Like a handful of other small, niche brands, Romain Gauthier is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is no small feat for such a small outfit, but then again, they have something solid to stand on. To the expert eye, something about Romain Gauthier’s movement stands out. None of its parts look like any other. After all, a wheel is a wheel and a screw is a screw, right? Romain Gauthier begs to differ. His wheel’s spokes are circles. His screw heads are shaped like an S. And his balance wheel… it is worth taking a closer look at because it is a thing of beauty.
There is a simple, cultural, explanation to these unique designs. Romain Gauthier manufactures them in-house, because component manufacturing is his original craft. After spending years with a very high-end parts manufacturer which belongs to the Swatch Group, he decided he had had enough making beautiful things for others. He therefore launched his own brand, based on a single, in-house, exclusive calibre. The HMS ten is fitted with a small seconds version of that original calibre and with special dials. But at heart, everything that makes Romain Gauthier’s timepieces is here.
It all starts from the outside: these cheap replica watches don’t have a crown…any visible one that is. In order not to scratch or itch, the winding and time-setting crown is not perpendicular to the case. It is flat under it. It is just as easy to manipulate, but much more comfortable. The hours and minutes are off-centered. This gives Mr Gauthier more room to create exquisite dials, generally guilloché ones. In the case of the HMS Ten, they are matte, open-worked and adorned with a grain-de-riz pattern.
The Prestige HMS Ten’s real delight is inside. Romain Gauthier is one of the very few watchmakers that make actually superior watch finishes. Along with a small number of independent brands with small workshops, he is hell bent on going the extra mile. Jewels are set in hand-polished countersinks. Flat surfaces are either circular grained or adorned with high quality Geneva waves. Yet it is the shine on the bevels that strikes most.
Even without a loupe, and even more so with one, they are large and luminous to a degree one rarely sees. This is especially true for the large bridge at twelve with a large crescent opening. Its design seems to serve a single purpose: giving more space, more angles, more curves to embellish. The HMS calibre is a simple one, made of only 128 components and the HMS Ten will be available in limited editions of 10 per case material. One doesn’t need much more with such effort put on making it beautiful.