An independent watchmaker from the Vallée de Joux, Romain Gauthier is considered a master of hand decoration in Swiss watchmaking, demonstrating the savoir-faire of his team through impeccably finished movements. To mark the 15th anniversary of the Romain Gauthier brand, what better way than to take one of his outstanding models and make it even more spectacular. Well, this is what the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette is all about – and yes, it is a true anglage feast.
Squelette, skeleton or openworked watches are quite common in Swiss watchmaking, ranging from simple movements with mainplates that have been opened by machine to ultra-complex movements, patiently carved and hollowed by hand, removing material to the max to reveal most technical elements and to display the brand’s savoir-faire in decoration. As you would expect from Romain Gauthier, the new Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette belongs to the second category. It is not about simply opening the bridges, it is about a technical and artistic tour de force that reflects Haute Horlogerie in its purest form…
This new model is based on the Insight Micro-Rotor, Romain Gauthier’s vision of an automatic 3-hand watch. The mechanics might be straightforward – no complications or crazy constant force mechanism, as found in the Logical One – but the architecture of the movement is extremely attractive. Not the shiest of all movements, with its open construction, the Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette strips down as much material as possible from its bridges, positioning itself as the perfect platform for the Romain Gauthier anglage specialists to demonstrate their skills – and boy, do they know a thing or two about anglage!
Maintaining the mechanical elements of the standard Insight Micro-Rotor intact, this new Squelette now features bridges and plates made of ultra-light natural titanium that reveal wheels, pinions and rotor. For each Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette movement, at least 250 hours are devoted to anglage alone, that’s to say the bevelling, softening, smoothing and hand-polishing of the bridges and mainplate. Romain Gauthier is one of the few watchmakers to still perform the bercé technique at such a high level – this method consists in bevels that are rounded and not flat, being far more pleasant visually but also much, much more complex to achieve.
Technically, the movement remains the same with a bidirectional micro-rotor made from 22k solid gold, which winds a serially operating double mainspring barrel offering 80 hours of power. The balance wheel, with its proprietary design, is positioned at 6 o’clock and time is indicated by two sub-dials with skeletonized hands. The movement beats at 4Hz and all the parts, even the smallest hidden ones, are entirely decorated by hand.
The Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette will be available in multiple editions. First are the ‘Special Orders’, consisting of a 39.5mm case made of platinum, rose or white gold, or natural or black DLC Grade 5 titanium. Here, the dials are made of oven-fired enamel – available either in a satin or hand-frosted finish. The movements can be ordered either with polished or matte-finished bevels. Multiple straps are available, such as alligator leather or rubber. These watches are available either directly via the brand or through Romain Gauthier retailers and everything can be customized: material of the case; final finishing of the bridges and mainplate (hand-polished or matte-finished bevels); colour of the dial and dial accents; material and colour of the hands; colour of the plaquettes and their engravings; and the material and colour of the strap.
Even more special is the Manufacture-Only Carbonium® Edition, which can be purchased exclusively through Manufacture Romain Gauthier. This version has a larger case of 42mm made of Carbonium, a high-tech, high-performance carbon fibre composite invented and produced by French company Lavoisier Composites. Presented here with a matching carbon dial and bright blue accents, the timepiece can also be fully customized – finishing of the bridges and mainplate, colour of the steel hands, dial accents and plaquette engravings, and the colour of the natural rubber strap.
As an entirely customizable watch made on request, the price of the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette will depend on the chosen options. As an example, the present Carbonium retails for CHF 155,000, the gold model for CHF 108,000 and the platinum version for CHF 148,000. More details to be found at www.romaingauthier.com.