When it comes to RJ-Romain Jerome, they do certainly have a distinctive way of going about things. They like to create watches with unique materials (say, using metal from the Titanic) and interesting dials (my favorite? The Batman DNA, of course!) Often, the focus is on the exterior of the watch, with the case and/or dial taking pride of place. Well, this definitely changes around with the RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab 48. Sure, the case is very familiar for the brand, but the star of this show is the movement.
As you, our readers, will know, I am drawn to interesting executions of movements, especially when they are do to the point that we do not even have a dial obscuring them. Yes, there is a class of skeleton watches that are a nightmare to read, but when we get to ones like the RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab 48 (part of their Moon DNA collection), well, you sit and wonder how, frankly, there are enough parts to actually get a watch running, let along keep accurate time. The RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab 48 is actually the second iteration (the original was introduced in 2014), with the case growing in diameter but shrinking in height.
So, the star of this show is definitely the movement. The brand calls it out as a 5-layer configuration, with the barrel taking it’s place up at 12 o’clock and the balance wheel popping up in the usual place of 6 o’clock. Now, the execution of the RJ004-M movement might not be as ethereal as we have seen from other brands with extreme skeleton movements, but that’s not what this watch goes for. With it’s claims to a space station, there is more of an industrial, purpose-built feel to things. You have the various girders coming across for support, and the elements are stacked in a way that makes good use of the space, while simultaneously keeping the time readable.
As part of their Moon DNA collection, the RJ-Romain Jerome Skylab 48 does truly have some space heritage to it – the case actually contains bits of metal from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Which, for me, is simply icing on the cake, as it would be, I imagine, for any watch collector who is seriously in to space exploration. Given that there is not necessarily a lot of that Apollo 11 metal to go around, it should be no surprise that this is a limited edition of 99 pieces each (99 for the black PVD finish, and another 99 for the red gold), with pricing at $20,950 (or $24,500 for the red gold). Yes, it’s a luxury watch, and one that boldly invites you to look at how little of it there is to gaze upon. romainjerome.ch
- Brand & Model: Romain-Jerome Skylab 48
- Price: $20,950 (PVD), $24,500 (red gold)
- Who we think it might be for: You like the bare-bones skeletons we have seen coming from luxury brands, but want something with a slightly beefier feel.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Pricing aside, this would be a very fun watch to put on my wrist, no doubt.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Let’s take things up another notch, and see if we can hid a micro-rotor under the barrel in the next iteration
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: How the movement (and therefore the watch) can manage to be beefy and minimalistic at the same time
Tech Specs from Romain-Jerome
- Caliber RJ004-M
- Mechanical movement
- Frequency: 28,800 vph
- Jewelling: 21 jewels
- Power reserve: 48 hours
- Water resistance: 3 atm (30 meters)
- Functions: Central hours and minutes, small second at 9 o’clock
- Case: Ø48 mm
- Black PVD-coated steel containing fragments of Apollo 11 spacecraft
- Sapphire case-back
- Dial: Black chrome skeleton movement
- Hands: Rhodium (or Red gold) satin-brushed hands with superluminova C1 “blue emission” on the tips
- Paws: Polished steel
- Bezel: Black satin-finished steel or red gold
- Strap: Black alligator
- Buckle: Steel pin buckle
- Limited edition Limited series of 99 pieces (for each version)
- Retail price $20,950 (Speed Metal) or $24,500 (Red)