Being part of the Monochrome-Watches’ team; we get asked many question but there is one question that comes quite often to my ears. How would you describe the difference between a fine watch and a proper high-end watch (in other words, what is Haute Horlogerie)? Better than words (even if it’s a subject we’ll get back on later, in a long article), have a look at a time pieces manufactured by Laurent Ferrier, De Bethune, Philippe Dufour or Kari Voutilainen might well help you to draw an answer. This also goes for a watch coming out of Romain Gauthier’s mind – and his latest creation, made together with the Brazilian artist Kakau Höfke is no exception to the rule. Here is a view on the Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret Kakau Höfke.
For this collaboration and in order to create this piece of “Métiers d’Arts”, Romain Gauthier teamed up with someone he knows for some years. Kakau Höfke is a Brazilian artist and a long-time friend of the Gauthier family, responsible for designing the Romain Gauthier logo when the brand was founded in 2005. For this unique piece, the Romain Gauthier Logical One becomes “Secret”, as its dial is partially hidden by a 18k white gold cover, it-self adorned with a modernist depiction of Rio de Janeiro. Originally featuring in her series of acrylic-on-canvas artworks, Höfke’s signature portrayal of her native city Rio not only evokes Corcovado – the iconic mountain on which proudly stands the “Christ the Redeemer” statue – but also the pattern that features on the promenade (calçada) bordering Ipanema beach. The off-centered time sub-dial and the small second sub-dial are also adorned with this same pattern, creating a continuous scenery.
This scenery of Rio de Janeiro comprises 352 unique, mirror-polished, miniature tiles of jade and agate – each one 0.5mm thin and painstakingly hand-finished and hand-applied – make up this micro-marquetry, which required three months of work to create. The complexity of the marquetry is even emphasized by the bombé profile of the cover and double layer of tiles. “Light and dark tiles cut from the same lavender jade stone form the Ipanema promenade pattern; tiles cut from blue agate compose the Corcovado scenery. Where the two motifs overlap, the cover has been delicately recessed to accommodate a second layer of tiles, with the ethereal transparency of the blue agate allowing the lavender jade marquetry below to remain visible.”
This cover, however magnificent it is, hides another beauty: the unique and in-house movement (that features possibly one of the most achieved finishing ever seen). The main specificity of this movement is to feature a chain-and-fusee style constant force system with ruby chain links and ergonomic push button winding system (winding isn’t done conventionally via the crown but with a sort of pusher on the left side of the case). The balance wheel is highly visible on the dial side and, like the rest of the pieces that compose this movement; it’s unique to this watch.
In terms of execution, we’re at the very top of what watchmaking can offer. The movement of the Romain Gauthier Logical One was entirely conceived, developed, designed, produced, decorated, assembled and regulated by Manufacture Romain Gauthier. It features bespoke gear wheels with graceful circular arms for maximum rigidity, special power-process hand frosted bridges, high efficiency gear teeth profile (patent pending), polished screw heads with distinctive S-slot for more length/less slip and a balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights. All the edges of the bridges are highly polished by hand with internal angles (and to answer the very first question, this is an example of VERY HIGHEST Haute Horlogerie).
The Romain Gauthier Logical one Secret Kakau Höfke is a unique piece, created as part of Manufacture Romain Gauthier’s 10th anniversary celebrations. It is accompanied by a unique acrylic-on-canvas Rio de Janeiro artwork that Kakau Höfke painted especially to complement the timepiece. More details on the official website.
Features and indications
- Intricate stone micro-marquetry adaptation of Kakau Höfke’s Rio de Janeiro artwork on white gold cover and subdials
- Movement features chain-and-fusee style constant force system, push-button winding and superlative hand finishing
- Hours, minutes, small seconds and 46-hour power reserve indicator
Stone micro-marquetry on white gold cover and hour and minute subdials
- No. of lavender jade tiles: 270
- No. of blue agate tiles: 82
- Tiles cut by laser then adjusted, finished and applied by hand at Olivier Vaucher’s atelier
Dial and hands
- Lavender jade marquetry on hour and minute subdials
- Skeletonised hour and minute hands in 18k white gold
- Solid small seconds hand in 18k white gold
- Subdials fixed via Romain Gauthier polished screw with distinctive s-slot
- In-house manufacture movement
- Dimensions: 35.5mm x 10.5mm
- Power reserve: 46 hours
- Number of jewels: 37 in movement, 34 for chain
- Number of components: 357
- Balance frequency: 28,800 vph / 4Hz
- Movement plates and bridges: titanium, stainless steel and brass
- Movement finish: palladium-treated
- Finishing: Highest level haute horlogerie finishing, including hand-polished screws and jewel countersinks; hand-bevelled and hand-polished bridges and plates
Case and strap
- Case material: 18k white gold
- Dimensions: 43mm x 15mm
- Water resistance: 30m /3atm / 100ft
- Sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating front and display back
- Crown for time-setting at 2 o’clock
- Push button for winding at 9 o’clock
- Pusher for unlocking cover at 4 o’clock
- Strap and buckle: alligator leather strap hand-stitched in Switzerland with 18k white gold pin buckle