Romain Gauthier : May the force be

Romain Gauthier : May the force be with…diamonds

by Olivier Müller

For those who are not familiar with Romain Gauthier, it will even be harder to know him and his timepiece, now that it’s hidden…behind a bonnet ! That’s the Logical One « Secret » the watchmaker will unveil in Baselworld.

Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret – Rewind

Romain Gauthier was born in 1975 in Le Sentier, in the Vallée de Joux. After studying precision-mechanics, he went on to gain a diploma as a constructor of precision machinery. In 1997, he started his first job as a machine programmer/operator at the very highly regarding horological parts manufacturer in the Vallée de Joux and over the following years, Romain managed and grew the machine department into one of the most well-equipped and efficient production facilities in Europe.

In pursuit of his desire to create his own watch brand, Romain completed an MBA in 2002. His final thesis – passed with distinction – was the business plan for Montres Romain Gauthier. He then began work on the timepieces themselves.

Romain Gauthier receiving his price at GPHG 2013

Romain Gauthier receiving his price at GPHG 2013

In 2006, after four years of working in secret, Romain launched his brand with the Prestige HM, which featured his own in-house manufacture movement.  The HM was followed in 2012 by the Prestige HMS and the ground-breaking Logical One in 2013. This watch won the much coveted Prize of the Men’s Complication of the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève, last year.

Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret – Stop

Let’s spend a seconds lines on RG’s main strengh on th Logical One, the Contant force. The vast majority of machines run on constant force: cars and planes don’t start running slower as fuel runs low and machines receive the same voltage no matter how much electricity is produced. Yet the power that runs and regulates the vast majority of high precision mechanical timepieces varies greatly according to the state of wind of the mainspring.

Constant force is one of the holy grails of horology and with Logical One, Romain Gauthier has reinvented the chain-and-fusee – one of the oldest and most traditional methods of supplying constant force to a watch/clock movement – making it both more reliable, more effective . . . and more constant.

A fusee (‘fusée’ is French for cone) is a cone-shaped pulley wound with a cord or chain that is attached to the mainspring barrel. Fusees have been used since 15th century to improve timekeeping by compensating for the diminishing torque/power of the mainspring as it ran down.

Romain Gauthier Logical One

Romain Gauthier Logical One

The first fusees used fine cord; however, as technology enabled the manufacture of ever-smaller chains, these replaced cords because chains transmit power more efficiently. But the traditional chain and fusee has two inherent problems:

  • The multiple layers of chain (often eight turns) on the fusee mean that the individual links have to be small, which means that they are relatively weak.
  •  The chain is often transmitting force between the fusee and mainspring barrel at an angle, which is both inefficient and adds stress.

Romain Gauthier solved both problems by replacing the fusee with a slowly rotating snail cam, which is situated at 10 o’clock to the left of the hour/minutes dial. As the snail cam and mainspring barrel are on the same level, the force is always transmitted in a straight line and, as only one short line of chain is needed, the links can be bigger and stronger.

Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret – Forward

With its cover closed, hours, minutes and seconds of the Logical one Secret are embraced in a glittering ocean of diamonds cascading right down to the lugs. Total : 181 invisibly set baguette diamonds, totally nearly 7 carats ! A squeeze on the pusher set into the caseband at 4 o’clock lifts the cover, revealing the complexity of Logical one’s multi-patented constant force movement.

Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret - Baselworld Release

Romain Gauthier Logical One Secret – Baselworld Release

Why is this piece interesting ? Because apart from men who love diamonds, this piece is dedicated to women. And it’s a very complicated, sophiticated piece with a true innovative caliber. It’s always a challenge to offer complicated timepieces to ladies, because of the daily requirements is has (no shock, no water, daily winding in some cases and, if possible, no scratches !).

With the Secret, Romain Gauthier offers to women a very high-level introduction to the world of Haute Horlogerie. And takes a serious financial bet, as such a piece with a total of a little less than 200 diamonds is very expensive to produce, with no guarantee of sell. Especially with a 43 mm piece…

    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.