Romain Jerome is one of the few companies today that is presented in the high-end horology sector yet allows itself space for creativity. That is a much-appreciated quality by guys like me, who fancy a nice movement but at the same time want to enjoy the watch. I’ve had an opportunity to ‘test drive’ their new creation – Tattoo DNA ‘The Sailor’s Grave’ on my wrist for some days so I will give you a full hands-on review on that piece.
First of all my view on RJ pieces is very mixed. While I’m not a big fan of the Titanic DNA (which proved to be very popular) I really enjoyed pieces like the ‘Space Invaders’ and the ‘Moon Orbiter’ tourbillon. One of them (the Orbiter) displays great mechanics and idea, taking you into a whole other world every time you look at the dial, while the other is just a very fun timepiece!
Now let’s get directly to the newly released RJ Tattoo DNA collection… Finally a watch brand decided to team up with a real tattoo artist to work on a piece together. In this case it’s one of the biggest names in the industry – Mo Coppoletta, famous today for the ‘The Family Business Tattoo” based in London. The sign of the tattoo company is an anchor, which is reflected in the dial of the Tattoo DNA watches as a 3d sculpture. That look is supported by the background troubled water in the ‘mini ocean’ and the lightning coming down from the dark clouds.
As the watch model is called ‘The Sailor’s Grave’ of course there is a ship in the middle of the scene, sinking in the water, but still very visible. Actually, as soon as I heard the name of the watch I thought ‘Oh no… Another tragedy based watch!’ But the design and name of the watch have a lot more meaning than you might think at first. Romain Jerome, even though creating fun pieces, takes the ‘DNA’ element of the watches very seriously. We’ve seen the moon or lava dust and the Titanic rusted steel and the Liberty statue bronze used in their watches. As for the Tattoo DNA they’ve taken a very important concept valuable to the ink connoisseurs – the design of that anchor you see in the dial is in fact an old form of protection for sailors, who inked the symbol on the weakest part of their bodies, to save them from the enemies (interesting form of superstition).
And as RJ couldn’t decide which colour scheme and material use is best they’ve created 4 different versions of the watch ?. Only colour difference is in the lightning – it is either red or yellow. However more differences arise when we look at the casings. Two of the versions have a steel and black-PVD steel combination, while two others are full black PVD. The difference in material is also reflected in the strap; while two of them have skin coloured leather the others are equipped with a black fabric one. Personally I really preferred the leather, as it has a very nice feel to my (skinny) wrist as well as the folding claps, which are more comfortable to wear. As well as that it has a very nice decoration on the leather, displaying the ‘Family Business Tattoo’ logo and some really nice stitching.
All of the pieces actually have a great luminescent effect in the dark, using the ‘superluminova’ green emission, and the dial looks great during the low light as much as it does during the day. Yes, there isn’t much functionality to the watch, it is simply displaying hours and minutes, but while I usually like the pieces with more functionality to them there are many people who appreciate the look of the watch much more. That is where ‘The Sailor’s Grave’ is superior to many watches in its price range. It’s big, mean, and just really eye-catching!
Romain Jerome Tattoo DNA Limited Edition Pricing
Each of the versions is limited to 25 pieces and has a numbered and also ‘tattooed’ backside of the casing. Though not displaying the movement it has a very nice touch to it, and not just a plain metal plate. With the price of $18’450 it falls in the usual ‘steampunk’ casing price range and it’s definitely a nice piece to have in any tattoo fan collection.
As this collection has just launched very recently it is still a very raw concept, even though nicely executed, and in my perception there is so much room for development and customization. As Romain Jerome just stepped into the tattoo industry, and for now is only one of its kind it can really take advantage of that and continue the relationship with Mo Coppoletta or other artists to create new designs and perhaps more complicated pieces…