back to top

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

When Romain Jerome came out with the Steampunk Auto 46 watch collection, I barely noticed. There have been seemingly so many versions of the Steampunk watch, that I didn’t really see too much difference about this particular new collection. In fact, the most “unique” element of it (at least this particular version) is the use of mostly gray tones with “gunmetal” and polished steel. Many of the Steampunk models (which evolved from the Titanic-DNA collection) feature Romain Jerome’s special rusted steel which has a brownish tone and is often used for the bezel. So just to compare, notice how, while the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 is in the same family as the Steampunk Chrono (aBlogtoWatch review here), it has a distinctive look.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As a sort of entry-level model in the Steampunk watch family, the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 is actually surprisingly desirable – at least, it was for me. Actually, on a larger scale, I find that many people have that feeling with Romain Jerome in the first place. While they might not have any love for the brand based on pictures, after putting a few on, they quickly develop an appreciation for at least some of the brand’s products. It is certainly niche, but you have got to love RJ for having the courage to do what so few luxury Swiss watch brands would ever do.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For me, the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 is a sort of “modern steampunk” given the metal colors and overall design. The watch feels like a prop out of some post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie more than it does “Victorian sci-fi” (which is the basic theme of most “traditional” steampunk items). I could easily see something like the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 being worn by a character in Max Mad Fury Road. What do you think?

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I didn’t realize that I liked the watch as much as I did until I noticed that I was grabbing for it a lot more often than other watches. I would almost never prefer such an avant-garde design for daily wear when put up against, say… a classically designed sports watch with a much more simple dial. Yet, something about the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 kept calling to me. What was it?

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It is entirely possible that the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 and I simply had “good chemistry.” Whether by design or accident, a lot of little things in the watch fit me very well. For example, the 46mm-wide case and strap happened to fit extremely comfortably on my wrist. Was this by design? Well, yes and no. The Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 is not that much different than other models in the Steampunk collection that fit fine, but not particularly that well, so what was unique here? In fact, given the more simple movement, the case is actually a bit thinner, I believe, and the strap is a bit different. These two small elements might not seem like much, but for my particular physiology made the difference from the fine but clunky fit of many RJ Steampunk watches to something that I could easily forget was on my wrist.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Moreover, despite the relative insanity of the dial, I found the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 to be rather legible. This is something that would be very difficult to glean from images alone. In fact, if judging just the images, it would be safe to assume that the watch (at least this version) is mostly illegible given that the hands are the same tone as much of the dial (yes, there is a little bit of luminant on the tips). Nevertheless, the matte finishing of the hands and the discreet hour and minute markers on the periphery of the bezel make this a decent time-teller as well as style item for the wrist.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Unless you simply hate the industrial look of the dial and case design, the Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 is very cool. There is a place for rusted metal in luxury watches, sure… but its removal in this particular Steampunk watch is actually appreciated for a change. The polished lugs and case “claws” lend themselves well to a more substantial look, and the deep gray gunmetal finish of the bezel works nicely with the various shades of gray on the dial. If there were ever a timepiece that is truly “50 shades of gray,” then it is this Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46.

Romain Jerome Steampunk Auto 46 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I can sympathize with those who just don’t see a place for “novelty art” dials such as this on timepieces. I don’t agree with them, but I do appreciate their perspective. The enduring irony of many Romain Jerome watches is that while they look like “tools,” very few (if any of them) are actual “tool watches.” A tool watch implies it is less about form and mostly about cold hard functionality, durability, and “purpose.” The mechanical industrial theme of the dial and case (which began as the Titanic-DNA, as I mentioned above) is a celebration of metal machining and finishing methods. There are a number of ways steel is rendered right there in one watch, and the many screws and various bolts on the dial all add to a macho, machine room look. Very little of it is functional, but it does look interesting and the quality is there. All the dial offers is the time with subsidiary seconds which takes the form of a slowly spinning ship-style propeller.

