Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch

Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch

Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch Watch Releases

Romain Jerome's "DNA" watches have been inspired by fascinating events and achievements from human history, regardless of whether they happened on land, at sea or in the skies. What made the DNA watches famous is the fact that when making the case, the dial, or sometimes even the strap, they used materials closely related to these events. This made the stories feel much more tangible and helped to bring the concept to a more personal level. For the new "Tattoo-DNA" collection they spiced up this idea with a unique collaboration, as the brand worked together with Mo Coppoletta, founder of world-famous London-based tattoo studio The Family Business.

This time, the brand reaches out to "the world of sailors with its wealth of traditions and cultural customs" and - you guessed it! - tattoo art, in an effort to embody the legend of the sailor's grave. Tattoos, sailors, graves, London, DNA and fine watchmaking - at first these sound more like a random selection of words from a modern men's magazine than the attributes of a luxury watch... but who else would be able to pull off such a concept, if not Romain Jerome? Surely there are a lot of things to sink in (I hope I won't have a dead pirate's soul visiting me at night for that one!), so first, let's take a step back and look at the basics.

Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch Watch Releases

Tattoos and sailing - as the brand explains - share a common past. Since the 18th century, tattoos have been considered a powerful form of protection as sailors began having their arms and chests (the "weak" parts of their body) tattooed with symbols of strength, arming themselves against the various dangers of the open seas. Furthermore, tattoos also served as a way of recording and telling the great adventures and important events of their lives. Interestingly enough, today's watches might serve a similar purpose, as I assume most of us would rather be given a nice timepiece than a full-chest tattoo to commemorate an important event like a graduation or retirement.

As far as the connection between tattoos and sailing goes, everything makes sense. But how does watchmaking blend in? I feel that Romain Jerome has already successfully proven its abilities in creating watches that are able to carry its wearer's thoughts far away from the present . The idea is to go below the surface, to see the inside of our lovely planet, to fly you to the surface of the Moon, or to re-think everything the Titanic was meant to be or could have been. The basic goal is no different this time around either, it is to catch one's imagination.


As seen in the video above, Mr. Coppoletta dreamed up a very dynamic and truly dramatic scene for the dial, one that tells us the story of a sinking ship and hence: "the sailor's grave." To bring some positivity into the picture, the anchor - a symbol of strength and hope, and the link to Mother Earth - plays a prominent role in the design. Speaking of the dial: at first glance the two lightning bolts and the big anchor clearly dominate the design and make any other detail rather difficult to see. However, after some further inspection, the stamped, engraved and decorated silver elements finally become visible and make up the clouds, the sinking ship and the sea. This is when the dial finally starts to form a complete picture and, for some, to trigger emotions!

The Tattoo-DNA collection will consist of four models, each issued in a limited series of only 25-pieces. All of them will be dressed in typical Romain Jerome fashion. That means a 50mm stainless steel case with four "paws" and a black PVD-coated, oxidized bezel that provides a rugged, 'used' look to the watch. Of the 100 watches in total, 50 will have black PVD-coating on the four "paws", the crown and the lugs and these will come on a black fabric strap. The other fifty will have more bare stainless steel elements and a skin-colored leather strap, tattooed by the artist himself. The movement inside is the self-winding RJ001-A (basically an ETA 7750 with no chronograph or date function), beating at 28,800 with 42 hours of power reserve.

Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch Watch Releases

Although - quite weirdly - Romain Jerome did not once use the word 'pirates' in its communication about the collection, I still feel that this is the watch of a modern pirate. Yes, the person who will own one of these pieces (probably) won't have a full-rigged frigate tattooed on his chest, nor will he attack with swords and hooks, the taxi in the next lane, but he will want to express something that only a watch with a huge anchor and two glow-in-the-dark lightning bolts can.

