Watches: Romain Jérôme Skylab Collection

By Thierry Ané on December 12, 2013

Not so long ago, in my presentation of Ulysse Nardin’s Skeleton Tourbillon ManufactureWatches: Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture, I explained that I was only enjoying skeleton watches when they were extremely contemporary in construction and design. With the unveiling of the Skylab collection, Romain Jérôme gives us three beautiful examples of avant-garde design in the field of skeletonising.

The mechanical manual RJ004-M calibre has been designed especially for these three models. It offers a power reserve of 48 hours to drive the central hours and minutes and the sweeping seconds located at 9 o’clock. The interest, though, lies in its skeleton structure that hides nothing of the watch’s inner parts. I could spend hours looking at the intricacies of the brand’s very first skeleton movement.

We are told that its “skeleton structure recalls the first space station and its revolutionary construction by combining sleek lines and a complex system of solar panels”. I don’t know about that! But I do know that it is the first skeleton watch that truly gives me the impression of looking at the floating working parts of a strange machine that could have come from Jules Verne’s mind.

The case of the watch also deserves some comments. At first glance, one could mistakenly think that it is the usual Titanic-DNA case, but in fact it has been nicely reworked for the Skylab models. First, the paws of the 44 mm case have been enlarged. Then, the lugs have been hollowed to lighten the watch. Lastly, the faceted crown seems new to me as well. All these little changes add up to create an entirely different case.

The collection includes three different models, all available in limited series of 99 pieces. The first model is entirely in stainless steel and the skeleton dial is ruthenium-coloured. The second model combines a stainless steel case with a black PVD steel bezel and its movement is treated in black. The last version uses a black skeleton movement and a black PVD case but combine them with a red gold bezel. All three models are fitted with black calfskin leather with a pin buckle in steel or black PVD steel depending on the model.

The first two versions retail at USD 16,950 while the model including a red gold bezel costs USD 19,950. It is a very reasonable price for such a beautiful skeleton watch.