Romain Gauthier represents the absolute pinnacle of modern independent haute horlogerie. From their Micro-Rotor Insight to the well-deserved award-winning masterpiece that is the Logical One, Romain Gauthier are an unabashed occasion of watchmaking. But resting on their worthy laurels is not something that they do, and as such they’ve released a brand-new timepiece embodying not only the fundamentals of the manufacture, but also creating the first series watch made in stainless-steel. Here is the Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel.
Featuring a rare Henbury meteorite-made dial, the Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel’s aesthetic is one that is astounding. Expanding on that specific type of meteorite, it actually has some fairly coarse intersecting bands of nickel-iron crystal, creating a shimmering effect when exposed to different lights.
The meteorite is actually something called an octahedrite, which was discovered in 1931 in the Northern Territory, here in Australia. Originally grey, the meteorite was subjected to a nitric acid treatment, revealing those very beautiful bands of nickel-iron crystal, formed during long periods of cooling in its parent asteroid.
Creating the dial from this chunk of meteorite was no easy feat. Romain Gauthier used a combination of three-axe machining and electrical discharge machining to create the flawless disc, whilst an anti-corrosion treatment was applied to ensure its look would not deteriorate over time.
Romain Gauthier was drawn to this meteorite purely for the fact that it brought about feels of childhood nostalgia. He stated, “So, when I first set eyes on this meteorite, the size of its crystal bands and the way they reflect the light, I knew that it was something special. It really stood out from the other iron meteorites that we are used to seeing. Immediately, my thoughts turned to how I could use it for a special-edition timepiece”. And use it, he did!
The beautiful meteorite dial sits within an equally as impressive 41mm wide stainless-steel case, the first time that Romain Gauthier has actually used this material in a series watch. It’s a clean look, especially so when contrasted against the busy nature of that meteorite dial. HMS standing for hours, minutes and seconds, means that of course the Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel will show the same. Indicated in the large sub-dial are the passing hours and minutes, whilst in the smaller sub-dial the passing seconds are displayed.
Extenuating on the very clean and precise nature of the Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel, Romain Gauthier have implemented a ‘flat’ crown system on the caseback, which can be pulled out for time-setting, and which will continue to wind, even when on the wrist. This is with thanks to a special system featuring a ceramic all and a rubber spring, whereby they handle the radial and axial forces exerted during winding and time-setting better than a normal 90-degree placed crown spring would.
Powering the Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel is Romain Gauthier’s in-house Calibre 2206 HMS, on display through the open caseback. This is an exquisite movement featuring hand polishing and chamfering throughout. The bridges and mainplate are black NAC-treated with straight-graining helping to create some textural differentiation against the hand-frosted mainplate. This is a beautiful movement that is of the upmost pedigree, and I expected nothing less than that from the likes of Romain Gauthier.
The Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel is a beautiful timepiece from the Romain Gauthier atelier and will be revealed at this year’s Watches & Wonders Miami. The retail cost of the Romain Gauthier Prestige HMS Stainless-Steel is 68,000CHF, and it will be available in a limited-run of only 10-pieces.