Jaeger-LeCoultre marks Reverso’s 90 years with new exhibition and café

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Paris exhibition, ‘Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931’ will explore the history of the iconic watch, and whisks visitors back in time to an art deco café

Watch with multiple faces
Spacetime by Michael Murphy
(Image credit: © Jaeger-LeCoultre)

A new Jaeger-LeCoultre exhibition in Paris is celebrating 90 years of the iconic Reverso watch. The immersive exhibition, ‘Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931’, which runs until December 2021, will bring to life the backdrop into which the Reverso was born, the art deco period, in a story that criss-crosses the globe.

The tale began in India, with polo players who were keen for a watch case which could be flipped over during a game, thus preventing damage. The exhibition delves into this history in detail in four chapters, with the first, ‘The Story of an Icon,’ presenting rarely seen archive materials alongside key Reverso models, from the very first 1931 piece to the newest Reverso Tribute watch. Visitors are invited to explore the manufacture through a film that celebrates the artistry of the watchmakers themselves, following every step of the intricate creation process.

Inside of a watch movement

‘The Story of Innovation’ – movement model

(Image credit: © Jaeger-LeCoultre)

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 explores how the watch 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.

‘Art deco has given Reverso a unique identity and timelessness,’ says Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Renier. ‘The style and the design of Reverso is a pure signature of this period. It is iconic and recognisable still today because of its symmetry, the lines, the curves, the golden ratio of its case.’

Black and white book

‘Story of Style and Design’

(Image credit: © Jaeger-LeCoultre)

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.

Taste of art deco at 1931 Café

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 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.’

Chocolate Cake Pastry

Pastry chef Nina Métayer at work

(Image credit: © Jaeger-LeCoultre)


‘Reverso: Timeless Stories Since 1931’ exhibition and the 1931 Café will be open Tuesday to Saturday, 21 October – 24 December 2021, at 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The exhibition is free to the public, but booking is recommended at exposition-reverso.com

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.