There’s a wonderful line delivered by Benecio del Toro’s character (Fred Fenster) in Usual Suspects , whereby he tells the cops interrogating him: “He’ll flip ya. He’ll flip ya fer real.” It’s enough to put us in stiches, laughing heartily till we spill our Burgundy all over our bloated bellies. But the reason why we cast our minds back to a lazy Saturday movie night is a flip of a different kind. Not a metaphorical one, but a mechanical flip that you can still hear on wrists all over the cultivated world today…
Happy 80th birthday, dearest Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso!!
For it was on March 4 at precisely 1315 that René-Alfred Chauvot strolled into the Paris-based National Industrial Property Institute (INPI)) and officially patented his invention for a “wristwatch which can slide on its base and flip over on itself.” In November 1931, after having secured all the rights to the invention of the Reverso from Alfred Chauvot, together with Jacques-David LeCoultre, César de Trey founded a company called Spécialités Horlorgères, with the aim of manufacturing and selling this revolutionary flipping watch.
This really was a flip that would resonate across the decades, successfully surviving different sizes, complications, wars, aggressive polo matches and, worst of all, the ownership of your typical hard-drinking British lout (take a bow, Prodigal Fool!).
It truly is extraordinary to us how the Reverso has remained utterly timeless, simple, elegant and still totally relevant to watch lovers and Prodigal munchkins everywhere. And while Jaeger-LeCoultre have created library-sized tributes to their seminal horological contribution (those guys can write and write…), we want to get straight to the point: the Reverso just may hold the title of the world’s greatest wristwatch.
Yeah, we just lost all hopes of any other brand sponsoring the damned site. But hey! We thought it more important to be honest and true to our two readers and together dream about the mechanical flip that will no doubt be with us all for another 80 years.
Reverso, baby, you flip us fer real. Happy 80th birthday!