We’re putting two iconic and elegant dress watches head to head: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso and Cartier Tank. More specifically, we’re looking at the rose gold variants of each and seeing which deserves the title of best dress watch. The references that are going under the microscope are the Reverso ref. 272.2.51 from JLC and the Cartier Tank Américaine ref. 2505.
French luxury brand Cartier is first and foremost associated with jewelry, but they have a long history of watchmaking, including the debut of the first wristwatch, the Santos, in 1904. Today, Cartier is an integral player in the luxury goods trade, offering products ranging from jewelry and accessories to fine timepieces. The brand has long been respected as a watchmaker; however, in recent years, Cartier has really come into the spotlight of the wider watch community. This is in large part due to the growing popularity of the Santos. The historic model is turning up on the wrists of more and more prominent individuals and influencers.
Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC for short) has a comparatively traditional “haute horlogerie” reputation. The Swiss brand is primarily known for their classic offerings like the Reverso or Master series. Moreover, JLC is known for producing high-quality and complex movements, some of which are even used by competitors such as Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin. In short, Jaeger-LeCoultre is considered by many to be the watchmaker’s watchmaker.
Both watches share somewhat similar case designs. The Reverso makes a slightly larger impression, which isn’t all that surprising considering it was originally developed as a robust sports watch for polo players. The Tank, in turn, has slightly softer, more rounded lines and edges than the JLC. It also has a greater gap between the upper edge of the case and lugs. Thus, the overall geometry is slightly different. In terms of dimensions, the Reverso comes in at 26 x 9.5 mm, while the Tank measures 26.5 x 8 mm.
While both watches are very elegant, the Tank is slightly simpler, more streamlined, and sits flatter on the wrist. This is advantageous if your wrists are on the slimmer side. That being said, the Reverso’s “Duoface” feature and more detailed dial design firmly cements its place in the realm of haute horlogerie.
Specs and Price
Thanks to the use of quartz movements, you can get your hands on a Cartier Tank for much less than a Reverso – expect to pay about half as much for any entry-level Tank. On the flip side, the Reverso is a much more complicated watch with higher-level specs. It is available with numerous complications, including a moon phase, tourbillon, second time zone (included with this reference), chronograph, and more. JLC’s manual movements are legendary, and the one powering the Reverso is no exception. This particular Tank, on the other hand, comes with an automatic movement featuring a quick-set function. Both models are made of 18K rose gold and come mounted on a stylish leather strap.
At the end of the day, the decision of which watch wins is largely a matter of personal taste and budget. The Tank is a more classic choice given its lack of complications and more streamlined dimensions. However, the Reverso may be slightly better suited to everyday use and comes with some useful extra functions. You really can’t go wrong here – you’ll be well dressed with either of these watches on your wrist.