Jaeger-LeCoultre presents the latest episode in the story Reverso story: the Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger”, a remarkable expression of the Manufacture’s craftsmanship and creativity. Created to coincide with Chinese New Year and the opening of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new flagship boutique in Shanghai, the new timepiece pays tribute to the Year of the Tiger.
Once again, the blank surface of the case back is an ideal canvas for artistic expression, revealing a magnificent tiger. Engraved into the pink gold case metal, it seems to leap out from its background of black opaque Grand Feu enamel, the polished surface of the tiger’s coat and the contrasting rhodium-brushed texture of its stripes catching and refracting the light to create the illusion of movement and power.
To maximise the sense of volume and bring depth to the engraving, the artisan engraver used a technique called modelled engraving, using differently sized chisels to sculpt the metal step by step – a precise and exacting task that requires absolute focus and remarkable dexterity. Adding to the challenge of creating this interpretation of the Reverso Tribute Enamel, the engraver’s work began not, as is usual, with a bare metal surface but with one that already had its coat of Grand Feu enamel. An unprecedented accuracy of gesture is necessary in order to avoid all risk of damage to the pristine enamel, and the engraver devoted 55 working hours to the creation of this masterpiece.
The apparent simplicity of the pure black enamel is deceptive because in Grand Feu enamelling, the outcome of the firing process is never entirely predictable. Building up the enamel layers to create a black of such depth and richness, with each new layer followed by firing, the enamelling of the two surfaces of the Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger” required no less than 20 working hours. That they are perfectly matched in colour and purity is testament to exceptional skills that can be acquired only through many years of experience. Jaeger-LeCoultre remains one of very few watch Manufactures to have its own in-house enamelling atelier, safeguarding and advancing this ancient craft.
This new Reverso Tribute Enamel is testament to La Grande Maison’s vision of culture and creativity, where the artistic crafts live in perfect harmony with the technical expertise of the Manufacture’s watchmakers.