When the Chinese New Year rang in earlier this month, it ushered in the Year of the Tiger – one of the most beloved zodiac signs. We witnessed luxury brands creating stunning works of Year of the Tiger art pieces for the wrist and a host of the Swatch Group brands did the same. Even TAG Heuer weighed in with its take on the Year of the Tiger. Now, the legendary brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre brings the Year of the Tiger to the forefront with one of the most iconic timepieces of the last century: the Reverso.
The tiger signifies fortune and confidence and people born under this sign are said to possess confidence, ambition and courage. They are also known to have an innate sense of justice. This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates this fierce yet loved jungle cat with its newest Métiers d‘ Arts Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger” watch.
The watch not only signals the new year, but also the opening of the brand’s Shanghai boutique. Fashioned first in 1931, the swiveling cased Reverso – with dual dials – has become an icon in watchmaking history. While the dial of the 18-karat gold watch that displays the time is a striking black opaque Grand Feu enamel with gold markers, it is the reverse side that steals the heart.
Engraved onto the pink gold metal case, a striking tiger – jaws open and teeth bared – seems to jump out of nowhere in a pounce mode and grand glory. The magnificent creature is crated using engraving with multiple-sized chisels and Grand Feu enameling. The chisel work is extremely time consuming and meticulous and lays out the individual hairs of the tiger in all their beauty. Each and every tiger engraving takes more than 55 hours of devoted and painstaking work.
The addition of the enameling means that multiple firing processes are required, along with multiple paintings, to achieve the deep luster and richness. The enamel work alone takes another 20-plus hours of skilled craftsmanship.
All of this work is carried out in the Atelier’s top floor, where painting, guilloche, enamel, engraving, gem setting and other arts are held sacrosanct. Because of the amount of work that goes into the making of each and every watch – powered by the Manufacture Caliber 822A/2, manually wound movement – each timepiece is made to order. Each can also be personalized with different enamel colors. As seen here, the watch retails for 90,000 Euro and the US price is calculated on the day of the sale due to fluctuations in exchange rates.