Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Océan Pacifique by Cabestan
Collaborations between watchmakers have not been infrequent down through the annals of watchmaking history, and when Romain Jerome and Cabestan got together, two of the newest and most innovative creators in the independent sector combined their respective signatures in a very limited edition of incredible unique pieces.
Every watch made by Romain Jerome contains a material link to the history of our world: physical elements drawn from the natural earth, human endeavour and even space have all found themselves weaved into the cases of the Romain Jerome DNA models.
Cabestan too have forged their reputation for a futuristic, almost sci-fi approach to the traditions laid down by their forebears over the past three centuries, yet behind the startlingly unfamiliar presence of their watches, beats a work of micro-engineering which is both technically profound, and very beautiful to behold in action.
In the Romain Jerome Cabestan Titanic DNA Collection of six pièces uniques, each one differentiated by the colour of the revolving parts, one brand’s talents perfectly complement the other’s without compromising either’s individuality, and the result is a visually dominant timepiece in the ‘steampunk’ fashion whose rusted steel and exposed mechanical innards challenges perceptions, yet excels in its execution.
It is what’s going on beneath the sapphire crystal that demands the attention of the eye, with its odd array of rotating bronze rollers and fusée chain there is certainly much to take in, and any novelty value is quickly dispelled upon the realisation that the seconds, which like the hours and minutes are displayed on a barrel, are connected to the upright tourbillon which rotates gracefully alongside.
To achieve the desired result, the movement has been designed and hand manufactured to fit into the watch vertically, meaning that every tooth and groove can be seen from this most unusual perspective. The fusée chain has been directly inspired by a ship’s capstan and as it deploys it dispenses the energy stored in the mainspring to the escapement. The in-house movement is manually winding, and to tend to this, a little hand winch which is stored away in a glass case in the deployant clasp is attached to the upper brass capstan endpiece on the side of the case for winding, and the little chain is reeled in over the sprung capstan inside the watch. The same winch attaches to a lower endpiece to enable the setting of time.
Looking at the displays through the thermo-formed sapphire crystals, the hours and minutes are printed onto rotating adjacent bronze rollers in the upper right quadrant with the seconds below. The eye adjusts quickly and the time is easily legible. The sprung capstan in the upper left is marked to display the power reserve, and on the one below the RJ and Cabestan brands slowly turn as the chain feeds out over the 72 hours of power reserve.
The Romain Jerome touch is in the use of steels brought up from the wreck of the Titanic, where she lies at the co-ordinates 41°43’ 55’’ N and 49°56’ 45’’ W, and from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where she was built. Usually the nemesis of the watchmaker, the corrosion process has been arrested and captured in time, and as in reality, the rusted case is pitted and aged. Combined with the expanses of crystal, the effect is, in a word, extraordinary.
In the Titanic DNA Océan Pacifique pièce unique, the rollers and ancillaries are made in bronze, and underneath, through the sapphire caseback, the movement has been garnished with brass plates and copper plumbing calling to mind the thundering engine rooms of the ill-fated ocean liner.
Finally, the watch is presented on an alligator strap with embossed decoration and is secured by a folding deployant clasp which conceals the detachable winding lever.
At The Limited Edition, we strive to work with the most accomplished watchmakers of our time, and sometimes the most eccentric too, and the Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Océan Pacifique by Cabestan comfortably qualifies on both counts.