Romain Gauthier continues its steady march with interesting watches, with interesting movements, and introduces a new watch: The Continuum. This new timepiece reflects Romain’s creative freedom with a modern and youthful design. This new timepiece is the result of more than 16 years of know-how acquired through the development of the brand and the Manufacture.
Press Release information with analysis and commentary in italics.
Analysis and Commentary
Romain Gauthier is well known as the independent for his impeccable machining and magnificent finishing. Over the years, he has introduced many interesting and innovative ideas, often with fresh approaches to old problems. For example in the Logical 1, the use of a chain as a transmission vehicle is novel. The Insight Micro-rotor is also an interesting take to skeletonizing, where the open dial is opened up not only to showcase the movement, but is an expression of harmony. There’s a splendid symmetry which cuts across the central vertical axis of the open dial. The new Continuum is decidedly sporty in its appearance, with the rubber strap, though the stated depth rating for water resistance is only 50m.
And this streak of innovation continues with the aptly named Continuum. The entire watch is made in titanium – the case, dial and even the movement plates (the movement is a combination of titanium, German Silver and stainless steel. The watch appears to be his first three handed watch, approached in the classical sense. But there is more to it than meets the eye. At first glance, the design looks traditional. A round watch, with hour, minute and a subsidiary seconds hand at 8 o’clock. But on closer examination, one finds the sapphire glass opening for the dial is oval instead of round, and the printed dial, which is of course circular is offset asymmetrically up on the face of the watch. The crown is located at 2 o’clock, and features a coloured rubber ring for better grip and a splash of colour. The bezel itself is a marvel in machining. Romains says that it starts its life as a round bezel, but is then faceted to create the complex shape.
But the subtly effective creativity does not stop only in the aesthetic design. Flipping the watch over, the movement is as beautiful as ever. The finishing and machining is top grade. The bridges are particularly pleasant in their layout and treatment. The bridges are rather thick, and feature the Romain Gauthier signature stepped finish – the outer edge is brushed, and the insides of the bridges feature a dimpled surface. The edges also have a double anglage, which is also unusual, and gives the movement a sense of volume.
The most interesting innovation is the use of a cam instead of a spring lever to stop the balance wheel to provide the seconds hacking function. This is an ingenious use of a system where Romain has an established expertise, and is not only gentler on the balance wheel as it comes into contact in a progressive way rather to eventually stop it from friction, but also when released, gives the balance a kick to start it off. Very clever!
The movement continues to delight in myriads of tiny details. Like the shape of the screw head slots. The many inward and outward angles, executed on the bridges are a delight to the eyes. The curved arms of the balance wheel, as well as the turning tool shape of the wheels in the power train. All magnificent. As mentioned, the finishing is unparalleled.
We are looking forward to seeing, handling and photographing the watch in person soon.
New: Romain Gauthier Continuum – Titanium Edition One
Retail price is CHF 37,000 before taxes.
Continuum reflects Romain’s creative freedom with a modern and youthful design. This new timepiece is the result of more than 16 years of know-how acquired through the development of the brand and the Manufacture.
Technical in nature, casual in style and free in spirit, the Freedom collection has enabled the creation of this piece, which represents a true continuity in space time, a vision of the future and opens the doors to new horizons for the brand.
During its creation, it was clear to Romain that the case had to harmonize with the movement. It had to be contemporary and uncluttered. But not only that – comfort, ergonomics and the choice of materials also contributed to the design of this case made entirely of Grade 5 titanium. The dial, also of Grade 5 titanium, adds to the consistency of the piece and evokes a sense of continuity, as no circle completes the time indication.
Inspired by the finger bridges style, the design of the movement follows the watchmaking history of the Vallée de Joux, with a modern approach, reflecting Romain’s vision of the evolution of tradition.
For the launch of Continuum, Romain Gauthier presents the first edition in titanium – timeless thanks to the choice of colors and textures with subtle red highlights. Continuum, Titanium Edition One, is a 28-piece limited edition, engraved “1 of 28” on the back of each movement.
Flow and continuity to the fore on an atypical dial
As befits its name, Continuum is all about modernity and continuity, both in terms of its movement architecture and dial design. If the observer looks closely, he will see that the hour-minute hands are actually off-centred on the horizontal axis and the hour indices taper ever so slightly and are of varying lengths, while the 5-second intervals of the small seconds at 7 o’clock are also marked by tapering bright red lines of differing lengths.
