Romain Jerome makes watches that are fun. Everything about the brand is fresh and entertaining, such as their booth at Baselworld 2015. While most brands are all about display cases and multi-media displays, Romain Jerome’s star attraction was freshly-popped popcorn and a ball pit. To entice the jacket-and-tie visitors to step in, the ball pit included a sort of treasure hunt, with a watch hidden in one of the balls.
Romain Jerome was founded in 2004 as RJ Watches, and it initially made golf-themed watches, such as the Hole in One Golf Counter which had features such as a hole number counter, strokes per hole counter, and stroke totalizer. Though an interesting concept, these watches presumably were not something with a widespread appeal for golfers. Its design approach changed with the arrival of Yvan Arpa, who, with the task of creating something that everyone could understand but that had an element of rarity, decided to make a watch containing traces of steel from the Titanic. This caused a small amount of controversy and won the brand a lot of attention. Yvan Arpa left Romain Jerome in 2009.
Manuel Emch (born 1972), who helped revive Jaquet Droz for the Swatch Group from 2001 to 2009, joined Romain Jerome on 1 January 2010. He was closely involved in the design process and won several watch design awards. Following the Titanic DNA collection, the brand created more series following the same sort of approach, with watches incorporating volcanic lava from Eyjafjallajökull, moon dust, and metal from the Apollo 11 space shuttle. As they say at Romain Jerome, theirs is a brand without history, and so, to give their watch characteristics of notability, they use elements of popular culture to which everyone can relate, such as the Titanic, but also Pac-man, Tetris and Space Invaders.
In March 2017 Emch announced that he would be stepping down from the role of CEO to become the delegate of the Board of Directors, with the mission of driving the brand’s overall strategy.
Romain Jerome are candid about their structure. They are not a manufacture that designs and makes original movements: instead, they use Swiss-made base movements, modifying them as necessary or adding customized modules such as the linear retrograde hour module in Spacecraft and Subcraft, created and designed by Romain Jerome in collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht’s company Agenhor. The company currently makes and sells about 2,500 watches per year (the figure includes accessories such as cufflinks and pens). Their principal markets are Mexico and Europe, with an important presence in Hong Kong, south-east Asia and Singapore.
Rue du Marché 11
CH-1204 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)22 319 29 39