Who doesn’t enjoy a big old birthday party? (Rhetorical question, but just in case you really really need to know, the short answer to that is, “No one worth inviting”.)

Singapore — that tiny little city-state in the middle of Southeast Asia that for various reasons pretty much ended up becoming the world’s watch mecca* — is celebrating its 50th year of independence and the island is getting ready to break out the champagne and party like it’s 1965 plus half a century.

In recognition of this powerful little market and its seemingly insatiable appetite for fine timepieces, a number of Swiss watchmaking company have issued commemorative special edition models.

Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Boutique Edition

Among them is La Grande Maison of the Vallée de Joux, Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Special Edition was recently unveiled at the brand’s flagship boutique at ION Orchard, Singapore, in a limited run of 50 pieces available exclusively at the boutique.

The Reverso, the emblematic watch of Jaeger-LeCoultre, is the ideal watch to commemorate this milestone year for Singapore. Like modern Singapore, the Reverso was a product of the colonial era — the story goes that the watch was first created in 1931 by request of British officials stationed in India, who wanted a watch they could play polo in without it getting smashed to pieces. The swivelling Reverso face protected the most vulnerable aspect of the watch, it was taken up with great enthusiasm, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Boutique Edition (swivel back case)

Like Singapore, the Reverso has also transcended its roots to become a true contemporary icon, emulated by many and admired by all. The Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Special Edition bears a classic face, which will accord entirely with the preferences of those who may not wish to wear their patriotism quite so obviously on their sleeve. Flipping the watch face over, however will reveal an artistic depiction of Singapore’s landmass in lacquer, overlaid with the red-and-white Singapore flag. Underneath this is engraved the years of Singapore’s independence (1965–2015).

It’s hard to imagine what the world watch community, or the industry at large, would be like without the Singapore market and the Singapore collector — certainly the differences would be distinct. The Singapore collector has a reputation for being an adventurous and exuberant buyer, with none of the reticence that characterises buyers from most of the other mature markets. We’ll be following up closely with the various commemorative watches released on the occasion of Singapore’s 50th birthday — otherwise known by the shorthand “SG50”.

 

* Honestly, this place is stuffed full of the most amazing collectors and collections — it has probably the highest number of high-end Swiss watches per capita, with pieces ranging from those made by the most hidebound, traditional high-watchmaking houses to watches from the most outrageously designed independent brands.

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