Swiss luxury watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for consistently pushing the boundaries of horological craftsmanship. Its iconic Reverso Tribute collection has been continually reinvented with new looks and aesthetics without compromising on its identity since 1931.
The brand welcomes two latest additions to the line that pay homage to Katsushika Hokusai, a highly prolific illustrator, printmaker and ukiyo-e artist whose artworks played a key role in forming the perception of Japanese art in the West. Hokusai was celebrated for his achievements in transforming ukiyo-e’s subjects of portraiture, which for centuries had chiefly focused on courtesans and actors popular during the Edo period, into a broader style of art that highlighted landscapes, plants and animals.
The new watches by Jaeger-LeCoultre drew inspiration from the Waterfall at Ono and Waterfall at Yoshino paintings, which are part of Hokusai’s woodblock print series called A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces, a remarkable collection that approached the theme of falling water for the first time in ukiyo-e.
When it came to realising the timepieces, it was all about the details. The miniature artworks, which were painstakingly executed using excellent Geneva techniques, can be admired on the Reverso casebacks. A total of 80 hours of meticulous work was involved, with at least 14 layers of enamel — each fired at 800°C before the next could be applied — used.
To achieve the strong waterfall curves as pictured in the Waterfall at Yoshino, craftsmen applied a lozenge pattern comprising no fewer than 800 lines, each of which required five passages of the lathe. These breathtaking creations are a clear indication of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s admirable prowess in watchmaking and its commitment to boundless creativity.
This article first appeared on Nov 13, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.