Romain Jerome Dia de los Muertos: Hell of a piece!

by Olivier Müller

Once again, the creative spirit of the watch brand Romain Jerome hit. During the last few years, we had the chance to witness some very creative timepieces, even if their style and inspiration was, sometimes, a matter of taste. For instance, the  Romain Jerome Titanic-DNA watch, made from real rust parts of the Titanic, was a brilliant marketing idea… Based upon a human tragedy with no equivalent. Their Liberty-DNA piece, with parts of the Statue of Liberty, was more acceptable for the final customer. Or recently the Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA.

Today, Romain Jerome had the great idea to pick its inspiration in the traditional folklore of Mexico. Every year in Mexico, celebrations honouring the dead brighten up the whole country. Classified as part of UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” since 2003, the “Día de los Muertos” is the most important date in the Mexican calendar. RJ-Romain Jerome has decided to pay tribute to this traditional custom with a watch in which every detail echoes the joyful, colourful festivities that accompany the Day of the Dead.

Romain Jerome Dia de los Muertos: Blend of cultures and feelings

But where does this custom come from ? 3,500 years ago, when pagan rites of Aztec origin blended with customs inherited from the Spanish colonialists. In Aztec times, people came to the graves of the dead in their families to dance, sing and place offerings intended to fulfil the needs of the dead in the after-life. This tradition did not completely disappear with the arrival of the Spanish colonialists who simply changed the date of the festival so that it coincided with the Christian celebrations on All Saints Day at the beginning of November.

 Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos

Still today, the “Día de los Muertos” is an occasion for the Mexicans to laugh at death with a certain degree of irony combined with a great deal of humour, derision and sarcasm. This blend of feelings was probably what seduced Romain Jerome, which ever had a communication apart from the standards of the industry.

RJ Dia de los Muertos: Enamel, jewels, champlevé : a true piece of art

Romain Jerome has decided to take its turn celebrating the Day of the Dead with a timepiece available in 5 versions with diamonds, each of them issued in 25-piece limited editions. But this collection is not exactly new as RJ did the first Día de los Muertos piece last year with 2 limited editions (without gem stones). The inspiration for the dial was drawn from traditional Mexi­can decorations. A hand-crafted colourful applique adorned with a champlevé decoration, cold enameled in different colours, emulates the look of the “calaveras” – the skulls made of sugar given away by the Mexicans as good luck tokens during the entire festival.

Romain Jerome Dia de Los Muertos

Romain Jerome Dia de Los Muertos

The seven colours on the applique are a reminder of the seven stages through which the soul of the dead must pass before being able to rest in peace. The case is made of black PVD-coated steel, associated with a bezel and “paws” in black ceramic. The mirror-polished dial features an engraving of the brand’s emblem­atic X shape, along with the applied Romain Jerome logo.

In the end, this piece is a true art one, both funny and intriguing. With so much work on its design, it comes at ‘only’ EUR 18,500 for the first gem-set versions. And  USD 15,900 / CHF 14,900 / EUR 12,900 for the regular version. The Perfect Halloween apparel ?

Romain Jerome Dia de los Muertos: Technical Specifications

  • Caliber: RJ001-A, Mechanical self-winding movement
  • Frequency: 28,800 A/h
  • Jewelling: 23 jewels
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Water resistance: 3 atm (30 meters)
  • Functions: Central hours and minutes
  • Bezel: Black ceramic
  • Strap: Hornback alligator

More resources about the Romain Jerome Dia de los Muertos on the Official Romain Jerome Website.
Very interesting “Hands-On” review with Customs Shot on The Horophile Website.

    Author Bio

    Articles by Olivier Müller


    Olivier Müller is a professional journalist specialising in horology. He divides his time between Geneva and Paris, covering horology-related topics for a dozen or so magazines and specialist websites in Europe. He is also a regular speaker at various events. In 2008, Olivier Müller set up Delos Communications to manage the writing side of his business, spanning five European countries. Delos Communications also provides consultancy services for horological communication, helping brands as they define and implement their strategy in terms of positioning, messages and audience. In addition to the world’s two largest watchmaking groups, Delos Communications’ clients include a broad range of emerging independent brands, as well as public-sector bodies keen to promote their local watchmaking heritage. Five people work for the agency, including a journalist, a photographer, a community manager and a translator, all with expertise in the world of watchmaking.