Q: This year Romain Gauthier will celebrate its 10th anniversary. How do you feel about reaching this milestone?
A: It has been an exhilarating journey through the past 10 years and beyond. I started working on the design for my first watch, Prestige HM, in 2002. For three years, I created the components for that timepiece evenings and weekends behind closed doors. It was a huge investment of time and energy and I didn’t quite know where it would lead, but I felt compelled to do it. I didn’t want to have any regrets later in life, and creating my own movement for my own timepiece had become my dream.
In 2005, I established the Romain Gauthier brand; a year later, I employed my first watchmaker and gradually built up the company during the following decade. We have launched five collections along the way, including Logical One, which won the prize for Best Men’s Complication at the 2013 Grand Prix de Genève — the watchmaking Oscars. That recognition confirmed that I was doing something right.
Today, we have a talented team of 17 highly qualified professionals in the Vallée de Joux, the heart of Swiss watchmaking. What’s more, we are able to call ourselves a watchmaking manufacture in the truest sense of the word, since we possess almost complete autonomy in terms of creation, production, finishing and assembly of our timepieces.
I am proud of my team and our skills to produce wonderful creations that blend the very best of traditional haute horlogerie with innovative engineering and contemporary design. In our own special way, we are contributing to Swiss watchmaking heritage, and for me that is an honor.
Q: Which are your most prestigious timepieces from Baselworld 2015?
A: At Baselworld 2015, we unveiled two new versions of our Logical One – an elegant white gold edition with a distinguished rose gold-finished movement and a sporty black titanium version with anthracite NAC-finished movement that is likely to appeal to those seeking a casual aesthetic.
We also launched two sleek black titanium versions of our open-dial Prestige HMS, as well as the Prestige HMS Ten collection. Prestige HMS Ten was specifically created to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and is available in 10 limited edition pieces in red gold, white gold and platinum.
Q: How much time do you dedicate to a new haute horlogerie project?
A: Just like a luxury car, a super yacht or a jet aircraft, a mechanical watch is a machine, and it takes a considerable amount of time to develop. From the first step: hand-drawn sketches to 3D computer renderings, prototyping, material and finish testing, designing and machining components, quality control, painstakingly finishing the components by hand and the final, intricate assembly, it can take years to develop a new timepiece, perhaps three to four years on average.
Q: What traits distinguish Romain Gauthier from other brands?
A: Our timepieces often receive high praise for their technical merits. But it is probably the way that we incorporate the engineering into the overall design that makes us stand out. Logical One, for example, features a ruby-link chain together with snail cam and sapphire-lined mainspring barrel, providing almost two days of constant force. However, this revolutionary mechanism is not hidden from view — it forms part of the dial and has a visual impact that is perhaps just as impressive as the timepieces technical virtues.
Commentators also remark that the level of our traditional hand finishing is exceptional, among the best in the world. Indeed, in our anglage atelier, our artisans dedicate hours to beveling individual movement plates and bridges by hand, including sharp internal angles with rounded bevels. This fine finishing brings out the inherent beauty of the material. When you look at our movements, you can see light glinting off of them. It takes a lot of time and great skill to achieve this aesthetic, but the rewards are more than worth it.