Moments in Time

These new watches ensure buyers carry a little piece of history with them

Since its debut in 2004, Romain Jerome has released fine yet futuristic watches that remind us of big moments in time.

Manuel Emch, Romain Jerome’s CEO, with one of its avant-garde models.

Autumn 1886, for example, was when Lady Liberty assumed her responsibility in enlightening the world, and last year, her 125th anniversary called for a commemorative model. Likewise, this year's centenary of the sinking of the Titanic is marked by retro-futuristic watches.

"In a competitive environment, we need to think outside the box and do things differently," said Manuel Emch, Romain Jerome's CEO. "Instead of reinventing history, let's go and physically grasp the history of mankind and put them into timepieces."

To find a piece of history, the brand's endeavours included recovering steel from the Apollo 11 space shuttle along with finding moon dust, and collecting volcanic lava following the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruptions.

The "memento" materials are considered to be "DNA" of famous legends, hence, the watch collections are named Moon Dust-DNA, Liberty-DNA and Titanic-DNA.

The latest addition to its cosmic timepieces, Red Mood Chrono, presents a grey dial with a hand-sculptured depiction of the lunar surface, while its materials contain moon dust.

Liberty-DNA with a verdigris dial containing particles of Miss Liberty.

Fibres from spacesuits were also recovered in order to weave them into an alligator strap for this stunning model with a red gold case.

Special elements are often obtained from a collaboration. For instance, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and Gold Leaf Corporation supplied historical artifacts to the Swiss watchmaker for the Liberty-DNA watch.

Taken from her centennial restoration work, particles of Lady Liberty have been incorporated into the dial, in the colour of oxidised copper.

The statue's aesthetics inspired the design, and so the bronze bezel is adorned with 12 spikes reminiscent of her famous crown. Over time, it will acquire a nice patina adopting the colour of Miss Liberty.

The 125-piece limited edition timepiece features a case back depicting the flame of liberty lighting up the American flag's stars and stripes.

"Using our watchmaking expertise, we want to pay tribute to Lady Liberty, and at the same time the contemporary design talks to a younger group of customers," the CEO said.

Two avant-garde Steampunk models mark the 100th anniversary of Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. The seagoing giant was built at Harland & Wolff shipyards in Belfast _ the company supplied steel which was blended with steel from the wreck, resulting in the bezel's stabilised Titanic rusted look.

"We want to be innovative and so we use materials nobody uses. Each model in the Titanic-DNA collection comes with a certificate of authenticity confirming the amalgamation of modern shipbuilding sheet metal with a component of the original steel from the Titanic," Emch assured. "We are also the first brand to create deep-black carbon watch dials using genuine coal dust recovered from the boiler room of the legendary vessel."

The Steampunk Auto and Chrono 100th Anniversary watches feature hour and minute hands inspired by Titanic's anchor, whereas the small second propeller design recalls the ship's propellers.

With oversized Roman numerals reminiscent of the ship's steam pressure gauges, the dials of both models are integrated into the movement, revealing bead-blasted and circular-grained ruthenium coloured bridge with four steel pistons and bead-blasted ruthenium bearings.

Metal, black and red versions of the Steampunk Chrono are also available as a part of the Titanic's centenary collection, with the watches devoid of any dial, revealing the rigourous lines and sturdy build of the mechanism

"The design of the chronographs offer a stunning view of the mechanism," said Emch. "All our watches feature mechanical movements crafted by fine Swiss watchmaking, but at the same time we try to be innovative and daring in finding something exciting to offer to the watch world."

About the author

columnist
Writer: Kanokporn Chanasongkram
Position: Reporter