Watchmaking is known to have its quirks. Whether covering clever case designs, limited edition runs, or diving to the deepest depths of the ocean, there are no shortages regarding unique watches in the world. Today’s subject is no exception and just so happens to combine all three elements. What’s more, we’ve had a recent run-in with said subject. As a watch and clock repair business in primary practice, we are no strangers to being hands on with creative designs. Having a legitimate Romain Jerome “Titanic-DNA” watch come through our door has been a particular treat, however. Though it’s daily fare for us to take on a variety of timepieces—including high-end luxury mechanicals—today we’ve resolved to focus on this buried-treasure-come-to-life timekeeper. Please enjoy as we geek out for a moment.
A Piece for the History Books
Each Romain Jerome (RJ) Titanic-DNA has an actual piece of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic built into it. Nearly every run of this style is limited to just over 2,000 pieces. This includes their “Steampunk” series. Only one exception stands against this reality: The first 100 Titanic-DNA’s that were ever produced. All being limited release makes them incredibly rare to own, or to come across in the day-to-day—even if one works on watches. The particular RJ Titanic we worked on was one of their original Steampunk designs (though not one of the first 100 made).
Looking as if it came from the engine room of the old ship itself, the piece has plenty of visual flair. It features a rusty propellor on the dial, with similar rust-style steam-powered swagger all about its case. The interior mechanical movement is nothing short of stunning. An RJ Calibre RJ001-CS movement with a 42hr power reserve keeps the steam going for accurate timekeeping. It’s the in-house tourbillon movements that RJ produces that make them a standout company in the world of watchmaking. Even if one hasn’t ever traveled to Baselworld to see them showcased, they can be appreciated from afar. Whether RJ is melting down steel from an old Belfast shipyard, picking characters out of classic pop culture, or making super-complication watches, their watches/movements are historical in their own unique right.
RJ Will Go On
Ever since RJ started in 2004 they’ve continued to combine older styles with newer concepts. It’s certainly incredible that in just 15 years RJ has combined so many elements into their plethora luxury designs. Their most recent release of a Spider-Man series has had us here at TimesTicking buzzing. But aside from this release, their Titanic timepieces are still (arguably) their most talked about. On that note—creating the Titanic-DNA series didn’t come without controversy. Some have argued that it was insensitive to the lives lost on the Titanic’s famed failed voyage. However, the company holds fast to conveying that their craftsmanship in the series is meant to be a tasteful homage to the famed event.
Whether one is split by the controversy or not, Romain Jerome continues to make bold moves with their buzzworthy tourbillon watches. In addition, one doesn’t necessarily need to sink their budget to pick one up—in terms of relative cost. Though the Titanic-DNA we recently worked on here at TimesTicking (#36/2012) is valued at around $30K, many of these Steampunk Titanic DNA watches can be picked up starting around $6K. If one has the budget for a wearable piece of history, it’s well worth the price tag. And if yours ever needs upkeep (or any other Romain Jerome for that matter), you know who to contact in the horological industry.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.