June 24, 2014
by Ariel Adams
We are used to the fact that many new Romain Jerome watches are approached with a lot of emotion, given their typically controversial designs and unorthodox character. That, however, wasn’t the case when we debuted the Romain Jerome Skylab watch at the end of 2013. Don’t get me wrong, it just wouldn’t be a Romain Jerome if everyone liked it, but people felt pretty positive about the Skylab. So after some hands-on time with the collection, let’s see what the new skeletonized Romain Jerome Skylab timepieces are all about.
As it is with the also new Romain Jerome 1969 collection, the Skylab has a somewhat new case for the brand. The 1969 collection pieces are a hair smaller at 43mm wide with a slightly different case (and are generally a bit more dressy), but the 44mm wide Romain Jerome Skylab case is still very wearable and mixes the boldness you come to expect from a Romain Jerome case in what feels like a slimmer package.
The Romain Jerome Skylab watches are all about presenting highly skeletonized mechanical movements in a case which is sandwiched with sapphire crystal. While we are very familiar with skeletonized watches here at aBlogtoWatch, we do like the unique modern design of the bridges and aesthetic work in this movement. Not only does the design of the movement look like a space-age catwalk, but it also has nicely beveled edges and an attractive level of decoration – albeit a more or less industrially-themed decoration that is heavy on the brushing.
The movement is the Swiss-Made caliber RJ004-M, and it is produced exclusively for Romain Jerome by the watch movement maker Lajoux-Perret. You can always tell a Lajoux-Perret movement by the tentacle-looking curved spring arms on the rear of the movement. They do a pretty good job, and almost all Romain Jerome timepieces that I can think of these days contain Lajoux-Perret movements.
Operating at 4Hz (28,800vph), the movement is manually wound and features the time with a subsidiary seconds dial. Strictly speaking, the movement does not have a power reserve indicator (total of 48 hours of power reserve) but the skeletonized mainspring barrel does give you a chance to see if the spring is wound or not.
The Skylab collection is technically part of the Romain Jerome Moon DNA collection, though I am not sure if these models have any moon dust particles in them or metal from the Apollo 11, as others have featured. I find it interesting to see how the collection seems to combine a series of design elements such as retro futurism, contemporary lines, and the avant gardeness that Romain Jerome is often known for. Would you call these dress watches? Are these sport or formal watches? They are certainly less strange than some RJ watches from the past, but it is still difficult to define their demographic.