Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Grande GMT Review

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Despite a puny wrist and a disdain for big watches, my favorite watch is my JLC Reverso Grande GMT. I bought the RG GMT over two years ago from my local JLC AD who made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was all I could do to pay for it so it was originally on a brown croc strap. Last year, I went to the AD to inquire about getting a bracelet. He took one off a Grande Reserve he had in stock, put it on my RG GMT and handed me an invoice for the bracelet that almost made me double over. However, it was the best move I could have made because the watch is just perfect on the outstanding JLC bracelet.

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The watch features the JLC caliber 878 movement which is exclusive to this model. It is a manual wind, 8 day movement with a “home” side shown above in a white guilloche dial and a “travel” side shown below with a black dial. The ‘home’ side is just stunning with blued steel hands, a big date, small seconds and a day/night indicator. The two dials are driven by a single movement so the minute hands are synchronized together. The hour hand on the travel side will jump in hourly increments as you engage the pushers on the side of the dial. The hour hand on the ‘home’ side of the watch is unaffected by the pushers. The top button moves the hour hand forward and adjusts the GMT indicator (on the lower left side) as you travel east. The bottom button does the opposite for westerly travel. The power reserve is shown on the travel side with a day/night 24 hour indicator at the lower right. This day/night indicator also adjusts as you engage the pushers on the side of the watch. There is also a hidden detent on the bottom of the movement case which you can access by flipping the watch perpendicular to the watch case. This detent allows you do adjust the GMT indicator independently of the hour hands which is essential if you live in an area where there is daylight savings or summer/winter time. It’s almost impossible to accidentally push the detent.

The performance of my example has been incredible over the past two years. It’s difficult to determine the rate accuracy because the watch does not ‘hack’ or stop when the crown is pulled out to set the hands. Suffice it to say, I rarely have to adjust the hands back to reference time. The accuracy is probably less than +2 seconds per day.

The watch is easily wound despite a mammoth 8 day power reserve. I wind it every Sunday and it doesn’t take any more turns than a typical manual wind with a 42 hour power reserve. The winding mechanism is equipped with a clutch which engages when the movement is fully wound, similar to an automatic watch. The crown is large and easy to grasp. Pulling the crown out one stop will allow for the setting the big date quickly. Pulling the crown out two stops will adjust the minute hand on both sides of the watch.

I don’t travel as much as I used to so I really wanted a travel watch that didn’t look like a travel watch. I wasn’t interested in a typical travel watch which has an extra hour hand or 24 hour indicator on the dial. The RG GMT is a travel watch that doesn’t look like a travel watch. You don’t need to remember which hour hand is the local time and which hour hand is the home time. If you travel, use the black dial. If you’re home, use the white dial. Simple and elegant.

Unfortunately, the RG GMT is rather massive and will look awkward on smaller wrists. I can just barely pull it off as I keep telling myself. If you have a smaller wrist, I think you will find the watch will wear more comfortably on the bracelet rather than the strap.

As with many JLC watches, you get a lot of watch for the money with the RG GMT. The 8 day movement is a superb complication by itself but combining it with an intuitive and elegant travel feature is genius. Some common complaints usually revolve around the small day/night and GMT indicators on the travel side. They can be hard to see at arm’s length. The only other improvement I would recommend is changing the home side day/night indicator to the wheel indicator JLC uses on their Septantieme and new Master 8 days watches. The current indicator has a distinctive boundary between the day and night side whereas the new Master 8 days has a more subtle transition as the dial moves through dusk/dawn hours.

In summary, the RG GMT is a superb watch. Beautifully designed and packed with useful features. If you are considering one for your collection, you won’t be disappointed.

32 thoughts on “Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Grande GMT Review

  1. Any more information or shots of this model of Jaeger Lecoultre would be greatly appreciated. Thinking of taking the plunge…Regards Jim.

  2. My photography skills are lacking. I’ve already posted my best shots. Sorry.

    As far as more information goes, if you have anything specific that I missed, I’ll be happy to address it.

    One of the things that you’ll notice right away is the watch wears and looks much better on the bracelet. I realize there’s a significant surcharge for the bracelet but when you’re traveling during the summer, it’s a necessity. The watch is also quite thick. If you wear tighter fitting cuffs, it may be a comfort problem.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Thanks for that, I am still waiting and it looks like another week or two before it arrives. I have ordered it with the bracelet and have also managed to find a NEW strap for half the cost that an AD would charge. So I can have the best of both worlds and find what suits me best. Thanks once again … Jim.

  4. Jim…you’re going to be very happy with this one. Remember, the JLC bracelet can be adjusted on both sides of the clasp without tools. Ask the AD to show you how and if he stares at you, come back here and I’ll do a little photo tutorial on how to do it. This is a great feature for keeping the watch comfortable if your wrist swells a little in hot weather.

