Sometimes a watchmaker truly surprises you with a groundbreaking new timepiece. Whether it is groundbreaking in terms of technology (materials, complications etc.) or in design, every now and then they use ‘shock and awe’ to grab the spotlight. When it comes down to already extravagant and avant-garde watchmakers, it is hard to step out of the day-to-day line-up.
When I first saw this futuristic, eighties-edgy ‘thing’, I really had to gather my thoughts to what I was looking at, and who could have made it. Brands such as URWERK, MB&F or even Azimuth crossed my mind. It turned out to be a familiar brand of mine: Romain Jerome. Let me introduce their ‘out of this world’ Romain Jerome Spacecraft.
We all know Romain Jerome is not a traditional brand, incomparable to the mainstream watchmakers (no offense!) and always aiming for ‘next level’. It doesn’t come as a surprise that a brand such as RJ created this unique looking Spacecraft. As you might have already read on Monochrome, the Liberty-DNA, the Dia de los Muertos or the Delorean-DNA all share the same principles: a timepiece dedicated to an iconic event, sight or object. With almost all of the creations, a piece of the actual object is incorporated in the final product. Materials gathered from the Titanic, the Statue of Liberty, the DMC Delorean automobile or even the moon have been used before.
The final frontier is the topic of choice once more, with this seventies-edgy Romain Jerome Spacecraft. The Spacecraft has been developed by Manuel Emch (CEO of RJ) alongside Eric Giroud and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. These three names are no strangers to Monochrome. Created by this three-man team, the Spacecraft embodies some of the wildest ideas in RJ history for sure. The horological complexity is obscured by a totally unconventional, trapeze shaped case. Made of black PVDF-coated steel and covered in triangular bead blasted titanium plates, the case looks like it came straight out of a sci-fi flick. The facetted surface of the watch, combined with the black steel and silver-gray simply oozes ‘space’.
The case has a lot of design features to lose sight of what a watch is actually designed to do: tell time. The triangular, edgy design really grabs the attention like a Romain Jerome should, but in a very different way. Telling time is relatively simple, although the mechanics aren’t that simple. On the top of the case, a triangular sapphire crystal partially reveals a black rotating minute disc, accompanied by a red triangular indicator. Adjacent to the rotating disc you can find the RJ-logo. The hours can be read on the front of the watch, just like with the MB&F HM5. The resemblance between the two is there, but actually all they share is the idea for the lateral time display.
The hour display show the hours with a red cursor moving behind a metalized sapphire crystal. This linear style of indicating the hours features a jumping retrograde complication. Every 60 minutes the cursor instantly jumps forward one position, to return to the start when reaching 12:59h. Reading the time on two different levels might come across as unnecessary, but what do you do when you turn your wrist to look for the time? Exactly, nine out of ten times you first see the front side of the case, so with the positioning of the hours on the Spacecraft you almost automatically see the hours anyway. It is just a matter of getting used to focus on the hours first, before making the full rotation to look on top of the case.
The mechanical movement, named caliber RJ2000-A, is actually an ETA 2892 with a module on top. That module is built exclusively for Romain Jerome. It features a lateral placed, linear read hour display with a jumping and retrograde hours setup. The base ETA movement provides less power then usual, but this is due to the power needed to drive the module. When fully wound it still has power for 38 hours of autonomy.
The movement has a specially designed spring driven carriage to drive the red cursor used to indicate the correct hour. The movement is set and wound via the crown, positioned at the top end of the case, at 12 o’clock.
The case is attached to a black polyamide mesh strap, which comes with a titanium buckle engraved with the RJ-logo. Some specifications:
- Dimensions case: 50 x 44,5 x 18,5 mm
- Material case and crown: Titanium, black PVD-coated titanium elements, beadblasted titanium plates crown
- Anti-reflective metallised sapphire crystals
The watch will be produced in a limited run of 99 pieces, but knowing Romain Jerome, it is likely more variations of the Spacecraft will come. Only time will tell, I guess. The watch is available at a retail price of 21.900 Swiss Francs. For more information please visit Romain Jerome’s website.
This article is written by Robin Nooij, contributing writer for Monochrome Watches.