So, what about actual tattoo art on the watch? Well, that is where some of the straps come in. For several years now, Romain Jerome has been experimenting with "tattooed" straps working with Mr. Coppoletta. The idea is not novel, but we think should be implemented more often. Straps make a great canvas for art on a watch - so brands should be mindful of new ways of adding design. The straps (some of them) have printed tattoo-style art on them. Would it be more "RJ" to actually tattoo an animal, then use its skin for the the strap? Maybe...

The rather unique theme and the uncomplicated, yet arresting scene on the dial should provide enough food-for-thought and make up for the lack of any rare material melted into one of the components of this watch. Prices will be $18,450 for any of the four models in the collection. Once again, you have a chance to make anchors a part of your day...

What do you think?
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  • marketsurfer

    Mo is cool, tattoos are cool. BUT this watch is beyond ridiculous! I venture to say the days of RJ are numbered as the creativity is wearing thin.

  • I’m glad RJ is out there making unconventional pieces. Butt once again, they have made a watch I don’t find attractive and would not wear. But I still want to see what they will come up with next.

  • Zeitblom

    ” but who else would be able to pull off such a concept, if not Romain Jerome?”
    Answer: Van Cleef & Arpels, the only people capable of producing watches *even tackier* than those of RJ.
    But even VC&A don’t pretend to do “fun”, as RJ do. When their watches are about as much fun as cutting off your own head with a rusty pair of scissors. Or maybe less.

  • Zeitblom Ha ha, have to agree with you except that RJ would have the rusty scissors and make then into a watch case or dial and a homage to some famous scissors of the past. Edward Scissorhands’ watch???

  • Zeitblom

    MarkCarson Zeitblom Ye gods, you are right. They will make a watch with rusty scissors claimed to be the ones used by the tailor on board the Titanic. And it’s all my fault…..

  • frankwhite

    I actually really like RJ and would love to wear most of their watches but these things are an epic fail IMO.

  • frankwhite

    I actually really like RJ and would gladly wear almost any of their watches but these things are an epic fail IMO. I really can’t imagine how someone thought these were a good idea.

  • Ulysses31

    Having exhausted all known expletives in the English language, I can’t be arsed to even try with this piece.  You’d have to be obscenely wealthy and utterly moronic to wear this watch (i.e, Justin Bieber).  I’m wondering why you’d use a chrono movement in a watch that doesn’t have those functions.  Seriously, if there’s a valid reason for that i’d like to hear it.  RJ, please stop.  Making watches.  Embarrassing yourself.  Breathing.

  • Kris C

    I didn’t know I was in a coma… it’s April 1st already?

  • CG

    Nicely done video though slightly simplistic edit, vocals were everything worthwhile about the piece. The watches stand in stark disappointment to the video hype. I was expecting an 18th century operatic staging of the face with sinking ship, rolling waves and lightning strikes. Nope just a mute reference. Tattoos in modern times are quite well done and refined. But stripper stamps amd neck and face tattoos are just plain stupid as is making a watch that says more about the obscure than the obvious.Ask your typical 20 somethong about tattoo cultural references and you’llget a blamk stare. Ask a 50 something who can actually afford this watch and they wwon’t care. They are too busy berating their stupid kids for getting tattoos of Justin Beiber ang puppies.

  • CG

    Oh yeah… there is something rather ghoulish about describing a leather wrist strap as human “skin” you would wear with that idea in mind and tattooed to boot; I can only think of Buchenwald

  • Holy crap – I just watched the video. 4 minutes of my life gone for nothing. A 3 minute video with another full minute (33%) of credits. Maybe they can edit it down to 30 seconds so the 1 minute of ‘story’ will be twice its length. I kept waiting for the ‘shave  his belly with a rusty razor’ line of the song but was left unfulfilled.

  • DG Cayse

    Well, yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day
    So ye weak bellied landlubbers…a watch like this is not for the weak & meek !

  • DG CayseOK then;Romain Jerome Tattoo-DNA Watch: Arrrghhhh!