Watches: Romain Jérôme 1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite and Silicium (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on February 3, 2014

The general speech in the horological circles is that business is bright, with enough untapped markets around the world to sustain an incredible double-digit growth for this sector despite the general state of the world economy. The models introduced these past two years, though, tell us a different story. Don’t blame the Chinese for the trend towards classically-designed, time-only, smaller-sized timepieces: most brands are just trying to obtain a much-needed increase in turnover by offering more affordable collections.

If you are like me and appreciate your watches with generous proportions, luxurious materials, elaborate movements with high-end finish, and intricate dial displays, these can be very dull times. Fortunately, some brands remain creative enough to arouse our interest with beautifully designed entry-level models that are full of personality. With its new 1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite and Silicium collection, Romain Jérôme clearly proves that originality is part of the brand’s DNA and unveils four aggressively-priced timepieces that have their place in any watch collection.

For the 1969 Heavy Metal timepieces, the brand introduced a brand new vintage-inspired 43 mm case with a beautifully textured back adorned with a stellar pattern and a huge central moon with an extremely realistic surface. Made from Romain Jérôme’s very own MoonSilver, it contains particles of moon dust like all the other models from the Moon-Dust DNA collection.

Inside this beautiful case beats the self-winding RJ003-A calibre. With off-centred sweeping seconds, this time-only movement offers 40 hours of power reserve.

What makes each model unique, though, is the dial. As its name implies, the 1969 Heavy Metal Meteorite model features a meteorite dial. With its characteristic pattern this outer space material is extremely decorative and offers unique dials. To complement its silver colour, this model uses a rhodium-coloured inner flange and a brushed steel case.

The remaining three dials are made from a much more common material: silicium. It indeed represents about 90% of the Earth’s crust. In its purified form, it is translucent and would not be aesthetically interesting. It is thus coloured here in blue, grey or brown depending on the model and it underwent a special PVD treatment that gave it a textured finish not unlike the meteorite pattern. The brand paired both the 1969 Heavy Metal Grey Silicium and 1969 Heavy Metal Blue Silicium models with a brushed steel case. For the 1969 Heavy Metal Brown Silicium version, they opted for a black PVD steel case.

All watches are equipped with a black alligator strap secured by a pin buckle (steel or black PVD steel depending on the case). The “silicium” versions retail at $10,500 while the price tag for the meteorite model is $11,500. Each version is limited to 99 pieces.

As I said before, we are far from the boring “return-to-classic” (i.e, “return-to-affordable-prices”) models we have seen here and there. These watches are really exciting: they combine the right amount of exclusivity (99 pieces of each only!), use of rather uncommon materials (silicium or meteorite), hint of legend (the moon dust), with a very contemporary look! If you factor in the great price, you definitely have a bestseller here.

As we saw the watches in person during the SIHH week, here are a few live pictures of these impressive new watches: