Watches: Romain Jérôme Tattoo-DNA Sailor's Grave

By Thierry Ané on November 12, 2013

Since its inception, Romain Jérôme has positioned itself as an off-the-wall alternative to the vast majority of traditional (if not conformist) brands. Over the years, they have used materials closely related to contemporary legends to inject life into their “DNA of Famous Legend” collections: the steel and charcoal from the Titanic, some moon dust and parts of Apollo 11, the lava of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull or even the copper of the Statue of Liberty.

In my opinion, however, their best creations are those where they can free themselves from these rare materials and replace them with a good sense of humour to interpret more joyful legends. This includes the Game-DNA with the Space Invaders and Pac-Man, but also the Art-DNA or the amazing Dia de los Muertos. The Tattoo-DNA is an exciting addition to this alternative kind of legends.

This new collection pays tribute to tattoos and maritime art. As the brand explains, tattoos and sailing share a common part. Indeed, since the 18th century tattoos have been considered a powerful form of protection and many sailors would have their arms and chests tattooed as a talisman. Called “Sailor’s Grave”, the four models of this collection have been developed in partnership with Mo Coppoletta, a world-renowned tattoo artist based in London.

The most dramatic aspect of these watches is undoubtedly the dial featuring Mo Coppoletta’s interpretation of the “Sailor’s Grave”: one can see a huge anchor on the foreground and behind, a sinking ship in the waves and a heavy sea. Embossed thunderclouds and two luminescent thunderbolts (either yellow or red depending on the version, they bring a fun, cartoon-like feel to the dial) can also be seen. All the elements work perfectly well to provide an impressive sense of depth in the dial.

The 50 mm case reminiscent of the Titanic-DNA line comes in steel or black PVD-coated steel depending on the version and is adorned with a black PVD-coated and engraved bezel. The “Sailor’s Grave” timepieces come on a rather classic black fabric strap for two versions or on a skin-coloured leather strap tattooed by Mo Coppoletta himself for the remaining two. The case back features a classic sailor’s tattoo with a “Tattoo-DNA” inscription. Romain Jérôme calibre RJ001-A (ETA Valjoux 7750) powers this automatic watch.

No doubt fans of Laurent Ferrier and Kari Voutilainen (to name but two) will certainly consider this watch a heresy. But if, like me, you are open to something unconventional this watch may be what you are looking for. The pictures don’t do justice to the dial: you need to see it in person to fully appreciate the various finishes and the amazing sense of depth. Since it is already in stores, I strongly encourage all those who like the pictures to go and see it for real.