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Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Back at Baselworld 2010 I stopped by the Romain Jerome booth to see “what was cooking.” Turns out it was moon dust. As an extension of the Moon Dust DNA collection of watches, Romain Jerome (RJ) showed-off the “Moon Invader.” On the back of the watch is a metal plate meant to look like the moon that in it actually has dust from the moon baked into it.

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

I first wrote about the Moon Invader collection here, based on the prototype. Now, after seeing the final pieces, a find a few small changes have been made to the current versions. Most notable in my opinion is the lugs. They were supposed to “freely articulate” and conform to the wrist, but that didn’t work out quite as planned. So what RJ did was connect the “lander feet” to the straps and have them move with the movement of the strap. It works well this way, and I think holds true to the original concept. That little feature was a pain to accomplish because of all the friction on the parts. As I understand it, RJ needed to work with a specialist to come up with a Teflon coating on the inside of the ball-joint to keep it operating smoothly.

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As I said, the Moon Invader is meant to look like a small lander craft complete with small feet. While most avant garde, the case is actually neat looking and the detail is impressive. The case is 46mm wide – but feels larger given the extensions of the RJ “X” motif that goes through the center and to the feet. It is comfortable though. There are really no other watches that look like this. The dials start with a mesh metal. This is supposed to be inspired by the tire treads of actual moon lander vehicles. Whatever it is inspired by, it look slick, and no one else I know does this.

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The case is in steel, but some versions also have gold for the bezel and some other parts. The steel is PVD great to be either matter black or two shades of dark gray. The latter gray with 18k rose gold looks pretty swanky. Plus, I like the combined look of the matte black case with the polished “feet.” There are a lot of textures and tones on this watch that make it interesting.

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

When spending time with RJ, CEO Manuel Emch was wearing the all black Moon Invader Chronograph. I had to laugh at just how “all black” it was. You really need to be up close and person to see what is going on with the dial. Trust me that this (as well as the entire collection) was a pain in the ass to photograph. What is interesting is how the tips of the hands and the hour indicators are done in small, minimalist bits of white lume. This makes telling the time manageable. The many levels and features of the dial do make them fun to inspect.

As I said, there are chronograph versions of the Moon Invader, as well as a three-hand with a subsidiary seconds dial. The chrono has the RJ001-C  automatic that done by Concepto, while the three-hand has an RJ001-A automatic also done by Concepto. RJ indicates that “spare parts from the Apollo XI” are in each watch. I don’t know exactly where these spare parts are. When asked about it, Mr. Emch just smiles, and reassures me that they are in there. I’ll have to ask more about that next time. These little timepieces are more complex to put together than you can imagine.

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Romain Jerome Moon Invader Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Back on the rear of the watch you get a totally different feeling. While the “exposed” parts of the watch on the surface are clean and minimalist, the underbelly of the case and rubber strap are more interesting. There is a sort of “star map” texture that is interesting. Don’t miss the little figure from Space Invaders on the back of the case. Can you find it?

RJ doesn’t make too many watches a year so these are exclusive and limited edition watches only. Each version is limited to 1,969 pieces. I won’t explain the source of that number as I am sure you can figure it out. Price for the Moon Invader Automatic models ranges from 9,950 – 14,950 Swiss Francs, while the Moon Invader Chronograph ranges in price from 12,950 – 17,950 Swiss Francs.

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Kris C

    Its a pretty cool concept, but those “feet” are awful – the wrist shot tells it all. I like the grey-on-grey chrono, but those feet would keep me from wearing it. The back porch screen door dial base is an interesting idea – seeing it makes me wonder why we’ve not come across that before.

  • Dangeruss

    Well, it’s the first RJ that I’ve come close to liking. Like Kris, I think the feet are silly, but there’s lots of silliness to be found in any RJ watch. The dial is interesting, but other than the screen texture, doesn’t bring anything new to the line.

    I’m a chronograph fan, but I prefer the simpler sub seconds @ 9 version. The chrono looks very busy, and with just the baton indicies on the sub-dials it’s sort of useless. The murdered out black one is my favorite of the bunch, but has the same readibilty issues as all watches of that ilk.

    I’ve never been swayed by any of his DNA watches. The idea that there are a few micrograms of Moon dirt, or Titanic Rust, or whatever is used in the construction, has no appeal to me. I found the limited edition of 1969 pieces a clever touch. Not that I think there’s that big of a market for this.

