Descriptive non-technical review of JLC Reverso Sun Moon
On your wrist, a small theatre sets the stage for the sun, the moon and the stars. In one smooth swivel, it reveals what is going on behind the scenes. Such is the genius of the Reverso Sun Moon The Manufacturers Book of Timepieces, Jaeger LeCoultre, edition 2004/2005, Page 121.
The Sun Moon was introduced by JLC in 1999 and remains in the product catalog for 2004/2005. The catalog mentions three guises: 18K Pink Gold, 18K White Gold, and 950 Platinum (limited series.)
This is a review of the 18K Pink Gold model, Catalog ref 275.34.70 (The example watch is inscribed: 270.2.63) Some of the comments also apply to the other Sun Moon models.
The dial face of the PG Sun Moon is similar to the traditional silver grey Classic Reverso style but with added complications described below. The center inner part of the dial face and the outer part appear to be of different grey colors but closer examination suggests that the colors are the same but the surface texture of the two areas differs giving the appearance of varying shades.
Guilloche scribed decoration appears in both sub dial areas as finely curved work. The numerals are the bold black style found on the faces of most Reversos. [The White Gold model (ref 275.34.70) has white Arabesque style numerals on a dark blue face similar to the face of the 18K WG Reverso Duo.]
Minutes are marked in a rectangle along the inner edges of the hour numerals. The rectangle curves in and below the Reserve Power dial between the 9 and 12 positions.
The Hours and Minutes hands are centered Blued pointed Baton style; the Seconds dial is off center above and eating the 6 position. The Seconds dial position is concentric with a Moon Phase display. No seconds marks are indicated.
Night and Day Indicator
A Night Day window occupies a half circle just below the 1 position showing a Sun during day hours and Stars on a dark blue background for night hours. This display advances with the Hours hand and can be quickly adjusted by advancing the hands by turning the crown in the pulled out Position 2. There is no separate adjuster or pusher for the Day Night display.
The Moon display (at the 6 oclock position) is based on a 29 ½ day phase with marks around the top of the display indicating days 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25,and 29 ½ of the moon phase. The Moon display is moved through the phase manually one moon day at a time with a pusher located just below the crown winder. A metal pink gold colored tool is supplied for making the adjustment (although some suggest using a softer wooden toothpick to avoid the possibility of scratching the soft gold.)
CAVEAT: The instruction manual cautions against adjusting the moon phase if the hour hand is between 10 p.m. and 3 .a.m. when the moon mechanism is engaged. Best to use the Day Night display to ensure that the watch is in a safe Day phase before adjusting the moon.
The Reserve De March indicator (between the 10 and 12 positions) has marks to show 0 to 40 hours of power in 10 hour increments. A small blued Baton hand indicates the power status. The user manual states that the watch will run 42 hours on a full wind. The product catalog notes that the watch will run approximately 45 hours. The manual cautions against winding past the 40 hour mark or after the winder lock point is reached.
Accuracy: Non-Hacking Seconds Hand
The Seconds hand does not Hack (does not stop when the crown in pulled out to allow precise setting of the time). The Seconds hand can be set fairly accurately (but with some difficulty) by moving the Hour and Minute hands in a counter-clockwise direction until the Seconds hand stops then keeping a slight outward pressure on the crown in the pulled out position.
With the Seconds hand stopped at a specific marker, it can be started again (in synch with a timing source) by turning the crown clockwise. Once the Seconds hand has been coordinated with the timing source, the other hands can be moved to set the precise hour and minute.
Accuracy from unscientific observation of one Sun Moon Reverso which has never been serviced or adjusted; variations recorded after running face down, face up, on each side; worn part of the day; partially wound at times, near fully wound at other times: the test Sun Moon gained a consistent 8 seconds a day.
Movement and Testing
The watch is adjusted to 5 positions according to an inscription on the movement; 23 jewel Calibre 823; 212 parts; 21,600 vibrations per hour, manually wound.
Reverse Side and Works
The watch reverses to a see-through crystal sapphire back showing the movement and works. The movement is hand crafted and assembled, with Cotes de Geneve decoration and additional finely curved work. The crystal back shows blued screws securing four bridges; four ruby jewels; and the beat Balance wheel as it turns the Seconds hand wheel. The serial number of the movement is shown in a space between two bridges.
Strap and Clasp
This PG model was fitted with a medium dark brown alligator strap and an 18K Pink Gold Deployant clasp. The Manufacturers Timepiece catalog shows the PG model with a black band and mentions that a metal double-blade folding clasp bracelet is available for the gold models.
