Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Honours Legendary Japanese Master
The cultural exchange between East and West has influenced art forms for millennia—and the dialogue between the two artistic traditions has inspired watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre throughout the company’s history.
Now, in its latest interpretation of Eastern tradition, the Maison honours 19th-century Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai in a new version of the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch: the Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai ‘Amida Falls’.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch was first launched in 1931 and became a classic of 20th-century design with its pioneering reversible case and sophisticated style.
The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute, released in a limited edition of ten pieces, pays homage to the art of Japanese woodblock printing. The case-back is decorated with a hand-enamelled miniature reproduction of The Amida Falls in the Far Reaches of the Kisokaidō Road, Hokusai’s best-known work from his A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces, a series of eight woodblock prints created in 1833–34.
Hokusai was among the few 19th-century Japanese artists to elevate the ancient craft of woodblock printing with his use of technique, colour, and composition. His Waterfalls series is considered among the finest landscape art ever produced.
Reproducing Hukasai’s level of detail on the three-square centimetre surface of the watch was a labour-intensive process for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master artisan. Creating the bokashi effect—the graduated shades of the print—along with Hokusai’s signature vivid blues and yellows took 70 hours over many weeks to complete.
The watch’s dial, meanwhile, summons Western artisanal traditions by showcasing the crafts of guillochage and Grand Feu enamel, techniques that require a high level of manual dexterity and skill.
The dial complements the vibrant colours of the case-back; together the two create a masterpiece of artistic expression imbued with timeless beauty.