1934 Vintage, Early LeCoultre Reverso Art Deco watch, cal 410 movement serviced, excellent and original.
This particular example is from 1934 according to the movement serial number. This was the first year in which the Reverso altered from its original design in 1931, by including a sub-second dial at 6 O'clock. It also features LeCoultres first in-house movement for the Reverso, the calibre 410. Before this a movement was sourced from Tavannes watch company.
It is a good example, in original condition which has been serviced. The hands have been re-lumed. The Ararbic numerals are in-filled with original Radium luminescent paint. Further condition report below.
The creation and journey of the Reverso:
The Reverso arose from a practical need. In the early 1930s, famous watch collector and businessman Cesar de Trey was travelling India, where he attended a polo match at a club of British Army officers. One of the officers had just broken his watch glass and challenged de Trey to create a watch that was sturdy enough to survive the hard hits of the sport.
De Trey then discussed this subject matter with Jacques-David LeCoultre, the owner of LeCoultre manufacture, who had a proficiency in movement manufacturing. LeCoultre appointed the firm Jaeger S.A to create the reversible case. Jaeger then tasked Rene-Alfred Chauvot to take charge of this development.
Original ideas circulated around the usage of a protective guard or grill over the face of the watch, much the same as those used on WW1 trench watches. Yet a more nuanced design was settled upon, with a reversible case that protected the dial and glass of the watch. They patented a concept for a watch that 'was able to slide out of its frame an turn around completely' on March 4th, 1931. The patent related to grooves, pins and a locking mechanism, of which the central part of the case rotates 180 degrees.
This allowed the design to mix elegance and practicality with no need for the aesthetics of the overall design to be compromised. Immediately after the patent was granted, LeCoultre began production with the Geneva based company, Wenger, manufacturing the cases.
The early dials mainly consisted of Art Deco Geometric forms, with minimalistic marked indexes and clear lumed sword hands or thiner thermally blued baton hands. The original model from 1931-1933 had only hours and minutes displayed. In 1934 LeCoultre introduced a version with a sub-second dial at six o'clock.
In 1937 Jaeger S.A. and LeCoultre merged to become Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Reverso quickly gained popularity outside the world of polo and sports. Instead of considering the solid metal caseback a protective shield, wearers saw this surface as a blank canvas and space to add a unique personality to their watches through customization, personal dedications, and self-expression. Using engraving, lacquer, and hammered gold-leaf, owners began adding initials, family crests, miniature paintings, and other tributes to their Reversos.
Tastes altered after WW2 with round watches becoming dominant in the market. The watch wasn't re-born until 1972, when Italian watch dealer Giorgio Corvo visited the Jaeger-LeCoultre factory, and noticed a stock of 200 NOS cases. He purchased these, had movements installed and sold every unit in Italy.
Spurred on by this, Corvo fed these details back to Jaeger-LeCoultre, who thought it may be a good idea to revive the model. In 1982, the Reverso was revived by JLC in a line of mainly quartz watches. The rest is history.
Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is in good overall condition for the age. There are no areas of unsightly patina on the dial. There is one scratch on the dial in the bottom left hand corner. The minute track is very clean, following the rectangular shape of the watches case. There is minimal wear to it.
The sub second dial is inset and is also rectangular, matching the minute track neatly. It marks 15, 30, 45 and 60 seconds with Arabic numerals, with dash markers for the intervals inbetween. The signing is all clear and in good condition. The numerals are Arabic with original Radium lume infill. There is some loss of lume, mainly on the 12 and 1 o'clock marker. The signing of LeCoultre on the dial is very clear and original in a beautiful font.
The hands are original and in good condition. They are thermally blued, in the "Dagger" style with new lume in-fill. Some signs of corrosion on the centre of the minute hand. The hands are un-bent.
Replacement crystal in perfect condition. No noticeable scratches.
The original crown in good condition with neat coin edge finish.
Polished case finish in good condition. Some light surface scratching but no deep scratching. This is an original finish and it has not been polished.
The back of the fixed case:
Stainless steel with grained back. The graining in good condition. Little wear to the signing on the case back, all text is clearly legible. There are three spots of corrosion on the case back as clearly seen in the case back image.
In good original condition. It has a personal engraving of the initials "CBC". It has only light surface scratching.
Inside case back:
The inside of the case back is signed: Brevete S.G.D.G. BREV.DEP LIVE.PAYS PATENTS APPL. FOR 14054
It is in good condition.
A new genuine leather strap with a Stainless Steel buckle of 1930s style.
Movement serial: 44423 -15 jewels - Unadjusted Recently serviced and functioning as it should.
Case width: 22.8mm
Case width with crown: 24mm
Case length: 32.5mm
Case Depth: 8mm
Case length lug to lug: 38.5mm
Lug width: 17mm