Even though I’ve been covering watches for a decent amount of time now, it is still a pleasant surprise to come across a brand doing something unexpected, especially one that has been established for a bit. That is especially helpful when they decide to apply the appellation of Retro to a new model – at least there is some back catalog to derive from. That is precisely what we have here with the Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro 43.
For the retro part of the watch, we need to go back to the midway point of the brand’s history. Now, they’ve only been around for 10 years, so jumping back 5 years isn’t that far of a leap. Regardless, it was at that time that Pierre DeRoche introduced the Dubois Dépraz movement that has once again returned. In the initial appearance, the movement was housed in a 47mm case; this time around, it has slimmed down to 44mm. Pair that with the titanium used for said case, and you have got a lighter watch on your wrist.
While titanium is neat and all, it’s really not the star of this particular show. For that, we need to take a closer look at the dial. At first it seems like it’s been partially skeletonized, until you notice the six extra hands taking up space. Then you begin to wonder what sort of complexity has been introduced. For the Retro 43, it’s something that should put on a bit of a show. Each of those additional hands is a retrograde second hand, each sweeping for 10 seconds.
Then the timing passes on to the next hand, the the previous one resets. It’s funny – when I picture this in my mind, I’ve got a sort of typewriter soundtrack applied to it, with the keys hammering away and then the little “ding!” as the hand resets. You can check out the video below to see a rendering of them in action.
Those extra hands aside, the dial looks to be rather legible with the central handset, all while giving you a very mechanical feel to the top side of the watch – and that is a difficult balance to strike. I especially like seeing the exposed fasteners and jewels, along with the extra gearing making everything possible. As someone who enjoys mechanical watches for being miniature machines on our wrists, the Retro 43 really seems like a celebration of that facet.
If you see one of these in person, make sure to get a good look, as these are not going to be common at all. With the limited-edition numbers being limited to 201 pieces, it’s not much of a surprise to hear pricing comes in at around $20,355 (18’700 CHF) (you can find a local retailer here). Even so, this is quite a clever way of representing seconds on a watch, and you can mark me down as a fan of the novelty. pierrederoche.com
- Brand & Model: Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro 43
- Price: $20,355 (18’700 CHF)
- Who we think it might be for: Someone who enjoys the mechanical nature of a watch showing on the dial side, but doesn’t want to go for a skeletonized treatment
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yeah, this would certainly be a fun one to wear
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: That’s tough with a novelty of this nature. How about some lume on the seconds hands so they can put on a kinetic lightshow?
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The mechanical nature of the dial side, combined with the show the retrograde seconds hands put on
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