  • Jeje

    The all black is cool. I love the back. Fun concept
    Still I would not wear it. Somehow I see an “unbalance”

  • pat I

    Moon dust? What next – ground up bones of a Vatican saint? Elvis’ sweat? The tears of convent virgins? Isn’t this just a luxe version of 9/11 commerative coins?

    I’m not sure this is a watch or a government ploy to assess which segment of the population needs to be put down.

    BTW – the latest issue of IW (my least favorite watch publication) has an editorial that actually shows a bit of gumption. The editor slaps the wrists (albeit slightly more like a gentle caress) of over the top watchmakers for their shoddy workmanship (it would have been nice if IW gave us a few names but that would mean surgically removing their lips from their advertiser’s backsides). Honestly – why has no one ever taken these charlatans to task?

    As much as IW’s gesture was well meaning, they’re far from consumer advocates. Frankly I’m shocked at the mau-mauing of these magazines. But hey – if you spend a small fortune to buy a watch because it’s endorsed by George Clooney (I would by a watch endored by Rip taylor, though…Silberstein, maybe?) than this sort of dreck is up your alley.

    Oh well… kudos to IW for the half hearted gesture at hard nosed reporting. Maybe next they can go out and find the Lindberg baby so Longines would start making some interesting watches.

    Still I found it hypocritical consdering that for years the guyat IW would get the vapors and head for the fainting couch over every time some Swiss wunderkind unleashed some overpriced Rube Goldberg contraption. No doubt every time Hublot would announce a new dial color the IW staff would run around the office flitting their hands and shrieking like Bobbysoxers at a Sinatra concert.

    Ugh. It’s enough to make me wanna go Timex.

    • Pat. Looks like IW pissed you off. I know people there so I will keep my lips zipped – but I don’t think you are alone in those sentiments. All I can say is, their content “works” for their demographic?

      By the way, I would love an Elvis Sweat watch – as long as it comes with the smell as well.

      As for the editorial in IW… they are right. When I meet with brands I harass them with questions on quality all the time. These little machines are a pain, and quality is in the crapper a lot of the time. Basically their main incentive to keep quality control up is to not have to spend money on repairing watches within the warranty period. And that alone can take a long time. Kudos to those guys in the US who have service centers that try to speed up this process.

      • Pat I.

        Understood Ariel. I’m not looking for biting satire in a watch review. Watchtime comes close with their in depth testing and reviews…but they never really say anything negative – in fact whne they get a mediocre watch that fails to live up to its price, they justify its cost by calling attention to an engraved rotor or some other minor feature.

        Considering far to many watches cost as much as a new compact car – the service and scrutiny usually reserved for the auto industry is absent in the watch world. This business needs advocates. The problem all cars today are good and reliable. There isn’t a carmaker on the planet who won’t send it’s latest models to “Car and Driver “for testing…and car publications are brutally honest.

        Somehow I don’t think this would work for the watchmaking industry. The hacks who make overpriced, shoddy gizmos would be insane to hand their stuff over for an honest assessment.

        Also – something tells me these IW magazine guys get a lot of perks. I worked side by side with Army pilots – I worked on some of the latest naval vessels in use today. But I never got invited to set foot on a ship or take a flight on an aircraft I helped design.

        These a**hats get free rides, scuba traing with SEALS
        and flights on an F-16…and a their own personalized flight suit?

        However I did notice my favorite editor has given up his costumes for the past few issues. Thank God. I was hoping he would before he handed over a watch to the Bolshoi ballet and showed up the following week in ballerina flats and a tutu.

        • Ivan Y

          Pat – I generally agree with your sentiment, but I don’t think it’s fair to bring up car magazines as bastions of impartiality. Car publications are awfully chummy with car companies too.

          FWIW, I actually like the auto version. Landing feet aside, it’s a fairly restrained piece insofar as RJ is concerned.

          • pat i.

            What you say is true. But when you read the reviews, they are well thought out and very thorough. I’m sure the have tons of perks as well. But what I’ve noticed with the car mags is they may salivate over -say-a Ferrari test mule – but might change their mind once the actual production model comes out.

            Watches are functional, but they are far from necessary. They’re indulgences. For most of us – the 16 year old highschool cheerleader to the CEO of a large corporation need cars. The large range of users mean most of us will buy based on need – or looks.

            A watch magazine appeals to people who frankly indulge in a specific hobby, trade or passion. THerefore the magazine shoul dbe far more in depth – at least IMHO.

  • aidil