle of diamond-set gadroons and lugs – a total of approximately 157 diamonds for 1.25 carats. Together, the 50 hours of enamelling and 22 hours of gem-setting represent a total of 72 hours of decorative craft work. The shiny blue alligator leather strap was custom-dyed to perfectly complement the tones of the flowers.



Hibiscus Diamonds unites the crafts of enamelling, paillonnage and diamond-setting in a sparkling rendition of the exotic hibiscus flower. The subject of 12 trials of colour research to achieve the desired shades and subtle graduation, the blue flowers were created in Grand Feu champlevé enamel, requiring 30 hours of work. The stamens of the flowers are highlighted with 24-carat gold leaf set beneath the enamel and, as on the Birds of Paradise watch, a background of snow-set diamonds creates a brilliant contrast with the richly coloured flowers and leaves. Together with the grain-set diamonds on the gadroons and lugs – a total of approximately 523 diamonds for 2.02 carats – the gem-setting represents 120 hours of work. The Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ Hibiscus Diamonds requires 150 hours of Métiers RaresTM craftsmanship in total.

 

These pieces, created by the hands of exceptionally talented artisans, are indeed precious jewels and, naturally, they merit fine mechanisms. As testament to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s mastery of technical watchmaking, the new Reverso One ‘Precious Flowers’ timepieces are fitted with the hand-wound Calibre 846.

 

To be made in an edition of just 10 pieces of each design, every one of these miniature works of art is subtly different – their fine detailing and nuanced colour palettes the product of each artisan’s particular gestures, expressing their passion and personality, as well as their remarkable skill.



TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – BIRDS OF PARADISE


Case: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)

Watch dimensions: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm

Calibre: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846

Power reserve: 38 hours

Functions: Hours and minutes

Dial: Mother-of-pearl

Case-back: Grand feu champlevé enamel and snow-set diamonds

Diamonds: approximately 331 brilliant-cut diamonds for 1.64 carats

Strap: shiny green alligator

Reference: Q3292421

Production: Limited edition of 10 pieces


REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – HIBISCUS ENAMEL


Case: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)

Watch dimensions: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm

Calibre: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846

Power reserve: 38 hours

Functions: hours and minutes

Dial: mother-of-pearl

Caseback: Grand feu champlevé enamel

Diamonds: 157 brilliant-cut diamonds for 1.25 carats

Strap: shiny blue alligator

Reference: Q3292422

Production: Limited edition of 10 pieces


REVERSO ONE ‘PRECIOUS FLOWERS’ – HIBISCUS DIAMONDS


Case: Pink gold 750/1000 (18 carats)

Watch dimensions: 40 x 20mm; thickness 9.09 mm

Calibre: Manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846

Power reserve: 38 hours

Functions: hours and minutes

Dial: mother-of-pearl

Caseback: Grand feu champlevé enamel and snow-set diamonds

Diamonds: approximately 523 brilliant-cut diamonds for 2.02 carats

Strap: shiny blue alligator

Reference: Q3292423

Production: Limited edition of 10 pieces


ML Staff. Courtesy of Jaeger‑LeCoultre








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