The roots of the world’s first sports watch can be traced back to India. Take a trip with us “reverse-o” in time to find out the Indian connection behind every watch collector’s crown jewel. 

During 1930, when India was still under British Raj, a certain Swiss businessman and watch collector César de Trey was in attendance of a polo match at a British Army Officer’s club.

Due to the aggressive physical nature of the sport, it was nearly impossible to keep a player’s wristwatch in one piece after the end of the game.

Upon hearing that Trey was in the audience, one officer approached him with his shattered watch and challenged him to build a watch sturdy enough to withstand the hostility of a polo match. Trey accepted the challenge and reached out to his friend Jacques-David LeCoultre.

Jacques-David LeCoultre was the owner of LeCoultre manufacture. LeCoultre agreed to provide their in-house movement to build Trey’s unique prototype and reached out to his old business partner Edmond Jaeger, owner of the firm Jaeger S.A.

Upon discussing the idea and the unique challenges that came with it, Edmond suggested his most trusted artist, French designer René-Alfred Chauvot.

Less than a year later, on 4th March 1931 at 1:15 pm, René-Alfred Chauvot officially filed the patent of his invention of a “wristwatch which can slide on its base and flip over on itself” at the National Industrial Property Institute, Paris. The iconic “Reverso” watch was born.

Reverso was an elegant watch with a dial that could flip, protecting it from shocks while offering a case back with a generous surface that could be used for personalization.

The original design of Reverso was 38 mm long, 24 mm large and 6 mm thick with only the hour and minute hands. The backs of the watches were personalized with engravings or enamel miniatures.

One of the rarest creations featured the portrait of a beautiful Indian lady, probably a Maharani of India of the time, whose story and identity remains one of the best-kept secrets in the history of the company.

The elegant and sophisticated response to a technical challenge, the Reverso established itself as a piece of classic art that to this date, constantly inspires the watchmakers, artists, and inventors around the world, making it a must have for every collector.