Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

I yelled at someone today for not appreciating the work of a famous artist. A pretty talented artist that if you know anything about art, you'd appreciate their work. I felt bad after yelling at the person's simple ignorance. They thought the painting was ugly, and maybe it was to them, but that didn't make it bad art. I just shook my head grinning to myself while saying quietly, "the notions of uncultured minds." I had a little bit of a snob moment. Or maybe it was just that I didn't like how someone wasn't able to recognize talent or skill, regardless of the outcome of that talent or skill. The natural next thought was to remind myself that appreciation of talent and skill is a learned trait. I then got back to thinking about watches.

Early in 2012, I first set my hands on a new Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono and instantly started to like it... much more than the "Steampunk" watch that came before it. I really fell in love with the little spinning ship propeller on the dial. It was connected to a hidden rotor and a multiplier gear that made it spin quickly when you moved your hand around. This fun feature is purely non-functional and for amusement. Which in a way is a good manner of describing a lot of what Romain Jerome does. The best way to see the brand is like a toy maker for rich adults with a slightly dark sense of humor. That, and the brand's design ethos is sort of anti-luxury using luxury materials with a distinct generation X twist. That, and it is potentially difficult to even understand if the world of watches is new or foreign to you.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

I sit here playing with a $30,000 plus toy in my hands which only a select part of the population can even understand. Romain Jerome is a sort of boutique brand with a loud voice. Producing only limited editions, they make totally strange watches that sort of say "fuck you" to a normal suit and tie person and require the wearer to decide "how will I pull this watch off today?" When I look at the majority of RJ watches, the first thing I notice is that none of them were meant to go with any ordinary outfits. This sort of forces the people who wear them to "fit the role," carefully deciding how to carry themselves on any day they'd like to wear an RJ. It is a big responsibility. Just look at this thing. A 50mm wide gold and rusted steel monster with a steampunk theme. How do you pull that off on a normal day?

Part of the fun is in trying to pull it off. Seeing what the watch goes with, and what situations go with the watch. It is more a wearable, usable piece of art and sculpture than it is a tool. And this watch comes from one of the mothers of all controversial weird watch collections. That being the Romain Jerome Titanic DNA watch that I previously reviewed here. Metal taken from the actual sunken Titanic is used in the formulation of the metal bezel which is artificially oxidized under water to create the rusted look. RJ is actually shy about mentioning this detail which caused them everything from fame to shame. But right there on the rear of the watch it says "Made with Parts of the Titanic." A message sitting over a 'soft to the touch' and beautifully rendered image of a propeller in titanium. RJ does not skimp the detailing. In my experience, they use some of the best suppliers meaning that each part is very well-rendered and removes any and all notions that the watches are cheap. They aren't of course cheap, but it usually requires years of handling many different watches to get a feel for these things.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

As I mentioned, the case of this Steampunk Chrono is 50mm wide. That is pretty big, even by RJ standards. It is large and heavy. Having said that, it totally rocks. The assortment of materials and details actually make it look a bit smaller than it is. Everything is thick and wide, which really helps it from looking "massive." The case is made from 18k red gold, titanium, PVD black steel, and of course the oxidized steel bezel. Oddly, this version has black chronograph pushers while some pictured versions have gold chronograph pushers. Just one of those things I suppose... Attached to the case is a rubber strap with a gold, steel and titanium deployant clasp. While I like the rubber, I'd really like to see the watch on a shiny alligator strap as well.

I am not going to delve much into the case design details as most are not new and anyone familiar with RJ products will recognize them. The claws on the bezel continue to look cool. Those not interested in a watch like this in gold have the option of a few other versions in titanium and steel. Despite the hefty size of the watch, it is actually rather comfortable. On the wrist it does sort of sway from side to side like the actual Titanic, but not in an overly disagreeable manner. Just don't consider it as a great watch for sport activities.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The dial of the Steampunk Chrono holds much of the magic. The Steampunk collection was RJ's not-so-subtle statement to high-end steampunk aesthetic enthusiasts that "we have got the watch for you." While the watch does not completely fit the mold of what steampunk accessories should be, it does take the concept and keeps it rather close to the heart. Ditch the rubber strap for something leather and worn... and you'd get a bit closer to true steampunkery. Amusingly, you get many forms of metal finishing on the dial. There is perlage polishing, satin, and brushed finishes, mirror polishing on the many screw heads, and the "rough brushing" as I call it on the 12 o'clock hour indicator and parts of the gold propeller.

In a unique design move, Romain Jerome decided to keep the subdials very standard looking. As though they are vintage gauges taken from some machine... and then miniaturized. This not only gives the watch a very usable 30 minute chronograph (and subsidiary seconds dial), but also adds to the thematic charm. There is in fact, a bit of lume in the tips of the hands. The dial also has the most subtle amount of skeletonization with peeks at parts of the movement. You are either very much taken or put off by the dial. It is a design which is for sure polarizing, but people who like it will certainly enjoy playing with their toy.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Inside the Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono is a Swiss made caliber RJ001-CS automatic chronograph movement which I believe was done for RJ by Concepto. It has a custom Romain Jerome automatic rotor as well and 42 hours of power reserve. The watch is wild and "crazy," which is a term I find that the Swiss like to use quite a bit when discussing their own ideas which don't fit within Swiss conservatism. I am beginning to believe that many Swiss people who participate in the production of wild designs such as this might actually think they are crazy, rather than just creative.

