New York, New York — Two icons of Art Deco design joined forces last November 1st: New York City and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso timepiece. The timepiece was created in 1931 and much of the New York Art Deco cityscape was completed in the 1930s, like the two best known of the buildings, the Chrysler Building (1930) and the Empire State Building (1931, like the Reverso), which is perhaps the most defining feature of New York City’s skyline. The swinging November 1st soirée — held in the heart of Manhattan —marked the opening of the ephemeral Reverso 1931 Café which will remain open at 729 Madison Avenue until Tuesday, November 22nd and then will become nomadic throughout the city putting in appearances in Soho and Bryant Park between November 25th and December 2nd. Sitting across from Bryant Park is another Art Deco landmark, the Bryant Park Hotel, located in the historic Radiator Building which was built in 1924 when Art Deco was flourishing in New York City as well.
Back in 1931, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched a timepiece that was destined to become a classic of 20th-century design: the Reverso. Created to withstand the rigors of polo matches, its sleek, Art Deco lines and distinctive reversible case make it one of the most immediately recognizable watches of all time. The new 1931 Alphabet will be offered as a new style of personalization for engraving on a Reverso case-back.
Renowned lettering artist Alex Trochut created the new 1931 Alphabet Reverso timepiece specially for Jaeger-LeCoultre, drawing inspiration from the Art Deco in New York City where he lives. The artist has become celebrated for his experimental approach to typography. In his work text and image become a single unified expression. This collaboration is the latest in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Made of Makers program in which it collaborates with designers, artists and craftsmen from disciplines outside watchmaking extending the dialogue that exists between horology and art. “I think craft and technical skills are at the heart of both typography and watchmaking,” commented the artist. He attributes his special connection with typography to his grandfather Joan Trochut, who invented a revolutionary modular typographic and ornament system in the 1940s and is recognized as a major contributor to the history of typography.
“We are delighted to work with Alex Trochut,” says Catherine Rénier, Chief Executive Officer of Jaeger- LeCoultre. “His creative work is avant-garde and like our Maison, he uses his heritage as a foundation, harnessing that legacy in order to express the present and future in new creative ways.”
Meanwhile the Reverso 1931 Café in New York is offering a collection of pastries specially designed by the Paris-based chef Nina Métayer – also an alumnus of Made of Makers – to echo the Art Deco aesthetic of the interior design, and featuring flavors from Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, the home of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette