Romain Gauthier released today three new pieces in white gold: the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions. These watches come as time-only complications with oven-fired enamel dials in white, black and blue. I got the chance to molest myself a bit the blue and the black version. Due to my tendency to enjoy a certain coloured dial, I have focused my camera’s objective mainly to the blue version. Somehow with regret, cause the black and the white versions, equally beautiful, have their charm. Check below my first impressions with a glimpse from the official press release and an amalgam of my own and official press photos. All the photos will be also available at the end of the article.
Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions
Romain Gauthier packs his gorgeous in-house calibre in a white gold case and fits it with three fire enamels dials. The beauty of the oven-fired enamels is indisputable. But this technique requires not only a piece of specific knowledge but also a certain experience. And trust me, it is extremely easy to ruin an enamel dial. All the colours are difficult to make and the shades that Maison Gauthier offers are delightful.
The Insight Micro-Rotor comes with a price tag of 79,000 Swiss francs, excluding taxes.
The Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions will be presented, for the first time publicly, at the WatchTime Los Angeles watch fair. The fair takes place this weekend, 3 and 4th of May at the Hudson Loft space, downtown Los Angeles, US.
Dive into the blue
As mentioned before, I have neglected the other two dial versions and oriented my attention to the Insight Micro-Rotor blue enamel.
The Insight Micro-rotor is a multi-depths and complex appearance. His time-only display is enriched by an architectural dial and movement construction.
The gold case is built using a concave exterior. This detail is met not only on the case’s body but also on bezel and case-back. That permits an elegant integration of the lugs. It gives me a visual impression of support and robustness. Maybe because the lugs look more natural, more organic in this construction. I know it is all just in my mind, but this entire case construction influences me into considering it beautiful.
The crown is delicate but easy to use. The graceful design with the brand’s logo is enriched by a facile set and wind. Not that you really have to wind it at that 80 hours power reserve.
What I appreciate, as a daily wearer of wrist watches is the choice of surfaces’ finishes. The bezel and the case side, including lugs’ side, have a mirror polish finish, while the case back and the top & back of the lugs have a subtle brush. It gives the watch better protection: the brushed sides will be less prone to scratches. For instance, taking your watch and leave it on the table… Some of you know exactly what I mean.
The multi-level, multi-finishes dial is exquisite on this Romain Gauthier piece. Not only the architecture is interesting, but also the finishes are well chosen and realised. It is hard to decide which dial’s element I like at most. Should it be the enamel time display? Should it be that charming rotor? Or should it be the charismatic escapement? All the silverish high-elevated elements are highlighted against the yellowish/goldish background. Yes, I know… Very elevated watchmaking jargon skills used in this description. But just look at it. The levels and choice of materials are, in this way, well delimited between function and importance.
There are several things one should observe on this dial. One is the nicely manufacture enamel background surrounded by the polished chamfered sides. The interesting choice for the hour indexes printing. The addition on the seconds’ sub-dial of the minute track, as a continuation from the above dial (some of Romain’s Logical One timepieces don’t have this detail available). The 18k gold, or flame-blued steel at the white enamel version, hands are graceful. That for me look like an impressive amount of hand finishing. At the last, but not least, the alluring S-screws.
If you didn’t notice, have a look, on the above image, at the escapement wheel – the nice flower skeletonization, also present on the barrels gears on the back. (between small seconds sub-dial and balance wheel)
The 22k gold micro-rotor and its corresponding bridge offer a show of their own. The finishes comprise of chamfering, polishing and brushing. And that polished sunken jewel shoulder that highlight the (I suppose) synthetic ruby. You can see my hand and the camera in that polished detail.
The escapement forms, together with the time display, a logical continuation from top to bottom. The finishes are similar to the micro-rotor. Only the gold anti-shock spring breaks this silvery supremacy with the cherry (jewel) on top. I enjoy without measure the selection of the materials that keeps the entire escapement, including balance spring, in the same theme.
The other half. Not the better, but just the other…
The Insight Micro-Rotor is powered by an automatic wound movement. The 80 hours of power reserve is achieved using a double barrel system. It might appear redundant such a big autonomy, but as a guy changing watches daily, I surely appreciate it. The regulation is done by 4Hz (28,800 vph) balance wheel. The finishes are… Well, they are great!
In the picture above is visible the bi-directional system of the micro-rotor secured by a small steel bridge. Note the S-screws with bevelled and polished edges. The gears are part of the “cute” side of the watch.
The caseback of the watch has no inscription or engraving. It is robustly fixed with the S-screws and that is it. All the important info are displayed using engraved plates, placed on the movement. The plates have suffered the same painstaking treatment as the top bridges: brushing, bevelling, edge polishing. The engravings are black lacquered for better contrast and, let’s be honest, they look good.
On the picture above can be observed, besides the dust particles (I take the blame for that), the typical finishes the bottom bridges have. On the lower side of the image, note the polished inner detail of the barrel’s gear.
