While most people assume that the dive watches of the 1950s were the first true sports watches, one must look back further, to the 1930s, for that genesis.
An enterprising Swiss businessman, César de Trey, was traveling in India when he happened to watch a polo match being played by some British soldiers. One of the players’ watches was damaged by an errant hit. Upon his return to Switzerland, de Trey approached LeCoultre with an idea for a watch that could be protected from such impacts.
The result was the Reverso, a watch not only innovative for its hinged reversible case but also for its distinctly Art Deco design, a rectangular shape with short lugs and simple time-only dial. The design is perhaps the purest horological representation of its era, and one that has regained popularity today.