Jaeger LeCoultre Réserve de Marche
For me, the Jaeger LeCoultre Réserve de Marche stands as one of the most beautifully balanced watch designs in history. As traditional elegance seems to be taking a back seat lately, let’s have a look at a future classic.
It starts with the chamaeleonic, ‘soleil’ effect finish of the dial. This always creates involuntary glances from casual onlookers, it adopts a variety of different metallic colours depending on lighting. Once drawn in to the subtly shallow pie pan face, it’s the balance of the dial that amazes most. The position of the power reserve balanced with the date and small seconds is genius. The whimsical, irregular use and length of hour markers, numbers and dots, the echo of the dauphine hands in the hour markers, the sub-dial positions, all these elements conspire to balance the face and add to its charm without losing function. Somehow it’s simple and yet pleasingly complex simultaneously. You can understand how ‘right’ this design is simply by looking at the Zenith or Vacheron equivalents.
The RDM is simply one of the most original, beautiful watches EVER made. Unfortunately, you have to see it to really understand it. The catalogue shots from JLC are particularly under whelming completely flattening the sunken sub-dials; fortunately I think the picture of my watch above has captured its shape (which I took recently.) My only wish was that it had a hinged caseback with an exhibition back.
(updated 5 May 05)