For those in the know, Romain Gauthier is one of the best representatives of the “Vallée de Joux” expertise. This means an exceptional level of finishing. Forget about mainstream brands that claim Haute Horlogerie. Here, we have hand-finishing to the highest level. Unveiling the Romain Gauthier Insight micro-rotor, focusing on the essentials with a radical manufacturing ethos and master craftsmanship.
Introduced at Baselworld 2017, the Insight Micro-rotor is Romain Gauthier’s first automatic watch. At first glance, it looks like a fairly “simple” watch, displaying hours, minutes and seconds, without any complications. As the name suggests, the Insight reveals its inner workings allowing an unobstructed view of its movement’s back and front. Do not be fooled by this seemingly understated aesthetic however, elevating watchmaking to such a level requires thorough expertise, a radical manufacturing ethos and… talent.
The in-house movement is tastefully designed with an in-line lay-out of the off-centre hours and minutes, small seconds and the beautiful balance wheel featuring curved arms and eccentric weights. Visible dial side and through the display back, the bi-directional 22k gold micro-rotor is located a 9 o-clock and winds two barrels in series, providing a rather constant torque over a healthy power reserve of 80 hours. It is held between two bridges for superior stability and enhanced efficiency.
The movement architecture, constructed on multiple levels, is indeed magnificent with fluid curves for the bridge contours. The back looks just as splendid; the wheels with Romain Gauthier’s signature circular spokes are a nice touch. All indications are inscribed on 4 applied plaquettes.
The fruit of meticulous, expert handwork, the monochrome finishing of the movement with hand-frosting is indeed exceptional, which comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of Romain Gauthier. The German silver plate and bridges are coated with NAC (for the pink gold limited editions) or palladium (for the platinum limited editions). The different surfaces, as well as the screws with signature S slot are polished to obtain a uniform lustre without even the slightest flaw. The ultimate however, is the anglages. Each bevel is chamfered to perfection, with internal angles and finished with a polished (of course) and rounded profile – and that is exceptional… and extremely difficult to achieve. Only a few watchmakers are capable of producing rounded anglages.
The 39.5 mm sleek case makes the Insight micro-rotor a comfortable and elegant watch. The crown is placed at 2 o’clock to free up space for wrist movement. The slightly domed sapphire glass adds to the fluidity of the lines. The dial is oven-fire enamel on a gold base and comes in blue, black or white with gold or flamed-blued hands depending on which edition (also presented here, a diamond-paved version with meteorite dial). The Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor is worn on a superb hand-stitched Louisiana alligator strap with pin buckle.
The Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor is priced at CHF 75,000 in pink gold and CHF 88,000 in platinum. This might sound like a hefty price for just a 3-hander, however don’t forget the level of finishing, close to that of Greubel Forsey and Philippe Dufour (there are worst comparisons…) For more information on Romain Gauthier, you can visit its website at www.romaingauthier.com.
Technical specifications – Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-rotor
- Case: 39.5 mm x 12.9 mm – red gold or platinum case – sapphire crystals – 50m water resistant
- Movement: In-house calibre – automatic winding with micro-rotor – 32.1 mm x 6.8 mm – 80h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – 28 jewels – off-centre hours and minutes, small seconds – 206 parts.
- Strap: hand-sewn alligator leather with 18k gold or platinum pin buckle
- Limitation: Limited edition of 3×10 pieces in pink gold, 3×10 pieces in platinum
- Price: CHF 75,000 (pink gold) and CHF 88,000 (platinum)