Hands-On: The Romain Jerome Steampunk Tourbillon Gunmetal

By Evald Muraj

Romain Jerome is a brand that aims to combine quite a few elements when it comes to watchmaking. That’s a literal statement. Sometimes those elements are particles from space or material from an Apollo mission. Combined with elements of haute horology, Romain Jerome pieces appeal to collectors who desire exclusivity in the constituents of their watches. Such is the case with Romain Jerome’s latest offering, the Steampunk Tourbillon Gunmetal, a second version of which is titled the Steampunk Tourbillon Titanic.

The case and overall design of the Steampunk Tourbillon aims to emulate machines and engines of the early 20th century. A combination of steel and titanium parts, the black-PVD case is hand brushed and feels smooth to the touch although it comes off as slightly coarse to the eye. It’s gigantic at 50mm, or should I say titanic? While it’s lighter than expected and curved lugs help alleviate the situation, few cuffs would dare go up against this behemoth.

The dial is open-worked, revealing a perlaged mainplate and blackened bridges. Time keeping resides within the 12 o’clock sub dial of hours and minutes. The oceanic theme extends to the anchor shaped hands, which are also superlumed. The power reserve indicator mimics the shape of a speed lever on a steam boat (complete with full and stop indications). At 9 o’clock, a small piston has a 30 second pumping motion, which, although purely decorative, may detract from the functional tourbillon at 6 o’clock.

Inside the Steampunk beats the RJ200-TS. A manual wound caliber that is proprietary to Romain Jerome. It boasts solid decoration, Geneva Stripes, beveling and considerable attention to detail. A popular topic that I’ve been looking to expand upon in recent articles is that of manufacture calibers versus proprietary calibers. The term “in-house” has grown to be among the most definitive qualifiers of prowess and therefore luxury in modern watchmaking. But, movements can be built in-house fully, partially or not at all. They can be assembled or even designed in-house and still qualify for the title.

While Romain Jerome does not build every aspect of the movements and watches themselves, they do work with expressly high-end Swiss counterparts (relationships that they play close to the chest) in order to design proprietary complications that are tailored to their …read more      

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