Day 3: Romain Gauthier
My initial reaction to Romain's work a couple of years ago, was not entirely favourable, as can be seen in my past writings on the subject. This is a classic example of "assumption" and that old chestnut, "lack of data"! I had first met Romain in Basel in 2007, where I briefly looked at a watch of his in between appointments, and had not taken the time to find out why it is Romain does what he does.
Boy, how was I proved wrong about my initial viewpoint, last year when Romain visited CA to meet with collectors in both southern & northern California in December, while staying with me. I got to find out first hand from Romain, how he creates his timepieces and more importantly why. As has been written many times over, Romain is not a "Watchmaker", rather an engineer by training, and an inspired designer. He took all his engineering training , familial watch industry background, after all he grew up the Vallée de Joux, has a brother and father working for prominent watch companies; and designed a more efficient mechanical watch movement based on engineering efficiency.
Here is the big image that one was confronted with when stepping onto Romain's stand in Basel:
His use of current technology allows for the speedy design and prototyping, which resulted in him being able to create, in less than 3 months a new model, the 2nd part of the Prestige Collection. The movement is clearly based on his first watch, however it has some neat added features for the Romain Gauthier fan, a sub second hand and a semi-skeletonised movement, showing off the escape wheel and the seconds wheel.
Now for the real thing, first in rose gold:
Another shot, this time the movement shot of the RG:
Another picture, notice the contrast of the Geneva stripes and perlage in the finishing:
This design was executed since his CA visit and Basel was the debut. The third day of the show, Saturday, Romain's chief watchmaker delivered the WG prototype fresh off the bench. He started the show on Thursday only with the rose gold version, as that was finished just the day before. So continues the traditional "Basel Rush", final days before the show frantically finishing projects in order to show them to the eager watch world.
The white gold variation for you, I loved it and found it more appealing than the RG, which is unusual for me:
Now a little closer:
And closer still:
Now to the movement of the WG variant, again notice the distinct finishing for each model, this one glows:
Closer still, we see the R. Gauthier "Frosted finish" on the main plate and a rather lovely slightly "spiraled graining" of the bridges, centered on the big jewel:
And for those that like, a wrist shot of the RG piece:
Following on from his "advanced engineering makes for more efficient products" Romain has designed a mechanical cufflink, that locks in place when inserted into the shirt cuff by the simple push of a button on the top, and then when time comes to remove it, pushing the two side buttons simultaneously, releases the cufflink. The days of struggling with your shirt cuffs, showering it with expletives, as you battle to get a cufflink into the narrow slit, or worse grumpily asking your spouse or significant other to help in a bad tempered voice, are over! Romain has designed an extremely user friendly cufflink. The one I saw in Basel was made of polished Titanium, they can be had in combination of various metals though.
Romain has a great video on his facebook page.