With the latest offering from Romain Jerome, introduced at Baselworld 2015, they seem to have lost their edge. Literally! The distinct brand builds on their remarkable – however for some a bit too ‘spacey’ – Spacecraft and they have turned it into a stealthy pebble. It is almost impossible to recognize Alain Silberstein’s influence on this particular model, as it lacks Alain’s trademark: colour!
Travelling back in time to 2013, a new, unusual movement was introduced by Romain Jerome for their Spacecraft model. The linear, lateral, retrograde and jumping hour movement, housed in a space-age edgy case, might not have been every one’s cup-of-tea but at least it sparked a discussion. Not in the least place since the launch was during the time MB&F introduced their Horological Machine No 5, which featured a similar display of time.
For their new timepiece, Romain Jerome has opted to collaborate with legendary Bauhaus-style designer Alain Silberstein. The collaboration between the Swiss watchmaker and Mr. Silberstein seems an unlikely one since he is best known for creating very playful and colourful designs. His own brand (that unfortunately is no more) launched in the eighties, and his work was primarily inspired by the Bauhaus era thriving between 1919 and 1933. A use of geometric shapes and the three primary colours (red, blue, yellow) are often clear giveaways that one might be looking at a watch by this French watch designer.
The case of the Subcraft is shaped like a pebble basically, as if it was shaped by a constant stream of water. There are no visual protrusions or sharp edges, apart from the crown at the top (at the 12 o’clock position on a conventional watch) and the small lugs angling downward to be attached to the strap. The Subcraft comes in an untreated, grade 5 titanium case or a black pvd coated titanium one and measures 52.3mm tall and 40.1 wide. The height of the new timepiece is 17.1, similar to the Spacecraft that was introduced 2 years ago.
The movement inside the Subcraft is the same as in the Spacecraft, which is basically a ‘standard’ ETA or Soprod movement with a module developed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. The movement uses a lever design to move a lacquered marker past a horizontal sapphire glass to indicate the hours. On top of the case, a dragging minute disc with white markings completes the indication of time. A video of the build-up of the movement, and the way the linear hour marker works can be seen in the article covering the Spacecraft.
The Romain Jerome Subcraft Titanium and Subcraft Speed Metal are available in a run of 99 pieces each at a cost of € 22.500,- for the first and € 24.500,- for the other. Both come on a newly designed black leather strap, reminiscent of the one attached to the Spacecraft but again more round edges here. A nice detail is the cut-out to display the signature of Mr. Silberstein and the limitation of your Subcraft on the bottom of the case.