Returning to the original idea in this watch review article, I find myself being in the position as a well-educated watch lover reviewing a rather niche product with an appeal which is intentionally not mainstream. Those uninitiated in the "ways of the watch" can easily dismiss or love watches like this for all the wrong reasons. One of the ways I personally define "art" is to describe it as something that while I may or may not find it aesthetically appealing is something that required a degree of imagination and skill to create. I say all this in anticipation of the people who just don't "get" what the Steampunk Chrono is all about. But I will remind you that it is in fact crazy, you just might need a lot of the right type of education to know why. If you haven't learned yet then I'll get back to playing with this toy like it was some guilty pleasure. The Romain Jerome Steampunk Chrono is limited to 2,012 pieces per model and this ref. RJ.T.CH.SP.003.01 model has a retail price of $32,400.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Romain Jerome
>Model: Steampunk Chrono
>Price: $32,400
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Non-conservative watch lover who is less interested in wearing something popular and more interested in wearing something masculine and unique.
>Best characteristic of watch: It is very well-made for what it is. A lack of conventionality adds heaps of character and creates a good conversation on why people love or hate it.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Very large size makes for a sometimes unwieldy wearing experience.

27 comments
CW909
CW909

The first picture under the main title, does that count as lug overhang?

Krobilad
Krobilad

nice to see the improved quality of photos! 
oh yea, great watch. 

zuwi
zuwi

I like the watch. But, have to wait till I hit lotto jackpot to buy it!

nateb123
nateb123

One of my favourite reviews.  I really enjoyed the frank discussion about the irrationality of watches and why calling RJ "too crazy" is a bit silly for a purchase that is superfluous anyways.  I'm not into all of their watches, and I'd take the auto Steampunk over this chrono, but I do love what the brand is doing.  They're cool simply because they're not for everyone.  Any guy in the world can slap on a Patek, but it takes a special breed to enjoy fine watchmaking and still be outlandish enough to wear a watch this badass.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Unanswered is what sort of outfit does one wear that coordinates with the RH steampunk look? I know I'm old and totally un-cool (just ask my teenage kids), but I can't think of anything in the closet that begs for this thing as an accessory.

That does not take away or add to the interest of the watch by itself (not to my taste, but I do find it interesting looking).

Regarding art in general, not every piece 'speaks' to everyone. I visited the Picasso museum in Barcelona last year and really liked a number of early pieces, but also thought most of his later work was crap. So I think it is fair to disregard the talents of the artist and focus on the results piece by piece. Just my way of saying, I don't neccessarily appreciate the product because of its maker. I'm free to appreciate the artist because of his work, not the other way around.

What's that old line, "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like."

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Interesting use of that lead paragraph.

Steam punk is over. BullToro!

Tekky
Tekky

It sounds like you had a rough night before that.  Art is about communicating, about "holding a mirror to reality."  Don't confuse art with craft; they aren't the same thing.  Maplethorp may (or may not) lack craft, but he certainly communicated.  I didn't like it, but it was a message.

Most "art" is probably crap.  It doesn't communicate at all; there's no coherent vision.  Or, if there is, it's to an audience of the artist's peers - other self-indulgent members of a society far removed from the world we live in.  They aren't holding a mirror to my reality, but rather to the caricature that is theirs.  Think of Scorcese's "After Hours." 

All of which is just to say you were a bit unfair.

On the watch, it's cool.  Very cool.  And impractical.  How many must they sell to break even?  How big a market is there for these?

(And I still hate LiveFyre.  Too much effort to post.)

HawaiianHorology
HawaiianHorology

50mm and "looks like Art" (with a capital "A"), if you know what I mean. I guess "stupid is as stupid does".

I am also an Audiophile so (to name something somewhat mainstream I will use Wilson Audio) I can say that I understand the Wilson Audio Maxx or Alexandria.  I appreciate the specific materials used to meake the enclosure for each driver and that each box is on rails to time align the drivers to the seat location.  In this case, form following function to the extreme.  It may be one of the best sounding speakers in the world.  On the other hand, I can stand back and agree that the Wilson Maxx is ONE UGLY SPEAKER, despite it's $100,000+ cost.

SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH

Good art speaks to people whether they've learned to appreciate it or not. You get more satisfaction from art if you are educated in its appreciation, but ultimately, it is the artist's responsibility to communicate through the work and touch people.

I have a deep appreciation for the film "Citizen Kane."  I know all the ins-and outs of how it got made, the ground-breaking camera work, the historical and political issues surrounding it and I have a deep appreciation for the script, direction, actors and performances.  I only learned those things about the film because I loved it the instant I saw it and wanted to know more.  Learning all of that never changed my love for it, it just made me want to share my appreciation for something I love.  My mother (not educated) loved it and didn't care that Orson Wells cut a hole in the floor to get a shot.  My friend at film school found it overrated but likes to cut holes in the floor to get a shot.

