JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième

Jaeger-le-Coultre Reverso Tribute Nonantieme

If you want to read the official press release for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest creation, head over to dmarge.com. It’s not a word-for-word regurgitation, but the Australian watch blog’s ode to the JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième – Benedict Cumberbatch’s New Jaeger-leCoultre is the Ideal Gentlemen’s Watch – made me distinctly queasy. Not that I’m against blow jobs per se . . .

Benedict Cumberbatch

The 44-year-old star of Sherlock, Doctor Strange and The Imitation Game is widely considered one of the most talented and versatile actors alive today, as well as the veritable model of an English gentleman: well-spoken, refined, and with impeccable taste. Like any gentleman worth their salt, he has an interest in fine timepieces – so it’s no surprise that in 2018, he formalised a relationship with Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of the world’s finest and most refined watchmakers.

Are we to suppose that Mr. Cumberbatch was into Jaeger-leCoultre’s “fine timepieces” before their people contacted his people and mentioned the possibility of depositing large amounts of lucre into his bank account? Puh-lease. While I admire the actor’s work, when it comes to his JLC ambassadorship, the boarding school syndrome survivor (exiled at the age of eight) is no less a pimp than dmarge writer Jamie Weiss.

JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième front

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, it’s time to face facts: the JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième is a truly astounding watch. In both design and execution, the two-faced timepiece takes ye olde Reverso to new heights. Well, maybe not so new. Sherman, set the wayback machine to 1931 . . .

That’s when French designer René-Alfred Chauvot engineered the Reverso’s rear-to-front caseback to protect the watch from errant polo mallets. As the Reverso entered the world of high fashion, Jaeger’s customers exploited the rear’s blank canvas with personalized engravings. JLC upped the ante – and assured the model’s longevity – by commissioning elaborate “hidden” decoration. (I suspect there are X-rated versions out there, somewhere).

Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque

Having [barely] survived the Quartz crisis, JLC targeted mechanical watch aficionados with a veritable farrago of Reverso complications: date hand, tourbillon, minute repeater, retrograde chronograph, dual time zone, perpetual calendar, big date, power reserve indicator, day/night indicator, Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, etc.

In 1994, in a unique display of horological bravado, JLC fitted the watch with two movements and dials: the Reverso Duoface. The trend reached its zenith (nadir?) with the three-dial Reverso Grande Complication a Triptyque and the four face Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque (above). This is not the polo watch you’re looking for. Neither is the new Reverso Tribute Nonantième, obviously.

JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième reverse

But the RTN is something of a shout out to the original watch – a variation of the Tribute Reverso. Which somehow forgot that the first Reverso didn’t have a small seconds subdial. Not to mention the fact that the JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième dials-up a big date and moonphase indicator. Anyway, it’s the RTN’s flip side that elevates this bad boy to Cumberbatch-level artistry.

I’m not sure if the design is Art Deco, Moorish or Masonic. But I am sure it’s moody, mysterious and mythical. Practical, too. Executed with the kind of fanatical attention to detail that leaves us wondering – again, still – when Jaeger-LeCoultre will kick Audemars “Black Panther” Piguet to the curb and assume its rightful place in the Swiss watchmaking world’s Holy Trinity.JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième money shot

“The Reverso Tribute Nonantième is so special because the front is really understated but there is complexity and visual drama on the reverse side. I can keep it hidden for my own pleasure or show it when I want to.”

That’s some serious boarding school humor right there. Good on you Benjy for slipping that one in. (So to speak.) I’d be happy to slip the JLC Reverso Tribute Nonantième onto my wrist – if I had a spare $40,500 plus tax lingering in my bank account.

Then again, if I wanted two very different watch faces, I’d buy two very different watches. And I’m still captivated by the possibility of having something pithy and private engraved on a smooth Reverso caseback. I reckon I’d go with my alma mater’s motto: “For the Honor of Truth” Or something equally pretentious. I wonder what dmarge’s Mr. Weiss would choose. I recommend “love for sale.”

9 comments

  1. Invicta has a line of affordable “reverso” watches. I can’t remember if they are automatic or not. They do run big though (50 mm), and probably sit pretty high.

    I do like the look and the ethic though. Expensive, but tasteful.

  2. Wait, JLC can cram some dual-sized moonphase and date movement on a swivel bed into less than 12mm of thickness? Apparently water resistance is fattening up watches big time.

    For everyone else with poor French literacy, Nonantième means Ninetieth. Happy 90th birthday, JLC Reverso!.

    Lastly I must recommend Mr. Cumberbatch in “August: Osage County” where towards the end, after Julia Roberts tackles Meryl Streep, we find that his character is unwittingly seeking to marry his [spoiler alert].

  3. Having actually interviewed Cumberbatch, he’s actually a bit of a watch aficionado. Of course JLC are slinging him the big bucks, but it’s actually not a completely corporate dealio.

    Glad to see you’re still reading DMARGE xoxo

    1. Of course Mr. Cumberbatch is a watch aficionado. The question is: was JLC on his radar before they slung him the big bucks? Equally, was that quote part of a carefully vetted press release? I’d bet dollars to donuts he didn’t own a JLC before he went on their payroll and your article was based entirely on a press release, using much of the same verbiage. If I’m wrong, cut and paste it here.

      1. Give me some more credit than that, mate 🙂 If you’d like me to forward you the press release I’d be happy to do so privately, although I’d be surprised if you hadn’t already got it.

  4. a veritable farrago of Reverso complications: date hand, tourbillon, minute repeater, retrograde chronograph, dual time zone, perpetual calendar, big date, power reserve indicator, day/night indicator, Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, etc.

    LOL! Bonus points for the use of “farrago” and Iron Dome!

    But, can it defend against “sharks with lasers?”

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