Romain Gauthier Introduces a New Skeletonized Timepiece: The Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette

Swiss watchmaker Romain Gauthier is marking its 15th anniversary year with a “Manufacture Only” and “Special Order” iteration of its flagship timepiece, the Insight Micro-Rotor. The new Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette uses hand-finishing techniques — including bevelling, softening, smoothing, and polishing along its bridges and mainplate — that it introduced in 2005. The new models are available in either a 42-mm Carbonium case or in a 39.5-mm case made of either precious metals or black-DLC-coated Grade 5 titanium.

Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette Manufacture-Only Carbonium Edition.

According to brand founder and namesake Romain Gauthier, Carbonium is “a form of carbon composite sourced from aerospace-grade fibers,” produced by the French company Lavoisier Composites. The idea behind using a high-performance, carbon-fiber composite, Gauthier says, “is because of the excellent mechanical properties [it offers],” and that it is “three times more rigid,” compared to titanium, “yet twice as light.”

Carbonium caseband, bezel, back, crown and buckle of Insight Micro-Rotor.

For the Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette Manufacture-Only Carbonium Edition, Gauthier made the case, crown, hours-minutes subdial, small seconds subdial, and buckle from Carbonium. The dial’s off-centered hour and minute hands are skeletonized, while the small seconds hand is solid steel; all are polished to a matte finish. The case measures 42 mm in diameter and 12.9 mm thick (half a millimeter more than its 2019 model). The case hosts a crown for manual winding and time-setting at 2 o’clock. The case offers a water resistance to 50 meters and is protected by a sapphire crystal on its front and back, glazed in an antireflective coating. 

250 hours are devoted to anglage alone, that’s to say the bevelling, softening, smoothing and polishing by hand of the bridges and mainplate which contain no fewer than 156 internal angles.

The dial showcases the brand’s signature invention, the in-house caliber that powers the hour, minute, and small second indications with a bidirectional micro-rotor made from 22-karat gold, visible through the dial side as well as its exhibition caseback, and protected from humidity by the Carbonium case. The movement includes 206 components and measures 32.1 mm by 6.8 mm. The self-winding micro-rotor uses a double-barrel mainspring, offering 80 hours of power when fully wound and vibrating at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz). The oscillating weight turns smoothly between the two bridges, fitted with a friction-minimizing, wear-resistant ruby. This timepiece’s customizable elements include the choice between hand-polished or matte-finished bevels, the color of the steel hands, the dial accents, the plaquette engraving on its caseback, and the rubber strap.

A final matte-finish removes the need for the lengthy hand-polishing stage, but still involves the time-consuming steps of bevelling, softening and smoothing by hand.

The Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette Special Order model is available in in range of case materials — 18-karat rose gold, 18-karat white gold, 950 platinum, and black-DLC Grade 5 titanium — measuring at 39.5mm by 12.9mm. The model offers the same in-house movement and functions as the “Manufacture Only” model. The Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette 950 Platinum (below, left) features an oven-fired blue enamel dial made in-house, with accents accompanied by 18-karat white-gold hands. The bridges and mainplate are beveled, softened, smoothed and polished by hand. The rose-gold version (below, right) has an oven-fired black enamel dial, greyed by hand-frosting, with gilded accents and rose-gold hands.

The Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette Maufacture-Only Carbonium Edition comes mounted on a color customizable “natural,” rubber strap, with a Carbonium pin buckle. At the same time, the Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette Special Order models are available on a rubber or leather alligator strap, hand-stitched in Switzerland with a pin or deployant buckle made to match its case (except for the platinum case, which is accompanied by a white-gold buckle). The “Manufacture Only” model is exclusively available to collectors directly via the Manufacture Romain Gauthier. The “Special Order” model is available through Romain Gauthier or its selected retail partners.

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