A supplier of components to the watch world, the independent watch brand Romain Gauthier regularly creates timepieces that are works of art and technology. However, he only makes about 60 watches a year. Now, he unveils the exceptional Prestige HMS Stainless Steel watch with rare meteorite dial. Just 10 pieces will ever be made — adding to the exclusivity. Recently, I wrote about the new watch on my Perfect Timing column on Forbes. Here, we bring that article to our readers, as we go hands on with the watch. While I happen to love meteorite dials in general, I must say this watch meteorite dial is truly magnificent thanks to the shimmer and depth of its striations.
“Known for his incredible attention to detail and fine craftsmanship, independent watchmaker Romain Gauthier crafts just 60 watches annually. His timepieces are highly sought after by collectors and sometimes one must be patient for a watch to be finished and delivered. It is in this already exclusive environment that Romain Gauthier now unveils another rarity: his first-ever Prestige HMS stainless steel watch with the little-known Henbury meteorite dial. Apart from the piece of meteorite used for the limited edition of 10 watches, the only other known sample of this meteorite is housed in the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
Priced at approximately $70,000 each, the new Presitge HMS Stainless steel watch measures 43mm in diameter. The dial, as mentioned, is created from the ultra-rare octahedrite (iron) meteorite that is visually appealing thanks to the high nickel-iron crystal content that has a rich shimmer and a different shine when held in different positions.
The meteorite was discovered at the Henbury crater in the Northern Territory of Australia in 1931. It has been subjected to a nitric acid treatment in order to reveal the Widmanstätten patterns or Thomson structures that are typically formed during a long period of cooling inside the larger asteroid. From the chunk of meteorite, experts use a variety of machining techniques to create a 33mm disk for the dial, which is treated with an anti-corrosion substance.
The 43mm case is crafted in stainless steel, marking the first time Manufacture Romain Gauthier uses this material. According to Gauthier, he wanted to pair the ferrous dial with a ferrous case. The watch houses Romain Gauthier’s in-house-made hand-finished 128-part Caliber 2206 HMS that offer hour, minute and seconds indications. Visible via a sapphire caseback, the movement offers 60 hours of power reserve and offers hours and minutes via blackened steel hands (filled with Super-LumiNova for easy reading), as well as small seconds subsidiary dial at 5:00.
For aesthetic purposes and to increase efficiency, the winding crown is configured in a large diameter and lays flat on the case back. In traditional watches with the crown at 3:00 on the case, the energy when winding must travel at a 90-degree angle, but with the flat crown energy transfer is more efficient. The crown system consists of a ceramic ball and rubber spring to reduce friction and more smoothly transfer the energy. There are also two o-ring seals to provide for dust protection and to render the watch water resistant to 10 meters.
Every component in the watch is meticulously hand finished with straight and circular graining. The bridges and mainplate are black NAC treated for a beautiful contrast in the finishing. In total, about 60 hours of intense finishing are devoted to hand decoration.”