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Tested: Romain Jerome Titanic-DNA Steampunk

written by A.Morgan - 6th Feb 2012

For those of you who are unaware of Steampunk, it is a sub-set of the science-fiction genre that imagines an alternate retro-future, powered exclusively by steam. In the Steampunk world, airships rule the skies above a dark and grimy metropolis, whose underbelly hums to the tune of great mechanical pistons that thump and hiss day and night. Originating in the 1980’s, the term appeared as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Cyberpunk genre as a way of labelling the new breed of science-fiction that had been appearing in the previous few decades.

The Romain Jerome Steampunk is one of the Titanic-DNA range, and features (and also divides opinions with) an original piece of recovered and stabilised metal from the sunken ship of the same name. The 12,500 CHF (around £10,000) Steampunk takes the original Titanic-DNA piece and literally Steampunk’s it (if you see what I mean) to make it the same retro-futuristic imagining that originally inspired the term in the first place.

The Titanic – already being steam-powered – is a perfect candidate, and where the Titanic-DNA was the neat and tidy façade of the great ship, the Steampunk is the engine room, an oily, grinding cacophony of fire and water. The clean, simple dial is gone, and the heavy-industry innards are laid bare for all to see. Four great pistons secure the bezel-clamps in place, roughly finished and over-engineered to withstand the huge, pounding forces that Romain Jerome would have us envisage powering the anchor-shaped hands.

Of course (and perhaps a little disappointingly) the Steampunk is not steam powered, instead relying on the Romain Jerome calibre RJ001-AS to drive its hands. I suppose that removes the inconvenience of filling it with coal and water, as well as it not getting ridiculously hot and scalding the skin straight off your wrist, but it’s a testament to the imaginative nature of the watch for the thought to have even popped into my head in the first place.

Despite the overall (purposely-done) crude appearance, the fit and finish on the Steampunk is exceptional. Little details like the colouring and finishes on the dial add depth and dimension, whilst the irregularly shaped and curved caseback fits with a precision that belies the watch’s theme. There is a lot going on, but not too much, and it is instantly apparent that a lot of time and effort has gone in to making the design work. And for those who want even more depth and detail, Romain Jerome’s tourbillon offering should more than satisfy.

Steampunk was created to be tongue-in-cheek, and I think so was Romain Jerome’s tribute to the seminal genre. Even if this quirky and edgy creation doesn’t appeal to the wider market, there can be no denial that the ingenuity behind it gives it a certain attraction, and, to continue banging a drum that we always beat with great voracity, it makes for a welcome antidote to the more sober offerings that fill jewellery store windows. With talks of a DeLorean-DNA offering coming soon, we can’t wait to see what Romain Jerome will envisage next.

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