  5. Hi John,
    Well at long last it has arrived, however the metal strap is a bit too long. As it was posted to me I have no way of knowing how to adjust the strap. ( For the kind of money charged I expected a more thorough set of instructions.)
    If you would be so kind as to post the tutorial when you get the time I would be most greatful .
    The watch itself is a work of art, I guess it will take a little time for me to adjust to the size of the dial, coming from Rolex Seadweller,it is smaller tha I had anticipated but very classy. As that model is out of stock everywhere over hear I was never able to try on or see the watch, just other Grande sized models, but I believe this ios the one … till the next one!!!
    Hope to hear from you soon best wishes … Jim.

  6. Hello John,
    I have sorted out how to adjust the strap from both sides but I guess I need a link taken out is this an AD job?
    Regards … JIm.

  7. I’am also on the prowl for that piece. Can you put me through to your dealer who made this non-refusable offer?
    TIA Andy

  8. I am also thinking of taking the plunge on this — could you let me know how much it is discounted at ADs.

  9. @Raj…I really couldn’t tell you what discount to expect. I haven’t priced the RG GMT since I bought it because I have no intention of selling it. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

    • hi james,

      I too want to buy this watch and would like to know the places to shop for getting the best deals.
      i am travelling through europe in May-June this year-Would it be any good to source the watch from outside India? (or better to buy from an AD here?)
      Thanks and regards,
      Sandeep Uke

      • Hi Sandeep,
        I have one of these for sale if you are interested,it is as new,would take £7500
        if you are interested.In rose gold 18ct.



        • sorry bob,
          I did not see your post earlier. I would like to have the stainless steel version and brand new.
          Sandeep Uke

        • Hi Bob

          I’m think I know the answer to this question…but is your Rose Gold GMT still for sale? I have the SS version and love it but want to add the rose gold to my collection.



  10. Nice write up guilty pleasures thank you.

    I have this watch and its an absolute pleasure and the highlight of my collection- the bracelet does wear better than the strap and my strap split on one of the “puffs” it was my fault though.

    This is the real power watch when traveling to Europe- you’ll find yourself showing it off at at every opportunity. No matter how much another guys spends on his watch this one gets amazing respect even in a crowd of “power watch guys” after a short demo if its list of features.

    Scrutiny of the facework and details thrills me every time I wear it.

    Mine had to go back to the shop once in three years and was fixed promptly and returned shined up in a beautful pouch.

    You CANNOT go wrong with the reverso gmt


  11. @Dave…thanks for the comment. It’s rare that a steel cased watch commands this kind of attention. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the gold version “in the wild” or in a shop for that matter.

  12. No problem great work.

    Ive never seen a gold GMT either?!? Weird now that you mention it. Especially given the number of gold reversos

    I think the attention is mostly to do with the fact that its large (for a Reverso) add to the sheer number of cool complications and novelty of reversing give it a charm level beyond its price point.

    When I originally walked in to my local shop ready to buy and beaming with anticipation like a kid on Christmas morning only to be devastated, I had to wait for the SS version as they were back ordered.

    Be well.


  13. Nice post!

    I have a JLC Grande Reserve (the 8 Day reserve one) which I absolutely love. There’s something very elegant about the Reverso and the XGT models are definitely the best size in my opinion (JLC would seem to agree – they’ve just announced that the classic Reverso is now going to be available in the XGT size too)

    • Thanks for the comment! Thankfully, the new Reverso will be thinner than our 8 day examples. I noticed the new Reverso will have a free sprung balance and exhibition back as well. Personally, I think they should keep a Reverso with a solid back. Having an engraved Reverso is a nice tradition.

  14. Totally agree John – The back of the normal Reverso should be solid, so you can engrave it if you want to. That’s the whole point of the design. I’m not against exhibition backs but there’s a time and a place for them. This seems to be playing up to the current trend for everything to be more ‘bling’, more showy. It doesn’t suit the character of the Reverso.

    By the way, I also have a Panerai Luminor Marina with a glass back which I love. That’s the sort of watch which it suits in my opinion.

    • So John and Prodigal, original is good, I agree.

      To me this continual advancement and improvement on the original is part of the power of JLC as a Master manufacture-

      Is a complete second face in a different color and capable of displaying a second timezone considered an “exhibition back”?

      This unique set of capabilities greatly enhances the watches usability and flexibility when matching power outfits.


  15. Hi John,
    I am a fan of all things well made and mechanical so good to read about this watch and very nicely written. One small point is that for people (like myself) who live in a half-hour time zone (GMT +10.5 at the moment with daylight saving) having the minute hands syncronised is of no use. Ah well, I must await an even more complex complication for that I expect!

  16. John, how big exactly is your wrist? I’m looking at this watch too and want to get a gauge of its size vs. your picture. Thx.

  17. I have recently brought this watch for my collection!!! Easy to read, access to all timezones!!!!the watch is not little and like John has said it wouldn’t suit a small wrist. The movement keeps great time. A timepiece that won’t disappoint! Thanks for the blog John.

  18. Hi John,

    just noticed this post. I have a stainless Reverso Grand GMT but om looking for a second hand metal band. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for helping

    • Carel,
      Thanks for reading. I rarely see bracelets on the resale market. Your local AD might help but I think you would be very lucky to find one.

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