Since 1931, the year the Reverso watch was created, its emotional impact has remained as powerful as ever. This undisputed style icon elicits the same wonderment decade after decade and is often used to paying homage to artists. For this occasion, Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are proud to present the second series of the Reverso à Eclipse watch in tribute to Vincent van Gogh, featuring an enameled miniature of the Selfportrait as a painter (1887-88) on the dial. This masterpiece is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings and to this day the piece is presented in the permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
The idea for these remarkable collaborations between Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Van Gogh Museum came from its Dutch boutique partner Gassan. Their wish to create a piece combining three components: craftsmanship, art and heritage came alive in these tributes to the world’s most famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.
The great work of the Dutch impressionist will be honoured in this second series with Van Gogh’s Selfportrait enameled on the dial of the Reverso à Eclipse watch crafted in the workshops of the Swiss Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. A simple gesture is enough to open the shutters of the watch, and to reveal a miniature recreation of Van Gogh’s work. The first series was presented in 2015 featuring his iconic Sunflowers.
The Reverso à Eclipse is a unique reversible watch featuring a platinum case equipped with the in-house Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 849, which lends itself perfectly for one of the rarest fine art traditions, miniature enamel painting. This unique craftsmanship demands precision, virtuosity and patience from the enameling artists at the Manufacture, one of the few places in the world where this fine art tradition is carried out.
This unique masterpiece, of which only four pieces will be made, was achieved in close conjunction with Gassan and can be admired in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890)
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) is one of the world’s best known and most inspirational artists. He was a passionate and dedicated artist, yet his career spanned a period of only 10 years. Vincent’s short life ended when he was 37 years old, two days after he shot himself in the chest in the wheat fields surrounding Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris.
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter with an impressive œuvre. He painted over 2100 artworks (paintings, drawings and works on paper) with amongst others also many self-portraits. He often painted himself when he couldn’t afford to pay models. In the Selfportrait from 1887-88 he presented himself as a painter, holding a palette and paintbrushes behind his easel. He showed that he was a modern artist by using a new painting style, with bright, almost unblended colors. The palette contains the complementary color pairs red/green, yellow/purple and blue/orange – precisely the colors Van Gogh used for this painting. He laid these pairs down side by side to intensify one another: the blue of his smock, for instance, and the orange-red of his beard.
Vincent’s work grew steadily brighter in Paris, under the influence of modern art. He used brighter colours and developed his own style of painting, with short brush strokes. This self-portrait as a painter was the last work Van Gogh produced in Paris; the city had exhausted him both mentally and physically. He told his sister how he had portrayed himself: ‘wrinkles in forehead and around the mouth, stiffly wooden, a very red beard, quite unkempt and sad’.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, opened its doors in 1973. It’s home to the world’s largest collection of paintings and drawings by the artist, the majority of them on permanent loan from the Vincent van Gogh Foundation. Dedicated to revealing the work and live of Vincent van Gogh and his contempories, the museum attracts in excess of 1,8 million visitors every year hailing from all corners of the globe.
The art of enamelling
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s reputation as a master of inventive watchmaking dates back more than 180 years, and time-honoured ancient decorative arts are among the most precious crafts faithfully preserved by the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux. Enamelling, engraving and gem setting are all part of a range of rare skills that Jaeger-LeCoultre associates in its different watchmaking creations and that it masters beneath its own roof.
A discipline that is scarcely taught these days, miniature enamel painting is one of these singular skills. Jaeger-LeCoultre delights in seeking out the most authentic, high-quality enamels which, given the rarity of the craft, are becoming increasingly hard to find. Once sourced, these refined materials are entrusted to the expert hands of the enamel specialists at the Manufacture, all of whom call upon the noblest expressions of their art in personalizing the watches.
Today, the enamelling workshop on the Manufacture’s site comprises a team of artists who create a wide range of personalised enamelled works on Reverso case-backs as well as on dials. Inspired by their exceptional creative vision, the specialists belonging to this atelier have successfully recreated a number of masterpieces of the Great Masters on one-of-a-kind timepieces.