Today RJ unveiled the Moon Orbiter Tourbillon, a very original piece including a flying tourbillon. In a limited edition of 25-pieces at $115,000 per, I find a lot to like in this watch. Most importantly, it builds on the brand’s strength which is its “DNA of legends” theme. The overall design is resoundingly avant-garde and highly original. The dial has moon dust incorporated into it, and there is Apollo 11 DNA in the case — thereby evolving the intergalactic theme which the brand has built several pieces around (and yes this makes it part of the Moon-DNA collection).
This is an entirely new case design from RJ and I really like it. It is 44.5mm x 48.5mm x 20mm (big and bold!) with elements from Apollo 11
space shuttle spacecraft (presumably melted down metal put into the steel) and lots of sapphire (five crystals) for unimpeded viewing of the intriguing inner workings. The dial side shows basic hour/minute time on the right, ” + and -” power reserve indicator on the bottom of the dial and the flying tourbillon — anchored by an arm which extends from the lower part of the movement – is on the left (nicely visible from top/bottom and side). Another nice touch are the piston-style spring-loaded lugs which add both to the watch in both form and function.
The movement bridges and dial are finished in the space theme with the hex + star pattern which is perhaps reminiscent of a lunar surface. Speaking of the movement, it is DNA a la La Joux Perret, and as noted above you’ll get plenty of angles from which to view it at.
Long-time Perpetuelle fans know that I’ve written about many of Romain Jerome’s watches over the past several years, going back to 2009/2010 when the brand was ran by Yvan Arpa. Since leadership of the brand was taken over by watch industry scion Manuel Emch, the “DNA of Legends” theme (which, again, I am quite fond of) has been wisely continued along the original Titanic and space/intergalactic design lines, while also being broadened to fun and more whimsical DNA-of-legend-inspired designs such as the video-game Pac-Man and Space Invaders pieces. Some great wrist toys have resulted.
At the same time, RJ has on occasions stretched the “DNA of legends” concept which I think has resulted in some of their less desirable pieces (Eyjafjallajökull & Liberty). But overall, I think there are some great lines (i.e. Moon DNA and Sea/Titanic DNA) and some great capsule pieces such as Pac Man and Space Invaders, and the brand is by and large doing a good job of maintaining its uniqueness in the niche high-end watchmaking world. Certainly this is not a starter or anchor piece for a collection — it is one of those pieces you acquire when you’ve got all the other ‘important’ but comparatively unoriginal pieces in your watch box. And if you are in such a position, I think you’d do well to give this piece a closer look.
-Retail price CHF 107,000.-* / EUR 99,000.-* / USD 115,000.-* / GBP 79,300.-*