Photoessay: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Latitude

Not a commercial job, but one of those watches I’d personally encountered once, a long time ago in 2003, but was unable to afford at the time. Nevertheless, it left an impression on me, and from the time I did have the money to spare, I’ve been hunting one down. The problem is that they were very rare to begin with – I believe just 150 pieces were made – and with a very unique and beautiful dial; consequently, they’re rarer than hen’s teeth, and I’ve only ever seen one offered for sale new, and a grand total of zero on the secondary market. On my last trip to the factory, I did ask on the off chance that there was an unsold piece or two in the stockroom; there wasn’t.

On the way back to Kuala Lumpur, I passed by the watch shop in the airport without a second thought; after all, I was late for my flight at that point and had to run. Something compelled me to take a quick look; in a display case hiding behind a pillar was the very watch I’d been searching out for years. Some hasty negotiation ensued – it was obviously a new old stock piece bearing the marks of rough handling, but still sold as new with warranty – they were nice enough to give me a hefty discount and an additional strap. My wallet was suitably lightened, and I just managed to make my flight.

It’s a small watch by today’s standards, but is very thin (and of course mechanical) and pairs perfectly with a suit. The original Reversos were double sided with a blank metal case back, ostensibly to protect the watch while its wearer played polo; these days they’re either used as a second dial for complications, or a canvas for an engraving or art piece. I’m thinking of getting a Hokusai wave enameled on the back, but I’m in no hurry; these things are like tattoos; once it’s on, it’s for life.

If this story isn’t an example of fate and patience, I’m not sure what is. It seems that good things do come to those who wait. MT

This series shot with a Nikon D800E, SB900s, AFS 60/2.8 Micro and Zeiss ZF.2 2/50 Makro-Planar.

_8016093 copy

_8016078 copy

_8016036 copy

_8015995 copy

_8016086 copy

_8016060 copy

_8016089 copy

_8016014 copy

_8015972 copy

_8015953 copy

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. Hi there,
    I’m also looking for the same watch… I love the blue color, would you know where I could find it new ?
    Cheers,

  2. Pip Keith says:

    Wow, same as mine. What it that lovely blue strap though? JLC?

  3. Hi Ming, does this model have the reference number 270.84.81 or 270.84.01? Cheers, A

  4. Ming – again, wonderful images. I really dig the color combo of this watch.
    Question (please) re: micro lenses: Did you ever use the 105mm micro on a APS-C Nikon? If so, was it in anyway compromising compared to the 60mm (with these type of images)?

  5. Matthew D says:

    Beautiful watch…amazing art. And of course, perfectly shot. Has anyone made those points yet? :-)

  6. A beautiful watch and awesome pictures – perfection :-).

  7. Exquisite.

    (This comment from somebody whose most expensive watch is a plastic Swatch and who couldn’t possibly wear something like what’s pictured and not feel like he would have to encase his entire left arm in armor to protect the watch for the evening he had it on.)

  8. A JLC Reverso has been on my watch list. I hope when you return from your holiday you can write a bit about your in studio lighting. I know shiny objects are hard to light properly and you are masterful!

  9. Congrats Ming! Sounds like a tough find.
    Let me know if you see one of these there for a good deal:


    ;)

    • If you’re serious, I can introduce you to Peter personally…

      • Considering the cheapest watch of his I could find was $28k, some being ~$100k, I guess I need to take out a second mortgage to afford one.
        They are true works of art and it must have been a blast to get to photograph them for Peter!
        Would be cool to see his workplace in Rolle.
        Photoworkshop in Rolle? :)

  10. John Kennekam says:

    You mentioned that it was showing signs of rough handling? Did you have it refurbished?

    • On the back – which I didn’t photograph. It’s still under warranty though, so I’ll send it in for a service and polish before the two years are up. I was told by JLC that it’s not a big deal and should be quite easily fixable.

  11. The wave pattern in the dial was the “special” part?

    Only blue or are they other variations as well?

  12. Beautiful watch! Drool!
    So, no problem with moire?

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  1. [...] A Few Random Morning Links … August 28, 2012By adminPhotoessay: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Latitude – Ming Thein [...]

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