The Basel 2017 Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor is a new glimpse at the elegance and efficiency that we have come to associate with the brand. When they first debuted, Romain Gauthier’s first in-house calibres featured an exquisite contrast of simplicity and splendour expressed by technical innovation and sublime aesthetic codes as in the case of the ‘flat’ caseback crown (Prestige HM and Prestige HMS) and caseband winding pusher (Logical One), thoroughly original mechanisms which provided improvements in mechanical efficiency, user-friendliness while keeping signature Romain Gauthier aesthetics and tactility.
Thus, in designing and building the Basel 2017 Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor with bidirectional micro-rotor, it is keeping with the brand’s philosophy of high horology and avant garde innovation to create unique, high precision, high power (thanks to greater efficiency) winding mechanisms.
Basel 2017 Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor
The Insight is so named for the manufacture calibre driving the Insight Micro-Rotor’s hour, minute and small second indications – thanks to openworked dial and sapphire caseback, the 22k solid gold bidirectional micro-rotor is visible dial side as well, oscillating smoothly between twin bridges, optimally geared for energy transmission thanks to sandwiched ruby bearings, charging a double mainspring barrel to a full 80 hours of run time. Furthermore, precision chronometry is made possible thanks to the Insight Micro-Rotor’s series connected two barrels for consistent and constant power to the regulator thus keeping the calibre’s rate up regardless of whether the watch is fully wound or close to entropy.
On the reserve side, the Basel 2017 Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor offers, well, more insight with the visible train of gears in motion, starting with the reversing gear that lends the mechanism its high efficiency bidirectionality. Beyond the theatrics, the stage is set with exquisite gears and ratchets finished gorgeously with circular arms that feature eye-catching bevels; the bridges too are decorated with hand-made, hand polished bevels and jewel countersinks and are fixed in place using Romain Gauthier’s signature screws with aesthetic S-slot. That said, some may find the counterpoise of linear plaquettes jarring to the overall experience of the calibre, preferring the names be engraved straight into the plates rather than adorned on plaques but that is a matter of taste.
It’s a marvel that the Insight Micro-Rotor’s open dial is an expression of harmony rather than a meandering of elements with all the details and animation present. There’s a splendid symmetry which cuts across the central vertical axis of the open dial beginning (from a matter of perspective) from 12 o’clock – the hour and minutes subdial framed by the periphery of roman hour numerals. The subsidiary seconds dead centre in blue which tickles the eye into noticing its countenance first before you glance southwards at 6 o’clock where the breathing balance sits. With all the elements at play, it’s a sign of great temperance that the Romain Gauthier has chosen to downplay the micro-rotor raison d’etre on the dial side.
The balance is given an expansive space to play within the void created by a circular cut-out in the mainplate, that said, the Romain Gauthier logo plaquette provides a smart visual balance to the elements of micro-rotor and balance. The maison could have gone a little further by shaping the brand plaquette to match the curved arcs of the hand-bevelled bridges and edges framing the brand’s initials.
Basel 2017 Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor is impeccably finished with a variety of hand-made and hand-polished bevels, snailing, straight-graining, circular-graining as well as hand-made and hand-polished jewel countersinks. Pony up for the platinum limited edition and you will get to enjoy hand-frosting as well.
Across all models, the same slavish attention to detail on the in-house movement is translated to the externals, the bombé sapphire crystal covering the dial gradually rises towards 12 o’clock before steeply dropping again. And the case’s modest 39.5mm diameter ensures that Insight Micro-Rotor sits very comfortably, even on slimmer wrists.
Insight Micro-Rotor red gold and Insight Micro-Rotor platinum are both available in three 10-piece limited editions: with oven-fired white enamel dial, oven-fired black enamel dial and oven-fired blue enamel dial.