Friday, March 28, 2008

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph

Press file provided by MJLC.

Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph

Extreme design, ceramic case; the technical watch par excellence

Square, masculine, assertive: the Reverso Squadra asserted itself right from its launch as the ultimate in technical watches. It immediately earned its place on men’s wrists thanks to its design and performances. For the first time in its history, a Reverso sports a black ceramic case, a concentrated blend of avant-garde technologies, which naturally frames the traditional double face required to display additional functions. This tour de force combines with prodigious
mechanical complexity to meet the needs of elite sportsmen competing on polo fields the world over: a chronograph with perfectly readable indications to precisely measure the time of each chukka, as well as a large date display. The back is dedicated to an indication that is vital to those whose passion leads them to travel the globe: the world-time function, instantly showing the time in each time zone. Audacious, elegant and sturdy: a watch designed for these
exceptional sportsmen who must be able to rely at all times on an unfailingly reliable timepiece.

Ceramics enters the realm of the Reverso

Undoubtedly only such an exceptional model as the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields chronograph could justify the entry of ceramics into the Reverso range. Extremely technical, incredibly resistant and ultra-sporty, only such a unique watch could display this extreme design featuring an envelope made up of a swivel case in black ceramics resting on a pink gold or titanium carrier. To achieve this extraordinary aesthetic accomplishment, it was essential to
supersede the constraints generally imposed by the use of ceramics and to develop a machining technology superior to those used thus far. The production of ceramic parts is generally based on injection moulding of two components: the ceramic powder as such, along with a plastic binding agent designed to facilitate agglomeration. The subsequent firing in a kiln serves to weld the ceramic grains and evaporate the binding substance. The mass is then subjected to progressive shrinkages until it reaches the final size. This process is however not impeccable,
since it may lead to the formation of bubbles or porosities liable to spoil the aesthetics of the surface, and above all to weaken the structure as a whole. Moreover, it results in somewhat imprecise geometrical dimensions that are incompatible with the demands of a Jaeger- LeCoultre case.

There was obviously no question of Jaeger-LeCoultre accepting such disadvantages on a watch designed to face up to extreme wearing conditions. Here too, the concept had to be entirely rethought, starting with the composition of ceramic powders. After lengthy research, the Manufacture chose a blend of zirconium oxide and yttrium. In the absence of a binding agent, the two parts are pressed before being heated to 2500 degrees to form solid blocks that are thus extremely homogeneous by nature. Nonetheless, the remarkable hardness of this high-end ceramics requires specific tools to machine it, in the form of grinding-wheels coated with diamond crystals, as well as fine diamond powders to polish it. To make things even more difficult, it is important to remember that the case of the Reverso comprises over 50 parts and is therefore one of the most complex to make due to its swivelling principle. The result of this long and meticulous task is an exceptional degree of hardness equivalent to 1200 Vickers –compared with 600 Vickers for hardened steel. The extremely compact and homogeneous case of the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph is a state-of-the-art achievement in its own right, endowed with exceptional characteristics that guarantee it amazing resistance to scratches and extremely long-term durability and stability.

An automatic movement by Jaeger-LeCoultre

Specially designed for the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph, the twin-barrel Calibre 753 appears through the transparent city disc that reveals the oscillating weight of this superb 39-jewel movement beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. A mechanical masterpiece, it embodies all the genius of a movement capable of displaying the different indications on each of the faces of the reversible case thanks to a gear transmission system that circumvents the oscillating weight. Its two barrels also guarantee a comfortable 65-hour power

100% Squadra design and functions

The exceptional quality of black ceramics has also opened up original prospects for the designers of the Manufacture, who play brilliantly on the powerful contrasts between gold or titanium and the black shade of the case. The superbly treated black dials are lit up by white numerals in the inimitable Reverso style, while certain essential signature features such as the seconds hand or the movement operating indicator appear in red so as to enable instant reading of the important information. On the back, the spectacular world-time function
indicates the entire set of time zones on a transparent disc subdivided into 24 hours and offering a glimpse of the complexity of the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 753. It even features a delicately shaded zone that serves as a day/night indication in order to avoid any confusion in reading world time. The Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph has nonetheless taken the liberty of “replacing” some capitals by the locations of the major polo grounds where aficionados meet up around the world: Palm Beach Florida; Palermo, Argentina;
Ham London in the United Kingdom, Sotogrande in Spain and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Clarity, legibility and high technology are the keynotes of this model with a swivel case that continues to turns heads.

In the heat of action, readability is the supreme criterion and the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph wins this particular contest by several lengths. Located at 9 and 3 o’clock, the chronograph minute and hour counters also adopt a “squarely” determined attitude, whereas the red seconds hand makes a striking contrast with the black and white elements. The large date at 12 o’clock boasts a crystal-clear display through twin apertures, while the movement running indicator at 6 o’clock provides constant proof that the watch is indeed operating smoothly. Finally, elegance and functionality also combine on the case middle, where the streamlined crown and push pieces in pink gold or titanium accentuate the stylistic power of a case whose unique appearance is further highlighted by the articulated rubber strap with a metal core. This sophisticated wristband is equipped with a steel folding clasp featuring a safety button
device that prevents any accidental opening. As a watch entirely dedicated to speed and precision, it is also water-resistant to 50 meters, another indispensable feature of any self-respecting sports model.

When deciding which material to associate with the high-tech ceramics, devotees of polo and of Jaeger-LeCoultre will have to choose between two aesthetic options to accompany the absolute black of the case: the gentle warmth of pink gold, or the intense grey of titanium for a tone-on-tone contrast. The grade 5 titanium used by the Manufacture is an alloy that also comprises a small proportion of aluminum and vanadium. This material is widely used in aeronautics due to its high level of mechanical resistance, as well as in orthopedic surgery because of its biocompatibility that ensures it is perfectly tolerated inside the human body. Moreover, it is sufficiently hard to enable polishing, contrary to pure titanium. In a perfect high-tech alliance with ceramics, it will prove equally stainless and stable over the long term. And to make an innately difficult choice even tougher, one should also mention that the pink gold edition will be produced in a limited edition of 500.

Playing its role as the Reverso of extremes to the full, the Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph is ultimate in all respects, right down to the smallest details. It successfully manages to remain entirely true to the genetic heritage of the Reverso, which it nonetheless transcends by its exceptional character. More Reverso than ever, it returns 77 years later to the polo fields where its illustrious forerunner was born, while sporting a powerful personality that makes it even more attractive.

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