The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch—which famously swivels on its base—is undoubtedly an "it" watch. Not as flashy as a Cartier Panthère (another current “it” watch) and quirkier than any Rolex, it's a model that inspires lust amongst hardcore watch lovers. The Art Deco-inspired watch first debuted in 1931 on the polo fields of India: its maker wanted to create a timepiece that could be flipped over to protect its face while playing polo. 

Now Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of Swiss watchmaking’s most revered ateliers, is inviting timepiece lovers to get to know the Reverso through an immersive exhibition that opens today in New York City. 

The carefully constructed exhibit, entitled Reverso Stories, was created in 2021 to mark the 90th anniversary of the timepiece, but its Manhattan opening marks its North American debut. Its timing is intentional: Reverso Stories is part of the marketing effort supporting Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new flagship boutique on Madison Avenue. 

Reverso watch
Above and below: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso timepieces
Gold Reverso watch

The retrospective walks visitors through nine decades of Reverso “stories,” revealing the craftsmanship, innovation, and design behind the timepiece. Four key themes run through the exhibit: Story of an Icon, Style and Design, Innovation, and Craftsmanship, which pays tribute to the engravers, gem-setters, enamellers and guillochage masters of the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares (Jaeger LeCoultre’s atelier solely dedicated to rare finishing techniques). 

The exhibit includes an immersive digital art installation by Korean artist Yiyun Kang; a space devoted to the video series In the Making, which details the 180 crafts practiced in the manufacturing of Reverso watches; a room dedicated to Japanese artist Hokusai, whose works have been reproduced in Reverso timepieces; the 1931 Café serving an Art Deco-inspired menu of pastries designed by award-winning French pastry chef Nina Metayer; and hands-on watchmaking “discovery workshops.”

Historic Reversos are on display, naturally. As are the very latest models—the 2023 Reversos that debuted at the tony Watches and Wonders trade show in Geneva earlier this year. A bonus: two new Reverso Tribute Enamel models that will be launched in the NYC flagship some time before the exhibit ends on Nov. 22.

Reverso Stories runs from Nov. 3-22 at IRON 23, 29 W. 23rd Street, NYC. Entry is open to the public and free of charge. Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays