For those who are familiar with the creative and very talented independent watchmakers, no introduction is needed for Romain Gauthier. He has been creating haute horlogerie since 2005, hewing closely to the motto of “The Evolution of Tradition”. He has created some fantastic mechanical pieces of art, luxuriating in the offset and unbalanced presentation of the designs. Then came the Continuum collection in 2021, introducing a titanium sports watch. Today, we’ll be taking you through the Romain Gauthier C Titanium Edition.
The history of the Romain Gauthier C is a relatively recent one. When it was first introduced as the Continuum collection, the sport watch featured a rubber strap set into the case. One year later, the line shifted a bit more. Along with the name change, the rubber strap was pushed aside. Instead, we were treated with a fully-integrated bracelet – also made of titanium – that makes for a very unified look. In our eyes, this is an enormous step for the marque, as it’s giving a thoroughly modern look to the watch, while still pulling from history (with integrated bracelets first appearing in the 1970s) and making the watch very much their own design.
At first glance, the Romain Gauthier C appears to be a relatively simple watch. Closer examination will prove that impression to be incorrect. For one, while the dial appears to be symmetrical, you will notice that the hands are actually mounted just slightly above the midline of the dial. This keeps the Gauthier touch alive in the design, and is a hallmark for a brand that can create their designs – and the movements inside – totally in-house and to their own specifications.
Second, take notice of the indices – both the larger applied indices, as well as the painted starburst on the running seconds. They taper in towards their respective centerpoints, pointing your eye – even if unconsciously – into the midpoints.
Thirdly, we must note the finishing on the case and bracelet. With titanium, we are much used to seeing it in a simpler brushed or matte finish. Once again, Gauthier mixes things up, and includes polished surfaces as well. On the bezel, that’s showing up on the portions that curve down to the main case body. With the bracelet, the polishing appears on the inset “links”, which further reinforces that the bracelet and case were done as a totally unified design. With it all being made of grade 5 titanium, the total package comes in at an airy 85g, which should positively disappear on the wrist.
The fourth design detail on the Romain Gauthier C actually brings us to the movement – the position of the crown. Common spots for a crown are at 3 o’clock (or 9 o’clock), and every so often at 4 o’clock to make for a more comfortable fit. If you’re building your own movement, you can put the crown where you want: here, it shows up at 2 o’clock, marking it as something different while also helping to ensure that it is not digging into your wrist.
Flipping the Romain Gauthier C over gives you the truest sense of the movement being something special. Being manually wound, you have a clear view of the finger bridges that step up from the main plate, which gives a structural airiness that we’re not used to seeing in a movement. That is just one level of visual interest to this movement as it ticks away at 4Hz.
The materials used – along with the varied finishing – also bring interesting layers here. While there is a healthy dose of titanium used in the movement, we also have stainless steel and German silver being layered in. All of this combines to make a movement that was meant to be seen.
What you’re seeing with the calibre also demonstrates the skill of the artisans making the components, as well as the engineering know-how that it takes to design everything. For instance, why are there circular “spokes” on the wheels, now a hallmark of the brand? Turns out, they provide additional lateral strength. Or, what about those odd S-shaped screw heads? That’s not just to ensure that their atelier is the one to work on the watch. It actually provides more torque when fastening the components together.
If you really want to focus more on the art of the watch, one needs to look no further than the polishing that is done. Rather than rely on machinery or polishing wheels to help, everything is done by hand. It all starts with, say, filing down chamfers, which then proceeds to be polished utilizing a polishing compound on a piece of wood. That same technique is used even in the recesses where the rubies are set. It is extremely detailed and time-consuming, but allows for a precision and uniformity that a rotating machine tool cannot hope to achieve at these small scales.
Versus The Competition
If you’re wondering what else might compare to this watch, the first one that comes to mind for us is something from the Moser Streamliner line, such as the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar. Obviously, with a perpetual calendar, there’s a more complicated movement at the core. Here, we also have steel used rather than titanium, so weight will be much different for this model. We do still have that integrated bracelet, and it’s hard to argue against the ceramic Globolight material that Moser uses to light the handset.
If titanium is the key to your integrated bracelet dreams, then something like the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto Titanium is another solid option. The case is a touch blockier than on the Gauthier, but it does offer some polished surfaces. The bracelet presents as a bit more traditional as well, which is up to you if that’s the look you’re going for. You do still get the running seconds set apart, and indices that taper into the center, albeit in an elongated teardrop shape here.
Finally, no discussion around integrated bracelet sport watches would be complete without considering one from the “Holy Trinity”. While there are numerous examples across the three brands, we would point you towards the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 222. This is a very modern reissue that hews very closely to the look and feel of the original from 1977. This also takes things in a much different direction, appearance-wise, as it’s made of gold, and comes across a bit dressier than the Romain Gauthier C.
The owner of a watch like the Romain Gauthier C is going to be someone who appreciates things that are different, but different in a way that is not flashy or ostentatious. A casual observer may not even give a watch like this a second glance, past the flashes of light coming off of the polished surfaces. As we showed you earlier in this article, though, this watch is most definitely not your average watch when you get into the details.
We also believe that this is the sort of watch for someone who wants to support independent watchmaking, but also desires to have a watch that can truly be worn every day. Which is not to say all other independents are making watches only meant for the safe deposit box. It’s just with the attention to articulation in the bracelet for comfort, the overall lightness of the watch, and the protection that the titanium affords to the movement inside plenty of protection. Perhaps not a watch you’ll swim with (with the 50m WR rating), but for anything else in life, this is ready to take it on with you.
While Romain Gauthier’s earlier designs may ignite our passion for intriguing approaches to watch design, it’s watches like the Romain Gauthier C that keep those fires burning. For one, they tend to be a bit more attainable for the collector. For another, while the movement is a beauty in its own right, it just feels like a more robust – and less finicky – than the one in, say, the Romain Gauthier Logical One. Which at least for us, appeals to our more practical side, allowing the watch to remain a tool true to its purpose – telling time – without the distractions of clever and artistic engineering. Those heady designs excite the mind and undoubtedly inspire other designers. Ultimately, we feel that the Romain Gauthier C is a way to add a healthy dose of subtle luxury to your wrist, day in and day out.