An engineer approaches watchmaking
Romain Gauthier’s entry into watchmaking was somewhat unconventional. Despite his upbringing in the Vallée de Joux and both his parents being actively involved in the watch industry, Romain wasn’t initially taken by watches. Instead, he chose to pursue his love for music and musical equipment as an area of study. Gauthier then pivoted, studying precision mechanics and then machine-tool construction.
The young watchmaker then spent the next few years manufacturing complex and precise components at François Golay SA, a movement component producer which was eventually purchased by Frédéric Piguet SA. After a few years working there, Gauthier started to think he may want to create under his own name, though only before returning to school to study business. He completed his studies, graduating with honours, all whilst still working as a watchmaker on the side.
Whilst still at François Golay SA, Gauthier developed his first movement, which he worked on for over two years, using his employer's machines in evenings and weekends. He then launched his eponymous brand, seeking the guidance from other independant watchmakers such as Philippe Dufour. After Gauthier set out on his own, Dufour also helped him form relationships within the industry, such as organising a joint lunch between Dufour, Gauthier and a groups of collectors who visited the Vallée du Joux in 2010. Since its inception Romain Gauthier has grown in appreciation. In fact, Chanel acquired a stake in Romain Gauthier, despite the brand’s relative youth, recognising its exceptional in-house manufacturing capabilities.
The Logical One
Producing only several dozen watches a year, across all variations of the Logical One, HMS and Insight Micro-Rotor, Romain Gauthier create extremely high-quality pieces, combining elements of industrial design, precision mechanics and traditional watchmaking. In 2013, Romain Gauthier was awarded the "Best Men’s Complication" at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), for the Logical One series.
The core of the Logical One is the movement. From a technical perspective, the patented 37 jewel movement features an innovative chain-and-fusee style constant-force mechanism, running at 4Hz. Unlike a traditional approach, where a cone-shaped pulley (fusee) is wound with a chain attached to the mainspring barrel, the Logical One replaces the fusee with a slowly rotating snail cam, placing it at the same level as the mainspring barrel. This allows for the force to be transmitted in a straight line, as well as for a shorter chain. As a result, the larger individual chain links benefit from improved efficiency by means of 26 hard-wearing synthetic rubies, separate from the movement jewels, reducing friction. The mainspring is also placed between synthetic sapphire plates, eliminating potential friction within the mainspring barrel.
Even the winding mechanism is unique, which is operated using an ergonomic pusher set into the side of the case, in place of a conventional crown, allowing more efficient transmission of energy to the barrel. This provides the watch with an impressive 46 hours of power reserve, shown through an indicator on the reverse. Consisting of 359 individual components, the movement includes numerous hand-applied finishing techniques, with frosting, snailing, graining and polished bevels on the bridges and countersinks. The gears and ratchet wheels have circular spokes, while the screws have S-shaped heads, both a signature of Romain Gauthier.
The case, measuring 43mm across and 14.2mm thick, is made out of black-coated titanium, treated with amorphous diamond-like carbon. The quality of the movement finishing is echoed in the case, with a mixture of polished and satin surfaces and scalloped lugs finished with a sandblast texture inside. The crown for setting the time is at 2 o’clock, to allow space for wrist movement, whilst the pusher winding is recessed into the case band at 9 o’clock.
The blue grand feu enamel dial shows the time display in a vertical line, with the hours and minutes at 12 o’clock and seconds just below. Both sub-dials are covered in fired vitreous enamel, with skeletonised, dagger-shaped hands for the hours and minutes. Romain Gauthier’s distinctive balance wheel is shown at 5 o’clock, with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights, flanked by numerous interior angles.
This Logical One BTG is accompanied by its original box and paperwork. It comes on a bespoke taupe grained leather strap, and is accompanied by its original black alligator strap and impressively finished, Romain Gauthier titanium buckle.
Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.