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Art of Time: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai Collection

It's the fusion of art and precision in Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai collection limited edition watches.
Last updated Jun 24, 2024

In the realm of luxury watchmaking, where art meets precision, Jaeger-LeCoultre stands out with its Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai collection. This series honors Katsushika Hokusai, a titan of the ukiyo-e art form. I find this collection a stunning confluence of two venerable traditions.

Historical Context: Hokusai and His Art

Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) was a master of ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese art flourishing from the 17th through 19th centuries. His work captures the essence of Japan’s landscapes and tales with bold imagery and vibrant colors. The Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai collection draws from two of Hokusai’s notable works: “The Waterfall at Ono” and “The Waterfall at Yoshino”.

Ono Waterfall on the Kisokaidō (Kisokaidō Ono no bakufu), from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces
Ono Waterfall on the Kisokaidō (Kisokaidō Ono no bakufu), from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces

The Waterfall at Ono” is set in Nagano Prefecture, along a historic route that connected Kyoto and Edo (modern Tokyo). It features a striking vertical composition, showcasing a waterfall plunging between cliffs, with a small Shinto shrine and awe-struck travelers on a bridge. This scene amplifies the waterfall’s power, making it a perfect muse for a watch dial.

The Waterfall Where Yoshitsune Washed His Horse at Yoshino in Yamato Province,” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces
The Waterfall Where Yoshitsune Washed His Horse at Yoshino in Yamato Province,” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces

The Waterfall at Yoshino” depicts an episode from the life of General Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Amidst the scenic mountains of Yoshino, the general pauses to care for his horse by a waterfall, illustrating his momentary respite during turbulent times. The strong curves and the expressive force of the waterfall create a vivid, dynamic composition.

The Watches: A Fusion of Art and Craftsmanship

Jaeger-LeCoultre has masterfully integrated these artworks into its iconic Reverso watches. The 2021 edition featured “The Waterfall at Kirifuri,” while the 2022 model showcased “The Amida Waterfalls.” The 2023 editions, based on “The Waterfall at Ono” and “The Waterfall at Yoshino,” continue this artistic tradition with stunning enamel work.

Each watch dial is hand-painted, requiring unparalleled skill and patience, which mirrors the exacting nature of ukiyo-e. The dials serve as canvases where the grandeur of Hokusai’s waterfalls is brought to life, each meticulously crafted to reflect the essence of the original artworks.

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai Watch Front
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai Watch Front

Jaeger-LeCoultre: A Legacy of Innovation

Founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre, Jaeger-LeCoultre has long been a byword for precision and innovation in the watchmaking industry. Nestled in the Swiss Jura Mountains, the company began its journey with the invention of the Millionomètre, the world’s most precise measuring instrument at the time. This spirit of innovation led to the creation of some of the most famous timepieces in history, including the Reverso, introduced in 1931, and the Atmos clock, which runs on atmospheric pressure changes.

The Reverso, originally designed for British Army officers in India to withstand polo matches, is renowned for its unique swivel case. Another notable invention, the Atmos clock, epitomizes perpetual motion, needing no human intervention and almost no energy. These innovations not only underline Jaeger-LeCoultre’s mastery over the art of watchmaking but also their commitment to blending functionality with elegance.

Technical Brilliance

These watches are not just artistic masterpieces but also marvels of horological engineering. The Reverso’s unique swivel case design allows the wearer to flip the dial, protecting the intricate art on one side while revealing a functional watch face on the other. This design originally served polo players in the 1930s, shielding their watch glass during matches. Today, it serves as a bridge between functionality and artistry.

The cases are crafted from white gold, complementing the vivid enamel. The movements inside these watches are as refined as their exteriors. Precision-engineered, they offer a power reserve of approximately 45 hours, ensuring that beauty and functionality coexist seamlessly. Each watch is available in a limited edition of just 10 pieces, emphasizing its exclusivity and collectibility.

Artistic Significance

What sets the Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai apart is its embodiment of cultural heritage. Hokusai’s work, integral to Japan’s artistic identity, finds a new expression in these watches. They are not mere timekeepers but narrators of stories, bearers of tradition, and symbols of the meticulous craft that both watchmaking and ukiyo-e represent.

For collectors and enthusiasts, these watches offer more than luxury; they provide a connection to art history. Each watch is a valuable investment and a piece of wearable art. The retail price for each piece, reflecting its artistry and exclusivity, and if you can actually manage to get your hands on one, is in excess of $105,000.

Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai | Jaeger-LeCoultre

A Testament to the Timelessness of Great Art

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Enamel Hokusai collection is a testament to the timelessness of great art and the enduring appeal of expert craftsmanship. By merging Hokusai’s iconic ukiyo-e scenes with high horology, Jaeger-LeCoultre not only honors the great artist but also celebrates the shared dedication to perfection that defines both art forms.

For admirers of fine watches and Japanese art alike, this collection offers a unique opportunity to experience the legacy of Hokusai daily. It reminds us that the essence of art transcends mediums and epochs, residing in the heart of those who appreciate its beauty and complexity. As we wrap our wrists with these timepieces, we carry a piece of history and artistry, a tribute to the enduring human spirit that seeks to capture the sublime in the everyday.


The Waterfall at Ono:

Reference:: Q39334T5
Movement:: Manually wound Calibre 822
Functions:: Hours and minutes
Case:: 45.6 mm × 27.4 mm × 9.73 mm, white gold
Dial:: Barleycorn guilloché, Grand Feu enamel
Strap:: Black alligator
Price:: On request
Availability: Limited to 10 pieces

The Waterfall at Yoshino

Reference: Q39334T4
Movement: Manually wound Calibre 822
Functions: Hours and minutes
Case: 45.6 mm × 27.4 mm × 9.73 mm, white gold
Dial: Lozenge guilloché, Grand Feu enamel
Strap: Black alligator
Price: On request
Availability: Limited to 10 pieces

Read more:

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At the Art of Zen we have a wide selection of original Japanese art prints in the ukiyo-e and Japandi style. Some of our best selling work is Mount Fuji wall art and Japandi wall art.

Add some zen art to your space with some art from the Art of Zen shop.

All images and video above courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Salman A

Salman A

Based in the vibrant city of Dubai, I thrive as a designer and filmmaker with a passion sparked in childhood by the thrilling adventures of UFO Robot Grendizer and Speed Racer. My journey took a deeper dive into the world of art through a profound fascination with Japanese culture, enriched by memorable times spent in Japan. Creativity pulses at the core of who I am. Connect with me for tailor-made design and film projects that bring your visions to life.


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