Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin - René Magritte - La Trahison des images


René Magritte

Two twentieth-century masterpieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso (1931) and Magritte's La Trahison des images (1929), combined to perfection within the modest dimensions of a slender matchbox. This is the incredibly unique, very rare and exquisite creation that came into being when the 'watchmaker's watchmaker' collided with one of the greatest surrealist artists.

René Magritte's journey from the real to the surreal began in 1898 in Lessines, Belgium. Born to parents grounded in the creation of physical attire, his father a tailor and his mother a milliner, the young Magritte would start to tap into his creativity through drawing at the age of twelve. A medium that would lead him into painting and subsequently, down a very different creative path to that of his parents.

After a brush with impressionism, futurism and cubism, all whilst making a living as a designer of posters and advertisements, the year of 1927 signaled a significant change in direction for Magritte. This was the year of his first solo exhibition, where his inaugural surrealist painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu) was presented. A first foray into surrealism that unfortunately, was not critically well-received. This knock in confidence prompted a retreat and escape to Paris. Magritte would remain in Paris for the next three years and, surrounded by fellow surrealists, would produce some of the most famous paintings of his career, including arguably the most iconic of all - The Treachery of Images (La Trahison des images).

A coffee-coloured warmth within the painting puts the observer at ease. A perfect depiction of a pipe, with not a brush stroke out of place, floats in the centre of the painting. Written below in innocent, child-like handwriting 'ceci n'est pas une pipe' (this is not a pipe). The observer sees the image, reads the words and - with light humour, warmth and grace - is confronted with a full-blown contradiction of their life's knowledge, belief and instinct. This is Magritte. Challenging, thought-provoking, inviting (requiring) questioning of preconditioned understanding. When once asked about the painting, Magritte explained how if he had written 'ceci est une pipe' (this is a pipe), it would have been a lie, as the pipe he had painted could not be filled with tobacco. The Treachery of Images is an aesthetically charming, and fundamentally necessary, stroke of genius.

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of Magritte's death and 2016, the 85th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre's iconic Reverso model. In a wonderful collaboration to mark these two poignant anniversaries, JLC and Maison De Greef came together to create a very limited series of Reverso models that would pay homage to, and celebrate, the oeuvre of René Magritte. Charly Herscovici, President of The Magritte Foundation, was closely involved with the project.

The Reverso presented here elegantly incorporated Magritte's The Treachery of Images and was the very first component of the inspired collection. Launched in 2017 just 15 pieces in steel were created.

The watch

A limited edition - in more ways than one. The model of Reverso used for this steel version of the watch is the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931, which made its first appearance in 2011 and is fervently adored by Jaeger-LeCoultre's audience. In 2015, to great disappointment and astonishment, the model was discontinued. A discontinuation that makes the Reverso tribute to René Magritte presented here just that little bit more precious.

The rectangular steel case measures 27.4 x 46.8 mm, sits at 7.3 mm in height and takes direct design cues from the original ideation of the Art-Deco inspired Reverso from 1931. Its clean, black dial is completed with luminous baton numerals and hands, and simply signed Reverso. Turn it around and the perfectly lacquered, miniature engraving of The Treachery of Images is revealed. As of course is to be expected from both JLC and Maison De Greef, the watch is exceptionally well crafted and executed.

On the caseback, amongst other familiar markings, the limited piece number together with Magritte's signature are engraved.

The Movement

The manually-wound calibre 822 was selected to power both the white gold and steel versions of this René Magritte Reverso tribute. The in-house movement measures a svelte 2.95 mm in height and contains 21 jewels. It has a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and a power reserve of 45 hours.

How it wears

With an artistically exclusive edge. This Reverso has bold presence on the wrist and is the ideal cool, calm and collected dress watch. With its flawless golden ratio construction, minimal jet-black dial and trademark steel gadroons, it is the epitome of cool. The epitome of cool with hidden and truly exquisite surrealist charm.

The set & condition 

A wonderful piece that superbly combines both horological and art history, this watch comes with its full set, including Magritte certificate. It has just received a full service from Jaeger-LeCoultre and has not been worn since.

If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium

No stock kept on site

Reference Q278857N
Movement Manual 
Calibre JLC 822
Dial Black
Size (Case) 47 mm x 27 mm
Material (Case) Steel
Bracelet JLC Brown Alligator 
Glass Sapphire
Condition Just serviced
Year 2017
Papers Yes
Box Yes
Warranty 2 years

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