The Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless Steel is the first timepiece created by the independent brand in… steel – as the name suggested. This limited edition was officially launched today. I got the chance to a preview and now I come with my own impressions.
Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless Steel – The beauty of nature on the wrist
Since its founding, Romain Gauthier impressed with high-end pieces. The beauty of the hand finishes, the innovative movements and designs are possible only in small numbers – approximately 60 timepieces per year. So it comes as no surprise to see the Prestige HMS Stainless Steel in a limited series – only then pieces.
But where’s the crown?
If you are not aware of the brand, you also are not aware of the technical achievements or gimmicks that the brand use. So yes, the 43mm steel case has no visible crown. That is the key signature of Romain’s Prestige Collection.
The case’s body features a convex polished surface. The two steps bevel features the same polish applied to its lascivious curves. The curved lugs are straight-brushed, breaking the monotony of a whole mirror polished case.
The secret of the Prestige Collection, respectively of the HMS Stainless Steel, lies on the back side of the watch. The unusual crown is a flat system hidden from the view. The crown offers, besides an aesthetical advantage, a technical one. The energy is directly transmitted to the barrel without a 90 degrees translation – less stress, more efficiency.
I’m gonna send him to outer space, to find another race…
The superlative of the Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless Steel lies not in the case material or in the phenomenal architecture and finishes of the in-house Calibre 2206 HMS. The spectacularity comes from the dial side.
So the Swiss watch is built with a rock arrived from outer space in a place with Kangaroos, Koala, Tasmanian devils and Dingo dogs…
“My dad would often take me to mineral and gem fairs where he would buy the likes of agate, labradorite, quartz and desert rose. I think when you are a young boy, it is hard not to be fascinated by these objects, their stunning colours and shapes that, quite incredibly, have been made by nature. […] So when I first set eyes on this meteorite, the size of its crystal bands and the way they reflect the light, I knew that it was something special. It really stood out from the other iron meteorites that we are used to seeing. Immediately my thoughts turned to how I could use it for a special edition timepiece.” – Romain Gauthier
To make a dial out of a meteorite is not an easy task. The manufacturing process requires special tooling. Moreover, being an iron-based material, the surface is treated anti-corrosion to preserve its appearance in time.
To ensure the legibility, the dial has all the decorations printed in white, including the minutes and small seconds registres. The hour indexes are small multifaceted triangles filled with a luminescent substance for a good low light view. The hands are manufactured in blackened steel and filled with Super-LumiNova.
What is cool about the meteorite dial is the uniqueness of each piece due to the fact that each dial has its own pattern, its own distinctive look.
The beauty that comes from within
The Romain Gauthier is established as an haute-horlogerie brand with no rabat on its finishes. The Calibre 2206 HMS follows closely the high quality that the independent brand offered over the years. The in-house movement offers a strong power reserve of 60 hours.
The first detail that strikes is the movement’s architecture. The construction allows seeing through the components, showing a glimpse of the meteorite dial.
The movement has its bridges and the mainplate treated black NAC. The mainplate was frosted by hand. The Calibre 2206 HMS features hand-chamfered bridges with straight-graining (horizontal brush) and polished, rounded bevels. The components are fixed using the brand’s signature S-slot screw heads.
The 28,800 vph, or 4Hz, regulator features the Romain Gauthier balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights. The hand-assembled pallet lever that is triangular – to ensure the maximum rigidity.
Do I love it? Do I adore it? – End words
Oh yes, I do… I have a week spot for meteorite dials. The Romain’s Gauthier interpretation of the time measuring device featuring the celestial marvels is – “out of this world”. Leaving the joke and big words aside, the Prestige HMS in steel case is a beautiful watch. The intriguing case construction with no visible crown gives an elegant note. The meteorite dial makes the time reading more enjoyable.
Another important detail of this watch is the rarity of its main attraction – the meteorite dial. The only other known sample of this meteorite is housed in the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
So you get a limited series gorgeous piece with out of space materials and with gorgeous finishes. Plus, every piece is unique in its way. So yes, I love it!
Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless Steel Technical Specifications and Price
Limited edition of 10 timepieces with a price of 68,000 Swiss francs, excluding taxes
Stainless steel case featuring dial made from rare Henbury meteorite
Features and indications
Hours, minutes and seconds
Entire dial made from rare Henbury octahedrite meteorite
Stainless steel case
Flat crown on caseback for ergonomic winding
Finely hand-finished, in-house movement visible through display back
Dial and hands
Off-centre hour-minute subdial at 12 o’clock
Small seconds at 5 o’clock
Super-LumiNova-filled hour and minute hands in blackened steel
Small second hand in blackened steel
Super-LumiNova-filled white gold applique hour markers
Discovered at: Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, Northern Territory, Australia
Year of discovery: 1931
Movement and finishing
In-house movement Calibre 2206 HMS
Dimensions: 34mm x 5.5mm
Power reserve: 60 hours
Number of jewels: 22
Number of components: 128
Balance frequency: 28,800 vph / 4Hz
Finishing: Highest-level haute horlogerie hand-finishing
Treatment: Black NAC-treated bridges and rhodium-treated gear
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 43mm x 12.1mm
Water resistance: 10m/1atm/30ft
Flat crown on caseback for ergonomic winding, pulled out for time-setting
Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflection coating, front and display back
Strap and buckle
Black alligator leather with satin-finished stainless steel pin buckle
For more information please visit the Romain Gauthier Webpage.