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Romain Gauthier, art and technique

Romain Gauthier, art and technique

Tuesday, 01 April 2014
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

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3 min read

The constant-force Logical One, with four patents to its name, was already a sensation. Now with the addition of a cover, with an opening for a dial and subdial, the Logical One becomes a new canvas for the métiers d’art.

The success of Romain Gauthier the brand is mirrored in the personality of Romain Gauthier the man, a constructor of precision machines with a keen interest in mechanics, and an obsessive believer in high-end finishing. After testing the waters with the Prestige HM (hours, minutes), then venturing deeper with the Prestige HMS (hours, minutes, seconds), last year he unveiled the Logical One whose movement, like those of its predecessors, is designed and made by Romain Gauthier himself in keeping with watchmaking tradition but with a personal touch that immediately won over collectors. A brief description of the Logical One says exactly where Romain Gauthier is coming from. First it has a fusee and chain transmission to ensure constant force. Secondly the links in the chain are made from synthetic ruby. There are also sapphire inserts in the barrel. Thirdly it is wound by a pusher. Lastly, it has four patents and last year claimed the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the Men’s Complication Watch category.

Proving capacity

Understandably, the Logical One is the main attraction of the Romain Gauthier booth at Baselworld 2014. “Small brands such as ours have to be able to present products such as the Logical One,” comments Romain Gauthier. “It’s a means of proving we have the capacity to innovative on a technical front, and can attain an extremely advanced level of finishing. In our particular case, it’s not so much our capacity to produce and assemble that determines how many watches we are able to bring to market, but the time required to finish and decorate each one. At this stage, sales aren’t an issue.”

Romain Gauthier started out in watchmaking at the supply end, making complex parts for major brands, all the while laying the foundations for his own brand. He currently manufactures between 40 and 60 watches a year. Although parts manufacturing remains a solid base for the company, watches that bear the Romain Gauthier name now account for more than 60% of business, a proportion destined to increase if the brand’s latest offering is anything to go by.

I had it in mind to propose something different.
Romain Gauthier
A gem-set appetizer

Romain Gauthier came to Baselworld with a Logical One in a completely different vein. A hinged cover, cut away to reveal an offset dial showing hours and minutes, plus small seconds, becomes a fabulous canvas for the different métiers d’art. “I doubt anyone was expecting us to come up with anything like this, but from the very beginnings of Logical One, back in 2012, I had it in mind to propose something different, not just technically but aesthetically too. In a crowded market of 600 watch brands, you have to know how to stand out. I believe this cover clearly brings something different, something rarely seen on the dial side. For this first piece, we have completely paved this cover with invisible-set diamonds to give an idea of what can be done from a decorative point of view. Actually, this watch could be our entry into the Middle Eastern markets.”

Romain Gauthier is working with Bunter for the gem-setting, which will be just one of the embellishments on offer. Further collaboration is under way with a painter, and the brand has other projects in the pipeline, including with Olivier Vaucher’s engraving studios. Enamel, mosaic, guillochage, the client’s every wish can be fulfilled, says Romain Gauthier who is already working on the successor to Logical One, “a complication to be showcased, bearing in mind that the dial is the ultimate vantage point from which to admire a work of haute horlogerie.”

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