Romain Jerome watches "catch you."  They may rub you the wrong way or one may hit you just right, but I happen to like this watch and I want to go on liking this watch in my innocent, uneducated way because it brings me joy, and I may want to learn more.  Is that a "wrong reason?"  What is art for? Do you want to share your appreciation with me, or just tell me I can't appreciate it because I haven't learned how?

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

On a positive note, I really dig the palette here. The browns take away the effect of the yellow gold, which I don't normally enjoy, and just make it part of the effect, as opposed to just being gold highlights on a brown watch. The steel in the dial further add to a pleasant overall experience in colour. I'm also a fan of all the effects and finishes: matte with polished and brushed and pearlage, etc, all harmonize nicely.

Worst part? That bezel with the faked rusting look. Couldn't be cheesier, does not evoke and response fronm me that it should, and just looks like it was injection-moulded to look that way, and not even nicely. Awful, it ruins the look as I see it.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Ariel must have started his period.  The video was fair, but what happened to the copy?  Smug much?  To tell your entire audience that they are all uneducated or that they don't know how to appreciate art is pretty shocking.  Yes, i'm sure all those financiers, engineers, scientists and watch designers who frequent here are no intellectual match for Ariel Adams.  I know i've banged heads with people here from time to time but the longer i've been here the more i've come to respect them for what they know and what they do, and you ought to do the same. 

RJ have never catered to someone like me and never will - after all, unlike the target demographic I have more sense than I do money.  This watch looks like something that fell out of the back end of a Bull-Toro.  Lots of watches take skill to create and are arguably more 'artistic' than this (although what art is is highly subjective and therefore no solid basis on which to condemn people who do not share your opinion).  If the only thing that floats your boat is being contrary then you need to evolve a little bit beyond the high-school mentality of rebelling just for the sake of it.  Rebellion should mean something.  It would be sad if you had to rely on a monstrosity strapped to your wrist to attract attention and get people to talk to you.  You could just be a man and use your charisma and sparkling personality to do that for you, unless you didn't have one of course.

If you like twirling watch adornments, the Perrelet Turbine is the way to go.  One would need 20/20 vision to see this watch for what it is, though constantly staring at tiny details must have lead to myopia.  If only we weren't such Plebs.

antjay
antjay

I love it . If I were going to spend 30k+ on a watch (I wish!) , this would be the one.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

I always say: if you are going to make a turd, at least have the courtesy to make it look like a turd.

Well done, RJ!

Impeccablewatch
Impeccablewatch

This is a nice watch ...i believe that most of any man would like to were this watch  ,but nice watches to buy if you want you can find here too  http://www.perfecwatchez.tk/ take a look maybe you can find something to buy







SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH

@Krobilad Thanks for the comment about the improved quality of the photos - people complain about the number of ads on the site, but, it's how he can get a better camera and give good watch porn :-)

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

I think something from the Mad Max collection. Or perhaps the Road Warrior line would be sitable.

nateb123
nateb123

@MarkCarson Red Fluevog Michaels, dark ripped jeans and a Lowbrow Ruca t-shirt.  My favourite outfit

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@TekkyYea, we aren’t huge fans of LiveFyre as well. We are at the point that it is only good until something better comes along.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@Kris CThe bezel is actually really “rusted.” They make a few of them at a time submerged in a liquid chemical solution so as to speed up the rusting process. However, as “normal” rust is rather rough to the fingers, they do something to smooth it over.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@Ulysses31See what happens when I try to get emotional in reviews? It all comes out wrong. I probably wasn’t referring to my core readers and I wasn’t implying that anyone’s taste is wrong. It was more a discussion on the intimate nature of taste and emotion. How it is so very subjective, and how when it comes to mere aesthetic considerations judgement is a beautifully person measurement. I was bringing out some core feelings I had about the watch and sort of metaphorically grasping the watch to my chest saying “I don’t care if other people don’t like it! I do.” No late night benders before this one… but it was late at night…

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@nateb123 @MarkCarson I had to google a bit to see what some of that even looks like. Now we need a link to a photo you in that outfit, ha ha!

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@aBlogtoWatch @Ulysses31 Well it's nice that you took the time to reply.  You're forgiven lol.  Is this new level of interactivity with the ABTW audience something we can expect more of, or is it just a slow news day?

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@aBlogtoWatch @Ulysses31 That wouldn't happen to be another Livefyre issue would it?  About a week ago I noticed that it no longer supports older browsers so lately i'm having to load it up in Internet Explorer (gulp) to comment.  Anyway, it's nice to get feedback coming the other way.  Keep it up.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@Ulysses31 @aBlogtoWatch The truth (as I am embarrassed to admit) is that I have been interacting and commenting all along. However, thanks for my developer and her ability to focus my attention, I just learned that due to a technical problem none of my comments and replies have been visible to the reader for over a year. So yes, let your friends know I too just figured out how to comment. 

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