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.

Follow me on Google+ Ariel Adams


Disqus Debug thread_id: 4598015347

  • Ah, so many better ways to spend $10K than on this…what was it Larry called another reviewed watch? Oh yeah, a “hot mess”. To each his own when it comes to “art watches”, but I’m still waiting for an RJ watch that Iike. Different can be good, but different just to be different is not enough for me (as you can tell this watch has little appeal to me).

    • JimBob

      But for only twice the price, you can get it with, like, $1500 worth of gold!

      • Oh come on. Let’s be fair, it might have $2000 of gold but that’s before mark-up.

    • Larry Holmack

      Yeah….I guess there are some “Hipster’s” attending UT Austin that well drop some of their daddy’s hard earn cash on one. “Art” is always subjective….some folks like this kind of stuff….and although I wouldn’t think about owning this one…even if I could afford it….well…I won’t say it isn’t art. But….Mark…in my book…it’s pretty much a “hot mess!”

      It’s like an old friend of mine once did…..entered one of his more serious landscapes in a local art show…and he took his towel that he wiped his brushes off on…had it framed and entered it also in the show. His landscape…got a Honorable Mention….his old towel…won “Best in Show” and got him the $5000 prize. I asked him if he ended up selling the towel “painting” also…he said, “Nope, I took the towel out of the frame and am still using it to wipe my brushes off .”

      • I love it – the towel was functional art!

  • IanE

    A rare RJ that I don’t actively dislike. If Seiko decided to make something like this at Seiko prices, I might even buy one, but $10,000? – only if it were small change to me!

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    This actually looks cool, but I have a feeling that I would get bored of it after wearing it 10 times, so my 10k would be wasted…

  • Mark Baran

    I try to stay open minded when it comes to “art watches.” But that is just downright ugly.

  • SuperStrapper

    With the wrist presence and where I would imagine fitting something like this in my rotation, factoring in cost as well, I see it as some kind of competition with Panerai. I already own Panerai and like them. I just can’t identify an RJ that I actually want to own: I can appreciate that seeing one I the metal is a different experience than just looking at the picture, but the picture should at least push you toward finding one to try on in real life, and I’m not getting that here. Also, niot a fan of the industrial ‘hard use’ finishes on some of the parts in this watch. Makes it look cheap and kicked around.

  • commentator bob

    RJ’s work reminds me of Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes or American Chopper.

  • FrankD51

    Not my cup o’ tea but if there is a market for it, why not.

  • Marius

    Luxury art timepiece? Where’s the luxury? I don’t consider the Concepto movement too luxurious.
    Art timepiece? Just because you put some ugly, rusted screws on the dial doesn’t make it art. In that case, my toaster is also art. If the Romain Jerome watches are art, may God and the Holy Apostles help us to never see such monstrosities in a museum.

    • iamcalledryan

      It’s a luxury brand, and Concepto is not too shabby for a third party movement unless you are privy to something objective on the matter?

      As for what makes art – a broader discussion but let’s just say the world is a better place for it not being limited to your own personal aesthetic.

  • LannyBudd

    This is a hard timepiece to read with the skeletonized hands. Reviewers were really hard on the Cartier Croisiere because of legibility issues with the skeletonized hands but in my opinion the Croisiere is better executed and $5K less than this thing!

  • iamcalledryan

    The dial doesn’t do it for me, but I always find myself drawn to their cases. I like the mix of metals.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    $11,000 for a a ” decent time-teller ” , are you having a laugh ?.

  • Mike Burdine

    Love the look hate the price.

  • funNactive

    I like most of the design but I think the roman numerals @ 12 & 6 are a little large for my taste.

  • Sevenmack

    Sorry, but this watch looks like something out of the old Nazi SS castle in Buren, Germany. Heck, I’m half-expecting some goose-stepping men in black death’s head uniforms to come out donning this watch. I guess it is a nice piece. But it is a little too steampunk for me.