The Reverso turns 90 this year and Jaeger-LeCoultre is celebrating this milestone anniversary in an unusual way. The watchmaker is honouring its most iconic family by creating a wholly immersive experience in the form of the 1931 Café. The elegant pop-up venue will transport visitors to the time in which the Reverso was born — at the heart of the Art Deco movement.
The 1920s design style, which is seen in the principles and codes that characterise the Reverso, is instantly recognisable by its streamlined geometry, conjuring the era’s spirit of modernity and progress. In the 1931 Café, this translates to interiors reminiscent of a 1930s ocean liner and the glitz of cruises at the time, or even a film set. Think frosted glass chandeliers and chairs adorned with three metal bands, echoing the triple gadroons on a Reverso case.
Aesthetics have to be matched with fitting flavours to create a cohesive whole in a café, and Jaeger-LeCoultre chose to tackle this with a collaboration with Paris-based pastry maestro Nina Métayer. The young chef conceptualised a selection of pastries and cakes that reference not just art deco codes, but also the lush landscape of the watchmaker’s home in the Vallée de Joux.
The latter is conjured through ingredients such as mountain berries, nuts, honey and, of course, Swiss chocolate. Highlight pieces include a dessert that recreates the snowy landscape of the Jura mountains in winter while concealing a summery burst of fruit in its heart, as well as a confection of hazelnuts and chocolate that represents the glamour of the Art Deco era.
The 1931 Café made its debut in Shanghai and will be in the city until Aug 15, in a nod to the Chinese Art Deco style that flourished in the city around the 1930s. It will relocate to Paris, birthplace of Art Deco, for the autumn season.
For Jaeger-LeCoultre collectors and enthusiasts, this immersion in the ambience that spurred the creation of the Reverso will be a sensorial way to pay homage to the origins of an enduring icon.
This article first appeared on June 21, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.