Watches created by independent watchmaker Romain Gauthier stand out by a couple of things, one of which is the high level of detail in its finishing. Considered a master of the trade, Romain Gauthier and his team spent hours and hours finely decorating just about every component in a movement, using every trick in the book. Displayed by the complex Logical One, the intricate Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette or the Prestige HMS, his watches include finishing like hand-applied anglage, black-polishing, various types of graining, polished jewel sinks and more. The new Romain Gauthier Continuum heads down a new path but is still a Romain Gauthier through and through.
Romain Gauthier’s past collections
Romain Gauthier is without a doubt one of the best independent watchmakers in the entire industry. He’s been working under his own name for about 16 years, and prior to that, he’s gained experience working for movement component specialist François Gollay (now part of the Swatch Group). Romain Gauthier has amassed a level of knowledge and skill that allows him to push boundaries and explore new territories. His most revered, and most complicated watch is the Romain Gauthier Logical One. It is equipped with an in-house developed movement with a fusée-and-chain mechanism and wound via the pusher on the left side of the case. Considered a grail in watchmaking, the system provides a stable level of torque and is proudly displayed on the dial side of the Logical One.
The Prestige HMS and Insight Micro-Rotor might be less complex compared to the Logical One, they still bear the hallmarks of Romain Gauthier. His love for off-centred displays for instance, and unusual yet intriguing solutions incorporated into a watch. One such telling piece is the Prestige HMS, with a unique crown system mounted on the backside of the case. Other signature elements are the open-worked wheels with bevelled spokes, bercé-type anglage on the bridges and plates and ultra-sharp inward angles.
The new Romain Gauthier Continuum
Romain Gauthier’s newest model features a completely new design for the case, and for the movement. Called Continuum, as a nod to constantly being in development as a watchmaker and company, this collection heads down a slightly different path than what we might have expected. The Romain Gauthier Continuum takes on a more youthful, sporty and contemporary look, both for the habillage and the movement. Yet upon closer inspection, a lot of subtle details befitting the brand are to be discovered.
It all starts with a grade 5 titanium case and bezel featuring a modern profile with vertical grooves in the caseband. The finishing, something where Romain Gauthier shines if you hadn’t caught on by now, is top-notch and has alternating polished and brushed surfaces. The bezel, in particular, has a design previously unseen and is machined into a circular shape before six facets are created by cutting into the bevelled edge. The facets are polished while the top and sides of the bezel have a brushed finishing.
The facetted design is repeated on the sapphire crystal caseback, and results in a truly unique look and pushes the watch into sports-watch like territories. Lastly, the lugs are angled slightly inward to almost seamlessly integrate the grey rubber strap the watch comes on, adding to the watch’s more youthful intentions.
Moving on to the sandblasted titanium dial, this is where yet more details are waiting to be discovered. If you look closely, you’ll notice the central hour and minute hands are not actually centred at all. As a nod to previous collections, all featuring off-set time indications, the Continuum’s tapered and bevelled white gold hands are slightly positioned above the horizontal axis of the dial.
The same goes for the small seconds subdial, albeit far more obvious. The theme continues with the slightly tapered white gold and bevelled indices and the red lines radiating from the seconds’ axis, doubling as markers for every fifth second. This red touch on the dial is matched to the red rubber ring around the offset crown, with an additional grey rubber ring being provided to change the look.
Turning the watch over reveals the entirely new movement created for the Romain Gauthier Continuum. This in-house developed calibre is hand-wound and has a far more contemporary architecture when compared to previous movements by Romain Gauthier. Using plates and finger-like bridges made in grade 5 titanium, the movement has a horizontal construction.
Each bridge is finished with bevelled angles (not polished but sandblasted) and a raised border around the outside edge. Inside this border, craftsmen have used a special technique to create a modern, dimpled effect. The top surfaces of the borders themselves have been finished with straight-graining. Each jewel sink is polished and the bridges are mounted with an S-slotted polished screw.
Regardless of the new and unexpected look of the movement, it still incorporates some of the brand’s fine details. The ratchet wheel and running gears all feature the circular spoked design with bevelled and polished edges. Romain Gauthier’s signature balance wheel uses curved arms and eccentric weights, and a triangular pallet lever for increased rigidity. The movement also features a snail cam as a stop-seconds mechanism when the crowned is pulled out.
The snail cam is a recurring element in previous Romain Gauthier movements. For the Continuum the snail cam halts the balance wheel, only to kickstart it with a little impulse due to the widening profile, making a rotation when the crown is pushed back in. Using 154 components, the movement runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The Romain Gauthier Continuum is worn on a textured grey rubber strap that integrates into the case through the sharply sculpted lugs. It comes with a satin-finished and polished grade 5 titanium pin buckle. The Romain Gauthier Continuum is a limited edition of 28 individually numbered pieces and has a price of CHF 37,000 excluding taxes.
For more information, please visit RomainGauthier.com
Romain Gauthier Continuum for Only Watch 2021
As a side-note, Romain Gauthier also donates a unique edition of the new continuum to the Only Watch 2021 charity auction held next month. The Romain Gauthier Continuum for Only Watch embraces this year’s theme by applying a gradient red-to-yellow colour scheme on the hour indices and numerals, as well as the small seconds subdial. The red ring around the crown’s circumference is replaced with an anthracite-coloured rubber ring.
Created in 2005, Only watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 9th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday 6 November 2021. More details at www.onlywatch.com.