What do I have to say more?
It’s independent. If this is one of your criteria, go for it.
It’s in white gold. If you love precious metal and red/rose gold is not your thing, go for it.
You like enamel dials and time-only display. Three versions in white, black or blue fire enamel, covering most of the requirements. Go for it!
You enjoy nice finishes, or maybe you have a fetish for high-end horological finishes. I am drooling! Just joking…(not about the drooling part) But certain is, the Insight Micro-Rotor stays exceptional in this chapter.
Leaving the jokes and stupid lists aside, the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor gold limited editions are great watches. You got 10 pieces limited edition from each version. One cannot simply just decide which version is the best. At the first moment, I chose the blue, only to slightly regret it an turn to black. And to white. And back again. You know what I mean. It takes on the moment and on personal preferences.
“The gleam of the white gold case, the matte finish and gilded tones of the movement…. For me, this historical combination of colours and finishes is the one that most evokes a collector’s watch”, says Gauthier.
My images of the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions
Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions Technical Specifications and Price
18k white gold case with 4.5N rose gold, palladium and rhodium treated movement
3 x 10-piece limited editions:
– 10 pieces with oven-fired white enamel dial on 18k gold base, complemented by flame-blued steel hands
– 10 pieces with oven-fired black enamel dial on 18k gold base, complemented by 18k white gold hands
– 10 pieces with oven-fired blue enamel dial on 18k gold base, complemented by 18k white gold hands
Features and indications
Off-centre hours, minutes and small seconds
In-house, automatic movement featuring 22k gold bidirectional micro-rotor
Double mainspring barrel in series for generous 80-hour power reserve
Dial and hands
Oven-fired enamel dial on 18k gold dial base, with 18k gold or flame-blued steel hands
Movement and finishing
Dimensions: 32.1mm x 6.8mm
Power reserve: 80 hours
Number of jewels: 33
Number of components: 206
Balance frequency: 28,800 vph / 4Hz
Components in: 22k gold micro-rotor, steel, stainless steel, beryllium copper, brass and German silver
Finishing: Highest-level haute horlogerie hand-finishing
Material: 18k white gold
Dimensions: 39.5mm x 12.9mm at highest point
Water resistance: 50m/5atm/170ft
Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflection coating, front and display back
Crown for winding and time-setting at 2 o’clock
Strap and buckle
Brown alligator leather strap hand-stitched in Switzerland with white gold pin buckle. Deployant buckle is available upon request.
79,000 Swiss francs, excluding taxes
Official Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions press release images
Profile Romain Gauthier
Founded in 2005, Romain Gauthier is a high-end watch brand based in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, led by its passionate founder Romain Gauthier. Gauthier marries the know-how that he has developed living, studying and working in this picturesque valley – the heart of fine Swiss watchmaking – with a no-compromise approach to haute horlogerie to create exceptional timepieces.
These timepieces have been hailed for their eye-catching designs, innovative in-house movements and extremely high level of hand-finishing. Their exclusivity is ensured by the very small numbers in which they are created – about 60 pieces per year.
The man who built the brand
Romain Gauthier was born in 1975 in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, the cradle of fine Swiss watchmaking. It was here that Romain developed his passion for traditional haute horlogerie, his grasp of mechanics and engineering, and his eye for design.
Having studied precision-mechanics at technical college, Romain qualified as a constructor of precision machinery in 1997. A year later, he started his first job as machine programmer-operator at a horological components manufacturer that he helped turn into one of the best-performing facilities in Europe.
Determined to build from scratch not just his own high-end watch, but also his own high-end watch brand, Romain completed an MBA in 2002. His final thesis was the business plan for his own watch company.
After working behind closed doors on his own timepieces for three years, he launched the Romain Gauthier brand in 2005, unveiling its first timepiece Prestige HM at Baselworld 2007. This was followed by Prestige HMS (2010), Logical One (2013), Logical One Secret (2014), Insight Micro-Rotor (2017) and Insight Micro-Rotor Lady (2018). These encompass classically refined pieces, contemporarily casual creations and ethereal objets d’art, all featuring supremely finished in-house movements.
In 2013, the jury of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – the Oscars of watchmaking – awarded Romain Gauthier’s Logical One the prize for Best Men’s Complication.
Manufacture Romain Gauthier
Romain Gauthier’s ability to create exquisite timepieces is in large part thanks to his manufacture, based in Le Sentier, Switzerland, that he has steadily built up.
The manufacture blends skilled craftsmen and time-honoured watchmaking tools with experienced technicians and cutting-edge production methods, allowing Romain Gauthier to design, produce, decorate, assemble and regulate in house all movements for the brand’s timepieces.
While this savoir-faire means that quality is uncompromised and precision is impressive, it also imbues Romain Gauthier timepieces with a rare beauty and unique soul.
For more information, please visit the Romain Gauthier Website.