The year 2012 will mark, among other things, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Romain Jerome, the Switzerland-based creator of not-quite-conventional luxury watches, is not letting the centenary pass by without a limited edition line that pays homage to the sinking of the Titanic. The limited edition creation is called the Romain Jerome Steampunk Titanic 100th Anniversary watch; for those familiar with Romain Jerome’s products, this is an extension of its hugely popular and somewhat controversial line of Titanic DNA watches.
Romain Jerome: Not Your Regular Luxury Watchmaker
Most luxury watch brands prefer to walk along the side of caution, creating safe and elegant watches that pose no risk to sale. Exciting, out-of-the-box designs tend to be rarities, largely because of the huge costs involved in creating high-end timepieces. Plus, safe designs are known to sell. However, Romain Jerome is not quite like the others. This may have something to do with the brand’s present CEO, Manuel Emch. Emch is known to prefer unconventional, edgy designs, something that may stem from his weakness for minimalism and science fiction. So, when he took over the Swiss watch brand, he was bound to bring his own unique perspective to the designs.
Remembering The Titanic
One of the most prominent watches being by Romain Jerome at the time that Emch took over was Titanic DNA. This had been the brainchild of previous CEO Yvan Arpa. These fine watches were named Titanic DNA because they contained a small quantity of metal harvested from the sunken ship. How did this work? The watchmakers melted the Titanic metal with another metal to create the bezel. The bezel was later rusted to provide a truly unexpected and distinctive feel to the luxury timepiece.
Titanic DNA: Tribute Or Exploitation?
When the first limited edition collection of Titanic DNA was released, the luxury watch became a rather controversial subject. Many people could not get over the fact that this timepiece was created using metal from a ship whose sinking killed so many people. They found the piece exploitative and in poor taste. However, not everyone was throwing brickbats at this beautiful watch. Fans of the limited edition Titanic DNA collection felt that this was a fitting homage to the 1912 tragedy. Either way, the controversy and unending discussion was good for business for the Swiss brand.
Steampunk For The 100th Anniversary
The Steampunk Titanic 100th Anniversary watch features a 50mm black-coated steel casing along with the rusty bezel, which is quite the USP of the watch. The Steampunk anniversary offering comes in two versions: one version (the RJ Steampunk Auto 100th Anniversary watch) provides only the time and has a seconds hand built like a propeller, while the other (RJ Steampunk Chrono 100th Anniversary watch) offers the time and chronograph complications. Only 100 units of each version will be produced. The chronograph version retails for 15,950 Swiss Francs (about $16,445) and the auto version for 13,950 Swiss Francs (about $14,383). There is no bling, only the exciting idea that you could be wearing a piece of the Titanic; the story is the stuff of legends.