For those seeking a bit of colour in their horological life, Romain Jerome comes to the rescue. The Swiss manufacture, comfortably restraining to the ‘out-there’ category, is one of the brands that we somehow seem to cover on quite a regular basis. Just think of the Liberty-DNA, the Spacecraft, and the Tattoo-DNA with a tattooed leather strap. Recently we had the Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Blue here for a review. Let’s have a closer look at that one.
Adding the Steampunk Chrono Colors collection to their otherwise predominantly dark product-line brings some summer-cool to the wrist. The Chrono Blue features several key-aspects of the Steampunk design, such as the “clamps” on the case, the big “XII” on the dial and the characteristic lugs. What’s new is that the Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono comes in five different colours: yellow, orange, red, green and, obviously, blue. Next to the watches, Romain Jerome also released a collection of matching cufflinks. These cufflinks resemble a ships propeller and are available in the same colours as the watches.
Most people thought a Big Pilot or Radiomir was large, but this behemoth is 50mm wide and 18mm thick, and it wears bigger than big! Nevertheless how big this might be, it is still dwarfed by the over-the-top Zenith Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu that measures 60mm in diameter. Sometimes a watch wears smaller or larger than its actual size due to the lug design. With the Steampunk Chrono Blue you wear it as it is. Admittedly, 50mm is far from standard but despite the size, it is surprisingly comfortable. The case is made with bits of steel from the Titanic, salvaged from 3,840 meters below the ocean’s surface. This is then mixed with stainless steel obtained from the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast (UK), responsible for the legendary ship’s construction.
Apart from the sheer size of the case, there is a lot of detail to see on the dial of the Steampunk Chrono Blue. One of the first items that catch our attention is the fast spinning propeller at 6 o’clock. Our first guess would that this was the small seconds indication, but how wrong we were. It is just a gimmick! The propellor is coupled to the automatic winding rotor, and geared so that it moves four times faster than the movement’s rotor. This means that when the rotor turns, and therefore winds the main spring barrel, the propellor also spins around. When the rotor doesn’t turn, the propellers doesn’t turn either.
The big “XII”, ruthenium coated, is a true Romain Jerome trademark. The same goes for the four distinct clamps surrounding the outside of the case, attached to the four pistons surrounding the dial. The anchor-styled hands and central seconds-counter are also ruthenium coated to complete the theme. The subdial at 9 displays the continuous running seconds with a blue hand. The subdial at 3 has a steel hand displaying the 30-minute chronograph counter. Furthermore, the RJ-logo is engraved at 9, directly onto the baseplate.
The seconds are registered by the centrally mounted hand, which is satin-brushed. The downside to this finishing is that the hand blends at bit too much into the other ruthenium coated parts that make up the dial.
A blue lacquered ring on the perimeter of the case, almost rubber-like looking, has hours and minute markers notched into it. The dial also shows quite a bit of nuts and bolts, giving it a very industrial and nautical look, with a hint of blue (or one of the other colours for that matter). More blue is found on the rubber ring around the crown, the coloured sides and stitching of the black alligator strap.
Inside the polished case sits the RJ001-CS automatic movement that boasts 42 hours of power reserve. The movement beats at 28,800vph and comes with 39 jewels. The movement, modified by Concepto, is based on the very reliable and well-known Valjoux 7750. The Steampunk Chrono Colours collection is available in 5 different colours and each colour is limited to either 99 pieces or 2,012 pieces. And so are the cufflinks. Each colour will come with its number engraved on the caseback, accompanied by an engraved propeller.
Taking all the above in consideration, this might not suite everyone’s taste. The size of the Steampunk Chrono Blue and the “out0-there” design might scare off more than a few watch aficionados. As mentioned before, even if it wears surprisingly comfortable due to the short lugs and supple strap, it requires a robust wrist. Size and weight might be a deal breaker for some, except for those who think: “go big or go home.” And that’s exactly who this caters to.
The RJ-Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Blue is priced at USD 15,950 and the matching cufflinks at USD 600. For more information, head on over to RJ – Romain Jerome’s website.