The Reverso Quadriptyque was " digitally " issued in April 2021, since there was no physical watch fair this year. So it took me some time to be able to see this new masterpiece in real life, which I could admire during a trip to the Manufacture in February 2022. And to be honest, it took me a longer time to fully understand it.
If we wanted to summarize this watch, we could say that it is the first horological creation to offer four sides, and to gather a minute repeater, a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, and a sophisticated astronomical complication with three different ways to depict the moon phase, which is another " first ".
Let's see all these details " in depth ", now.
1/ The Recto Dial displays the time, the tourbillon, and the perpetual calendar.
The time is very Reverso, with its dedicated rectangular sub dial, in the middle of the main dial. It offers a good legibility, due to the contrast between the blued hands and the white gold " clous de Paris " guilloché dial.
On the bottom left, the flying tourbillon offers a dynamic contrast with the peaceful perpetual calendar. Indeed, it is always bewitching to see a Tourbillon beating, while the perpetual calendar only moves once in 24 hours.
The perpetual calendar is complete, with the day, grande date, month, and leap year. A very important detail, all the calendar data instantaneously changes at midnight. They are not " crawling " till 3 or 4 AM. The leap year indicator is located at 1 o'clock, while the day and night indicator is at 11 o' clock.
The risk with all these informations in such a small place is that the dial could look too busy or messy. It is not the case here, they are all harmoniously located, at least in my opinion. And the perpetual calendar looks very legible, as you can judge by yourself.
2/ The Verso Dial is mainly dedicated to the Minute Repeater.
The minute repeater is the " pièce de choix " of the Verso Dial and gathers all the " knowhow " of the Manufacture about this prestigious complication:
- The welded gongs to the sapphire ( 2005 ).
- The Trebuchet Hammers you can see at the bottom right and left ( 2009 ).
- The silent regulator ( 2014 ) and the elimination of the gap between the hours, quarters and minutes.
The outcome is acoustically delicious. It is not the loudest Jaeger Lecoultre Minute Repeater I had the pleasure to listen to, but the richness is here, really convincing and pleasant.
If you want to choose the Verso Dial, you can. You will enjoy the show of the hammers in action, and you will also have the possibility of reading the time in an original way, with the jumping hour and the minutes displayed by a red arrow.
As for the recto dial, the verso is made of white gold, " clous de Paris " guilloché.
3 and 4/ The Recto and the Verso of the cradle are dedicated to Astronomy.
A challenge for Jaeger Lecoultre to devise such a complex astronomical watch, a challenge for most of us to fully understand it.
I must say that this is the part of the watch which impressed me the most, but I also have to confess that I have a huge passion for astronomical watches.
To make it simple, I will first post the explanations I received from Jaeger Lecoultre, then share the illustrations through the comments from my contact and some pictures I could take.
" - On the recto side of the cradle, you have the moon as you can see it from the Northern Hemisphere, depicted in three different ways: The Synodic, the Draconic and the anomalistic cycles, allowing you to know the age of the moon in a precision of one day each 1,111 years, the moment when the moon intersects with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and the varying distance between the Earth and the Moon ( Credit Jaeger Lecoultre for these explanations ).
- On the verso of the cradle, you have the moon phase from the Southern Hemisphere. "
For those of us, who, like me, don't know too much about astronomy, here are some concrete- and easier to understand- explanations:
- Dial bottom right à Position of the moon in relation to its orbit around the earth (which is elliptical).
- Dial bottom left à Position of the moon in relation to the earth-sun axis, also called the ecliptic plane.
- Dial at the top à Moon phase which is laser engraved.
- When the moon is full and aligned with the ecliptic plane there is a chance of an eclipse somewhere on earth - other factors are involved such as the moon-earth distance and the timing - for eclipses it requires a precision to the minute and our watch is indicating the lunar indications on 24 hours.
The tiny earth is hand painted, and the sun is hand engraved in pink gold.
An incredible piece of Beauty and Romantic.
5/ The Box.
You know I am always pesting against these big boxes which weigh a dead donkey and take too much space. But here, there is a function to the form, if I may say so.
The box comes with a built-in mechanism which allows the owner to quickly set all the calendar AND astronomical displays of the watch after a period of being unworn.
How does it work?
You have a drawer on the bottom of the box - totally mechanical - that allows you to set the watch - you enter the number of days which have elapsed since the watch stopped using the big two-position crown on the side of the box and then you change the position activate the crown and it automatically set the watch to the right date – including moon phases of course in blink of an eye – you just have to wind the watch and wear it.
The crown on the side of the box:
There is no risk of overcorrecting the watch or damaging the movement, since the entire process is controlled by the box corrector mechanism.
6/ The case
One could expect a totally unwearable watch with so many features and complications. We still have in mind the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 and the Reverso à Triptyque, which both are true pieces of Art and Genius, but, once once the ( normally sized ) wrist, the frustration comes, as fast as the perpetual calendar display changes at midnight... They are too big, too thick, and cannot be totally enjoyed.
The Reverso Quadriptyque is totally different, as this is a watch most of the wrist can enjoy. Indeed, the case is " only " 51, 2 mm big, 31 mm large, and 15, 15 mm high. In comparison, these dimensions are very close to the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, the Quadriptyque being 2, 7 mm thicker, though... Remarkable, given all the complications it houses.
The choice of white gold makes sense here. The sound of the minute repeater is always better with white gold rather than with a platinum case, and the weight is a tad less important.
To be complete on that matter, the case is water resistant to 30 meters, which is enough for most life situations with such a watch on the wrist.
7/ The movement.
The wizards at Jaeger Lecoultre took their time to think and to develop this movement: 6 years! They also filed 12 patents for the Calibre 185. Another important information: Do you know how long it takes to assemble all the 800 parts of the movement? 8 to 12 months.
In comparison, the power reserve of 50 hours seems " normal '' here.
The level of finishings of this marvel seems consistent with what we can expect.
In the press release, they stated that the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Quadriptyque Cal 185 was the most complicated ever made, with 11 complications. It seems that they forgot the Triptyque with its 18 or 19 complications! I wrote " it seems " since it depends on the way one calculates the number of complications.
8/ The buckle.
Even the buckle is sophisticated with a complex system which allows the wearer to set the length.
Conclusion and General thoughts.
No doubt about that, the Reverso Quadriptyque is a true technical and horological challenge. In the vein of the Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie, to give you an idea of what it really is.
Only very few brands can achieve such a challenge, and among them, Jaeger Lecoultre is one of the best at that game. No wonder why they are called the Watchmaker's watchmakers.
They needed to improve the finishing of their movements, though. And they did. Since the Gyrotourbillon One, it has been a long road, with a first significant step crossed with the Gyrotourbillon Two. This " Quadriptyque " belongs to these high quality creations.
I only see three issues here, but two big ones. The fact that the Quadriptyque is limited to 10 pieces only. 50 pieces would have been better. I know it takes a lot of time to assemble such a masterpiece, but still...
The price is quite " heavy " here... 1, 350, 000 Euros. This kind of watch cannot be a bargain, for sure, but still, again...
And my last " complain ": We all know that you, Jaeger Lecoultre, are leaders in terms of highly complicated watches, that you know how to make them. That's a well known fact. But please, pretty please, don't forget your fans, and give them some much more affordable watches with this touch of creativity and originality you are well known for!