Last year’s major release for Romain Gauthier was the Insight Micro-Rotor, that incorporated a — you guessed it — micro-rotor that offered an 80-hour power reserve. The watch was considered a significant step forward for the independent manufacture with a level of quality and finishing that other brands could only dream of. This year, Romain Gauthier has continued to build out the Micro-Rotor line with the Insight Micro-Rotor Lady, which just so happens to be the brand’s very first timepiece intended for women.
Before we go into the technical details, I just wanted to say that it’s fantastic to see a brand on the scale of Romain Gauthier (think of his followers as horological hipsters) embrace the feminine side of things. While there have always been fantastic watches available for both genders, there’s been a constant theme of brands releasing a quartz model dressed up in diamonds and thinking that that is all female collectors desire. Kudos to Romain Gauthier for opening his atelier up to an underrepresented side of the collecting community.
Technically, the watch is very similar to last year’s model. The watch’s signature feature — its bidirectional 22k gold micro-rotor – is visible from the dial side and from the back. Rotating smoothly and silently and positioned between two bridges, this compact oscillating mass winds a double mainspring barrel to store an impressive 80 hours of power reserve. The barrels are series-connected in order to supply a more constant flow of power to the regulator. The time is displayed on two off-center, overlapping subdials, one for hours and minutes, the other for small seconds. Also showcased on the front of the timepiece are the movement’s balance, at 6 o’clock, which beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph; the circular cutout in the movement mainplate that frames the swaying micro-rotor; and a golden plaquette engraved with the Romain Gauthier “RG” logo. All of these elements are surrounded by curved, hand-beveled bridges that echo the contours of the 39.5-mm case and are covered by a bombé sapphire crystal that rises gradually toward 12 o’clock before steeply dropping again. The back side of the watch is also dynamic, with the micro-rotor visibly setting into motion the gear train, starting with the reversing gear that controls the bidirectional winding mechanism. Also eye-catching are the beveled, circular arms of the gears and ratchets; the hand-made hand-polished bevels of the bridges; the countersinks for the movement’s 28 jewels, which are fixed in place by Romain Gauthier’s signature screws with “S”-shaped slots; and the linear plaquettes adorning the curvilinear-shaped bridges.
There are a few subtle design changes from the men’s model, with the main difference being the dial layouts and the materials. Previously, where there had been a minute track and Roman numerals to mark the hours on the upper subdial, there is now Arabic numerals marking 3, 6, 9, and 12, with no minute track. Similarly, the second track on the lower subdial has been removed and the numerals have been condensed to only mark 15, 30, 45, and 60 seconds. Material wise, this new version is offered in two ten-piece limited edition sets in either 18k red gold with a Tahitian black mother-of-pearl dial or an Australian extra white mother-of-pearl dial. When the men’s model was released, it was available in a rose-gold — with an oven-fired blue enamel dial — or platinum case, with enamel dial options of white, black, or blue, each a limited edition of 10 pieces.