Romain Jerome Moon Orbiter Tourbillon

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Romain Jerome Moon Oribiter Tourbillon

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).

Romain Jerome Moon Orbiter Watch

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.

Romain Jerome Moon Oribiter Tourbillon closeup

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.

Romain Jerome Moon Orbiter Back view

Romain Jerome Moon Orbiter Sapphire Sideview

More broadly…

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.-*

  • Paul

    OMG, both you & Clymer need to learn that none of the Apollo spacecraft were “shuttles”

    • goju1

      Yeah, yeah of course you’re right but we’re about watches aren’t we? It was probably a ‘slip of the typewriter’.

      • Perpetuelle

        I believe it was a temporary cessation of synaptic activity in the amygdala region :-)

    • Perpetuelle

      Double OMG, you are right :-) Guilty as charged and thanks for pointing that out. Corrected.

  • goju1

    Well, I have to say that my first impression, when looking at the images, (and before I read the article) was that the watch was not original. It seems to have borrowed concept and elements from MB&F, Urwerk, Richard Mille and others.
    However, it does seem to be an impressive piece even though some might consider it (somewhat) contrived.
    For designers it must be difficult to come up with new themes these days.
    I guess where RJ is truly original is with their manufacture consisting of rare materials sourced from exotic artefacts.
    The space invaders watch is probably my favourite.
    Thanks for keeping us informed – great read!

    • Perpetuelle

      Wow, what a difference of opinion we have on this one goju! The main differentiator for RJ (as I touched upon throughout this article) is the DNA of legends, I think on this point we can agree they are unique.

      As for other elements, I guess it just depends on how you see it. I agree that these days it is difficult to come up with new themes, and especially with many independents all seem to be inspired by space and Gene Roddenberry. But I see this one as a distinct design in an increasingly crowded “space watch” field.

      RJ seems to be a polarizing brand for people — myself included — either their designs are hit or miss, it’s very hard to make broad generalizations about their diverse design themes. Overall though, I think they are doing a pretty good job in what is an incredibly competitive haute avante-garde independent segment.

      Enjoy the comments and dialogue and hope you are having a great summer!

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