The phrase “insert coin” or “1 credit(s) remaining” brings back memories for many people of a certain age. As kids, they swarmed old-school arcades to hone their skills in “quarter-a-pop” video games after pleading for loose change from their parents as if their lives depended on it. The late 1970s and early 1980s paved the way for legendary games, including the greatest video game of all time: Pac-Man. Recently on our Monochrome-Watches blog, we wrote that 35 years after the launch of the iconic game in 1980, RJ – Romain Jerome celebrates the birthday with the Pac-Man Level II.
Why celebrate Pac-Man, specifically? Let’s be honest, there are far more profitable games out today when it comes to total revenue, but allow us to put things into context a little bit. Just consider the simple fact that Pac-Man cost about a quarter to play and yet the total gross income it generated during the first 20 years of its lifespan is estimated at $2.5 billion. Taking into account those figures, along with its cultural currency of being loved and passed on from one generation to the next, in its original version, no less – well, do you still think your modern-day warfare or carjacking game, perennially replaced by a newer and “better” version at a steep annual expense, is “the best ever?” No, neither do we.
When it boils down to tribute-watches RJ-Romain Jerome has performed this particular party-trick numerous times before, by creating timepieces commemorating “the stuff of legends.” Whether it’s the Statue of Liberty, the DMC DeLorean, Batman, the Titanic, and now Pac-Man, Romain Jerome seeks inspiration all over the world, always casting a wide-open net for their next subject. Video games, statues, comics, historical ships – anything is fair game for these Swiss watchmakers.
The five versions of the new Pac-Man Level II are no different technically than some of the other time-only RJ watches. The Pac-Man Level II features the RJ001-A caliber, an ETA/Valjoux clone made by either Concepto or La Joux-Perret. It is housed in the “Moon-Invader” case, with four protruding landing “feet” that can swivel slightly to ensure a comfy fit. The watch comes attached to a rubber strap with a black DLC-coated folding buckle.
If you are still nostalgic for the age of shoulder pads, synthesizer music and pixelated video-gaming, this watch could very well be for you. Considering the price tag, though, you’ll also have to have some fairly deep pockets, as each one costs 11,950 Euros (40-mm) or 15,950 Euros (46-mm).