Gold or platinum… Sometimes stainless steel for certain highly limited editions. Collectors of ultra-high-end watches mostly enjoy their beauties encased with these 3 materials. On the other hand, titanium is widely used in tool watches – or when lightweight and resistance are required. Haute Horlogerie and titanium are usually not combined. Surprisingly, this is the combination that Romain Gauthier chose for the latest edition of his magical constant force watch, bringing a new perspective to collectors and a result sporty approach. Here is the Romain Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium.
For all its merits – strength, lightness and biocompatibility – titanium is more often associated with tool, sports or avant-garde watches, rather than exquisite dress timepieces. Ultra high-end collectors just don’t seem to go for titanium. “In my experience, most ultra-high-end collectors enjoy their timepieces in gold, platinum or steel,” says Gauthier. “Titanium is still a step too far for many. I respect that, but I believe that in time high-end collectors will move over and eventually won’t think twice about acquiring an haute horlogerie timepiece in titanium”. And here, at Monochrome-Watches, we think Mister Gauthier makes a point here. In fact, if you think of a white metal for your haute-horlogerie piece, titanium could be the best option. Why? When you buy a 6-figure watch, you probably want to keep it in mint condition, even if properly wearing it. On the contrary of gold, titanium is much more resistant to scratches. Then, high-end watches, due to larger diameters and complicated movements, are usually quite heavy. Titanium will help to bring comfort. Finally, there’s something quite different in terms of colours (a bit darker, more grey) with titanium and this could set your watch apart.
This is the “raison d’être” of the new Romain Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium. It sets apart because of the entire approach given by Gauthier to its signature watch, all of this of course driven by the choice of material for the case. This case measures 43mm x 15mm (thus, considering the size, the use of a lightweight metal has some sense here) and his made in grade 5 titanium. Details are in the contrasts created by the various finishes applied to the case and movement: light and dark, polished and satin-finished. The lugs, bezel, caseback, pusher and time-setting crown are satin-finished, creating a nice contrast with the mirror polished central part of the case. This sporty attitude is even enhanced by the matte black alligator strap.
This concept also lies on the face of the Romain Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium. The mainplate, mainspring barrel bridge and lower bridge for the constant force mechanism bear a deep anthracite ADLC finish, with matte finish (sand blasted). On the other hand, the balance bridge, escape wheel bridge and constant force device are in bright white metal, which enhanced the hand-finishing details. Likewise, the upper ‘bar’ bridge for the constant force system is in light-hued natural titanium. This Romain Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium will be available in three editions:
- Oven-fired white enamel dial on a 18k gold base, flame-blued hands
- Oven-fired black enamel dial on a 18k gold base, 18k white gold hands
- Blackened brass dial with clous de Paris guilloche, 18k white gold hands
This is it for the design, but what about the watch itself. The Romain Gauthier Logical One is a splendid mechanical creation – it even won the Best Men’s Complication watch at the 2013 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). It features a constant force device, by the mean of an innovative chain-and-fusee style system. However, this system is rather different than the one used here or here – where a cone-shaped pulley is wound with a chain that is attached to the mainspring barrel. Romain Gauthier innovates here by replacing the fusee with a slowly rotating snail cam. Because the snail cam and mainspring barrel are on the same level, the force is always transmitted in a straight line and, as only one short line of chain is needed, the links can be bigger and stronger. To further improve efficiency, Romain Gauthier has taken full advantage of the larger chain links by making the links in low-friction hard-wearing synthetic rubies. Finally, to eliminate potential uneven friction within the mainspring barrel, Gauthier has placed the mainspring between synthetic sapphire plates.
Even the winding mechanism of the Romain Gauthier Logical One is unique, as not done via the crown but via a pusher (in the case band, at 9), which allows a more efficient transmission to the barrel. Overall, this watch has 46 hours of power reserve – a rather long duration for a fusee and chain watch and also considering the length of the chain. The back of the movement reveals the superb finish: hand decorated bridges and main-plate, with hand-made rounded chamfers and internal angles, specifically designed screws (with S-slot) and polished heads, in-house balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights, bespoke gear wheels with circular arms for maximum strength… The movement of the Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium was conceived, developed, produced, decorated, assembled and regulated at Manufacture Romain Gauthier in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland.
With this Romain Gauthier Logical One Natural Titanium, we have the demonstration that titanium, usually a material used for its practicality, can also be applied to ultra-high-end watchmaking, with a result that mixes sporty attitude with haute horlogerie. It will be priced at 98,000 Swiss Francs (before taxes) for the clous de Paris edition and 102,000 Swiss Francs (before taxes) for the enamel edition. More details soon, during Baselworld 2016. www.romaingauthier.com.