The strap size is adjusted by placing the stub of the clasp into one of the holes on the strap. If the strap fit seems slightly too tight or too lose and the next hole position does not help, try wearing the watch backwards (upside down) for a few days (with the 6 hour marker at the top and the 12 at the bottom.)
This will move the clasp embracer to the other side of the wrist and may result in a better fit. If this fit is better, the strap can be removed and installed with the two parts reversed on the watch. This should be done by an experienced watch person with a proper tool since the case can easily be damaged by a clumsy attempt to remove the strap by an eager amateur.
To lock the clasp: press on the end of clasp buckle (on the JL symbol) rather than on the middle or forward part; pressing the end gives an easier snap.
Also, when placing the watch on the wrist, the pointed tip of the strap should be pushed into the two Keepers before the clasp is snapped to avoid having to bend the tip of the strap into the keepers after the clasp is closed.
Case and Markings
The case is a Grand Taille size, about 42mm long, 26 mm wide, 9 mm thick; larger than the classic Reverso size but not as large as the Grand Reverso size. Sapphire crystals front and back. The back of the case is inscribed: Reverso JL Jaeger LeCoultre; a seven digit serial number, and 270.2.63
The inside top of the case is stamped with an underlined Jaeger LeCoultre; Swiss; a Pine Tree between JL; 18K 750; the head of a Saint Bernard dog (not sure what this means), and another 750 inside a balance scale symbol.
The watch wrapper tag: 6,270,240,632SB is parsed as follows: 6,270,240 is Reverso Grande Taille Sun Moon in18K Pink Gold; 63 is Calibre 823; 2 is Silvered Dial; S is Sapphire Crystal back; B is Leather strap with Deployant folding buckle.
The watch with leather strap and Deployant clasp weighs about 3 ounces (90 grams).
Case and watch are resistant to dust and damp, accidental immersion in water should not affect a regularly serviced watch; not guaranteed to be watertight. User manual recommends full service every 4 or 5 years.
Boxes, Manuals, Papers
The PG model comes in the typical dark green paperboard JLC outer box, a dark green leather-like covered and lined inner box with a pillow and adjusting tool. A Reverso user instruction manual, a Livret de Garantie, and a Certificat de Garantie are all housed in a slip case.
The Sun Moon has a visually interesting face with easy to read features. The Hours and Minutes hands are wider at the ends and are quite visible in dark blue against the grey face.
The forward part of the Seconds hand loses visibility as the blue hand crosses the Moon Phase window but this hand has a small Blue Dot extending to the rear of the pivot allowing you to see at least one end of the Seconds hand at all times. Seconds are not very important for this watch as there are no numbers or indicators on the Seconds dial. The Seconds hand is a quick way to see if the watch is running.
The Power Reserve hand is about 5mm long and is quite visible. The scale numbers of the Power window might be a bit difficult for tired eyes to see but this is not very important as the Pointer need only need show its relative position on the Power sub-dial. For all except the most
weak-eyed or perhaps in dim light, a close look will reveal the specific number of winding hours remaining.
The Moon Phase is quite a nice show with the Moon a glorious Golden Orb followed by several golden stars on a dark blue night sky. The Moon Phase day numbers (0 to 29 ½) are moderately visible but are important only when setting the Moon phase on other than Full Moon days.
The Day Night window (a half circle) is small compared to the Moon phase lunette but is enough to clearly show the dark night sky or the light blue day phase. A small Golden Sun greets you each day.
The Hour numbers are relatively thick, black, and bold, on a clean part of the dial; very easy to see. The 0 of the 10 marker is cut slightly to make room for the Power Display but this does not affect readability. There is no 6 mark (eaten by the Seconds dial.)
The dial design of the Sun Moon is well balanced; the complications are as much entertaining as they are informative. For variety, flip to the movement side and watch the works in motion. Both sides, elegantly set off by the lovely pink gold case, will draw compliments. With a 10 power loupe, the finely detailed surface work of the sub-dials and the movement are even more striking.
By not offering the Sun Moon in Stainless Steel, JLC may have placed this Reverso out of reach of some. If a Sun Moon is nearly affordable, take another look, its worth stretching the budget a bit to own this great looking watch.
The Sun Moon is an elegant and striking member of the Reverso family, well deserving of its fine reputation and enthusiastic following; a time keeper, a work of art, an entertainment, all conveniently carried on the wrist.
Richard M, February 2005
Photos of the Reverso Sun Moon in Pink Gold, White Gold, and Platinum have been posted by others.