Eye-catching case and strap high on details
Framing the dial is a titanium bezel whose eye-catching, geometric profile is unlike anything previously seen on a Romain Gauthier timepiece. The bezel is first machined into a round shape featuring a circular bevel before six straight sides are cut into it to create 6 facets. While these facets, which have been polished, reflect the light and bring the bezel to life, the rest of the bezel absorbs light thanks to its satin-finishing. The same facetted design is replicated around the sapphire crystal on the back of the watch.
In between the bezel and caseback, the one-piece caseband and lugs are geometrically sculpted, with satin and polished finishes as well as aesthetic grooves cleverly deployed to draw out the resulting shapes. Meanwhile, the rubber strap with titanium pin buckle follows the form of the angular lugs and rounded caseband so it appears as a continuous, organic extension of the case.
And not for the first time in his work, Romain has placed the crown for winding and time-setting at 2 o’clock, freeing up space for wrist movement. A rubber ring around the crown makes it easier to manipulate, as well as adding a dash of colour to the timepiece.
Clever stop-seconds mechanism that uses a snail cam
Romain has endowed Continuum with a stop-seconds – or hacking seconds – mechanism, allowing the wearer to set the time exactly according to a reference time.
Like many stop-seconds mechanisms, a brake is placed on Continuum’s balance wheel when the crown is pulled out. But instead of using a straight or L-shaped balance stop lever to halt the balance, Romain has opted to employ a snail cam that performs a double function: It touches and stops the balance wheel when the crown is pulled out and, when the crown is pushed back in, the snail cam makes a turn, with its increasingly wide form giving the balance an impulse to help it start beating again.
Those familiar with the brand will know Romain has used the snail cam’s unique shape in his past creations: It appears on the watchmaker’s acclaimed Logical One.
In-house movement where design and decoration meet modernity
The themes of modernity and continuity carry over to the manual-winding, in-house movement, which is gloriously on show through the display back.
Taking centre stage are a number of finger bridges – historically typical of the Vallée de Joux, Romain’s birthplace – but
reinterpreted here in a contemporary way. For starters, these bridges are horizontally configured and feature a ‘stepped’ shape – previously seen on some of Logical One’s bridges – that not only provides volume and depth, but also gives the sense that the bridges are literally flowing over the gears and balance wheel, with no clear end to them.
Like the case components and the dial plate, the bridges are made from lightweight, natural Grade 5 titanium and they
boast contrasting tones and textures thanks to a variety of finishes. The outer edges of each bridge all feature a double
bevel, while the flat bridge surfaces and rubies are each framed by a raised border that has been straight-grained.
Within these borders, the hand-finishing specialists at Manufacture Romain Gauthier have used a special hand-engraving technique to create a highly original dimpled texture. The movement mainplate beneath has been hand-frosted.
The impressive decoration doesn’t stop with the bridges and mainplate: Romain’s trademark gears and ratchet wheel
featuring circular, bevelled spokes have been circular-grained, while the click, snail cam and screws with S-slot heads –
another signature of Romain – have been highly polished. Finally, the lid of the mainspring barrel has been embellished with a superb snailing decoration.
Continuum’s regulator features the Romain Gauthier balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights, plus hand-assembled pallet lever that is triangular for maximum rigidity.
Romain Gauthier Continuum Specifications
28-piece limited edition in natural Grade 5 titanium, engraved “1 of 28” on the back of the movement
Features and indications
Off-centred hours and minutes
Small seconds at 7 o’clock
Natural Grade 5 titanium case, dial and movement bridges and mainplate
In-house movement featuring stop-seconds mechanism
Sporty rubber strap
Dial and hands
Dial in sandblasted natural Grade 5 titanium with protective layer against UV rays
Off-centred hours and minutes
Small seconds at 7 o’clock with 5-second intervals marked by tapering bright red lines
Super-LumiNova-filled 18k white gold hands and applied numerals and hour markers
Movement and finishing
In-house, hand-wound movement
Dimensions: 32.10 mm x 5.50 mm
Power reserve: 60 hours
Number of jewels: 24
Number of components: 154
Balance frequency: 28,800 vph / 4Hz
Components made from: Titanium, steel, stainless steel and German silver
Finishing: Superlative decoration by hand
Treatment: Natural titanium bridges and rhodium-treated gears.
Material: Natural Grade 5 titanium
Dimensions: 41mm x 9.55mm, lugs to lugs: 49.5 mm
Water resistance: 50m/5atm/160ft
Crown for winding and time-setting featuring coloured rubber ring, at 2 o’clock
Watch supplied with two rubber crown rings, one in red, the other in grey
Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflection coating, front and display back
Strap and buckle
Supplied with grey rubber strap with specially developed, satin-finished and polished natural Grade 5 titanium pin buckle.
Total weight of the watch: 55g, including rubber strap and pin buckle