Romain Jerome have been busy the past couple of months having released both Tattoo-DNA and Skylab Skeleton watch lines. Known for incorporating unusual and rare materials in their watches, Romain Jerome have in the past used moon dust in their Moon DNA collection and steel that has been recovered from the Titanic in their Titanic-DNA collection to name a couple of them. Now Romain Jerome has just introduced its latest collection called simply “1969” and it is an update for the Moon DNA collection. Behind this year made memorable by the first steps of man on the Moon the watchmaker unveils four timepieces featuring new cases and dials using exotic materials, one based on meteorite and three based on silicon.
Romain Jerome 1969 – The Dials
For Romain Jerome the dials are actually quite conservative compared to a lot of their watches which tend to be a bit “out there”. The dials feature simply the hours and minutes with a seconds sub-dial at the 9 O’clock position. Romain Jerome’s intent with this new line was to create watches with “geometrical clean lines combined with colourful, animated dials that will transport their owners into the mystical world of outer space.” The avant-garde Swiss watchmaker has a fondness for using rare and exotic materials in its watches as well as an interest in space and the sub dial for the second hand at 9:00 apparently takes its design from the “visor used by the astronauts to guide the LEM safely onto the surface of the moon,” I was curious to see what this was referring to and had a look at some NASA images relating to this but wasnt able to determine the reference so had to use my imagination, nevertheless an interesting design feature.
This new 1969 collection features four different, understated dials including one using a rare type of meteorite called Chondrites. Much rarer than either gold or platinum yet despite its rarity Chondrite is one of the more common types of meteorite to fall to earth.
The “1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite” watch uses a thin slice of it for the dial, the process to cut and make a dial from meteorite requires a rare and delicate craftsmanship.The material is brittle and its difficult to work with and skill is required for the process to be perfectly executed so as to not affect the proper functioning of the timepiece. Other brands have used it for dials before, in particular Rolex and Omega, and it was particularly popular in the sixties and seventies.
The other three 1969 models all have silicon dials. This natural, translucent and fragile material has been colored using a special process of PVD coatings to change the colour and give them a textured finish, and they come in blue, grey or brown.
Romain Jerome 1969 – The Case
Romain Jerome have used the smaller and thinner 43 mm steel case they first used on the Skylab skeleton model, that is apart from the brown silicon dial version 1969 which uses a black PVD coated steel case. The 1969 watches have a silver alloy case back with small amounts of Moon dust incorporated into the metal like the other models in the Moon-DNA collection. The case features the signature four overlapping bands around the case edge which hold the steel satin-finished bezel in place and form an “X” shape.
The caseback has a textured stellar pattern with a Moon medallion and the piece comes on a black croco strap.
Romain Jerome 1969 – Conclusion and Pricing
This is an understated Romain Jerome piece that will appeal to the more conservative fans of the brand. The meteorite dial retails at US$11,500 while the the silicon dial models retail for slightly less at US$10,500. Each of the models is a limited of 99 pieces.