November 26, 2015
by Ariel Adams
With the release of this limited edition Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. watch everything has finally come full circle for me when it comes to my relationship with luxury “nostalgia” watches. I once smirked sarcastically when people bought watches that reminded them of their favorite 1960s and 1970s era race car driving heroes and I rolled my eyes as brands sought to charge high prices for gimmicky “collectible” watches inspired by historic events. Sure, sometimes those timepieces were very cool items, but would consumers really want to get them mostly for their nostalgic value?
Today, I am able to present to you a timepiece that I’ve known about for almost a year, and am lucky enough to share with the world for the first time as an expensive limited edition luxury watch that recalls something from my childhood that I certainly don’t mind remembering on a regular basis. I’ve finally come full circle to finding that gimmicky limited edition luxury nostalgia watch that I want. If you think I am silly for my desire, I am OK with that because, from the outside, it might indeed look pretty weird. With that said, I have no qualms about looking you in the eye and with a serious tone saying, “put Mario… I mean, ‘Super Mario,’ on my wrist in a way that only Romain Jerome can do.”
The Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. watch is being introduced at the end of 2015 so as not to miss the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo has a fun micro-site) video game console. Mario as a character debuted in earlier games, but his world really became popular with the famous 2D action scroller that, for one of the first times, made video gaming an exciting and challenging adventure for a new generation of games. While the game was released in 1985, I didn’t get it until a few years later when I was old enough to play it.
I recall a memory of waiting for my father to get me a Nintendo after pleading with him when all my friends had one. During a holiday time when I expected to get a Nintendo, I discovered that my new video game system was not a Nintendo but a competitor device, the Sega Master System. My father explained to me that it had the capability of rendering superior graphics, and my thoughts at the time were, “it isn’t about that, it is all about the games!”
Eventually, I got my Nintendo (NES), and my first three games were Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metriod. Let’s not forget Duck Hunt as well, actually… Super Mario excited a new generation of games because of the colorful and approachable graphics as well as the precise controls which help navigate the often challenging levels. Super Mario was also the first video game character that I think entered pop culture in a serious way, being much more “human” than previous popular characters such as PAC-MAN.
Speaking of PAC-MAN, that was actually the subject of Romain Jerome’s second video game themed watch which was released as a limited edition in 2012 (debuted here). The Romain Jerome PAC-MAN followed the brand’s first video gamed-themed watch with the Romain Jerome Space Invaders that came out in 2011. By the time RJ released the PAC-MAC watch, I was pretty sure that a timepiece with Nintendo was inevitable. It appears that the biggest issue was simply trying to get Nintendo to agree to license their characters for use in a luxury watch – something that Romain Jerome’s CEO Manuel Emch spent years trying to secure. The Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. will further be part of a very limited edition of just 85 pieces as a reference to the year 1985 when the game was released.
When I laid eyes on the Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. timepiece, I smiled widely, knowing that Romain Jerome hit my heart in a sweet spot and that I liked the timepiece more than I knew my conservative self wanted to admit. Could I see myself seriously wearing a timepiece that featured an important icon from my childhood? A representation of such a seminal part of my personality development? Yes, I think that I could totally rock this timepiece and pull it off well.
Like all of Romain Jerome’s video game-inspired watches (there is also a Tetris watch), the Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. timepiece comes in a Moon Invader-style case which is 46mm wide in PVD-coated black titanium. The “feet-style” lugs move with the strap to help form a better fit on your wrist.
The dial is produced using an interesting three-layer technique meant to create a “pixel” look which I’ve always found to be really cool in person. Super Mario, along with a mushroom, cloud, and bush, are all three-dimensional pixel-style figurines on the dial and brightly colored in enamel. Of course, I could wish for things like dial animation or other “movement,” but even in static form, the dial looks great. All that you have to distract you from the Super Mario scene are the hour and minute hands.
Inside the watch is a mechanical RJ001-A automatic movement which, I believe, is a base Concepto. It operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a 42-hour power reserve. Nothing super fancy in the scheme of luxury timepieces, but that isn’t why you are getting a high-end video game watch, now is it?
I don’t think Romain Jerome is going to have too much trouble finding 85 people around the world with money to spend and fond memories of playing Super Mario Bros. as a youth in the 1980s. It amazes me how much of what I grew up with from video games to cartoons and toys are still such a big part of culture today in 2015. I suppose that makes me lucky, since I get to feel like a kid much longer. But it will take some adult money to purchase the limited edition of 85 pieces reference RJ.M.AU.IN.011.01 Romain Jerome Super Mario Bros. watch that has a price of $18,950. romainjerome.ch