Romain Gauthier’s Insight Micro-Rotor White Gold Limited Editions And Why You Might Want One
One thing I have adored about the Insight since its introduction is its wearable size. Coming in at 39.5 mm, Gauthier and his team have used that to advantage by crafting a range of limited variations, including several for women decorated with strategically placed diamonds and mother-of-pearl (see 5 Outstanding Watches For Women Introduced In 2018).
“Insight Micro-Rotor is a haute horlogerie creation, but also a daily timepiece that can be enjoyed for its simplicity of use,” Romain Gauthier said. “You can wear it every weekday and almost forget that you have it on. It’s very comfortable to wear, and the micro-rotor winds the barrels quickly, efficiently, and silently so you don’t have to worry about winding them by hand.”
At Baselworld 2019, Romain Gauthier introduced a new limited edition of this superlative automatic watch in white gold with a choice of three enamel dials.
Why did Romain Gauthier choose the name Insight Micro-Rotor?
Romain Gauthier chose the name Insight to highlight the fact that the inner workings of this watch’s automatic mechanics are on view, both back and front. Fans of Gauthier’s style of watchmaking will appreciate that the Insight boasts a highly visible movement like his previous creations but with the added convenience of automatic winding.
Rarely does the fan of good watchmaking actually get to see the rotor at work winding the watch while it is on the wrist as rotors are usually only visible from the back. Gauthier and his team have designed a watch whose style and functionality are efficient, elegant, and transparent all at the same time.
Insight Micro-Rotor’s compact bidirectionally winding micro rotor crafted in 22-karat gold is not of the usual “flying” variety (meaning only one supporting bridge on one side), but is instead supported by two bridges, one on each side, for superior stability and reliability.
Despite this, the rotor remains visible on both the dial side and through the display back, making its rotations fluidly and noiselessly between two beautifully designed bridges, each fitted with a friction-minimizing, wear-resistant ruby bearing jewel. These two incredibly beautiful German silver bridges have been exquisitely hand finished.
Insight Micro-Rotor boasts a generous 80-hour power reserve, facilitated by the fact that the rotor winds in both directions to charge the twin serially coupled spring barrels.
What is so special about the Insight Micro-Rotor design?
This being a Romain Gauthier timepiece, nothing here is like anywhere else, including the crown placement, which unusually is at 2 o’clock to facilitate wearing comfort.
As with many of Gauthier’s other creations, the Insight Micro-Rotor boasts an open dial placing the emphasis squarely on the beautiful mechanical design of the lovely German silver bridges and plates, making for a very harmonious and handsome visage.
I also like the fact that this open style of design, while baring the mechanical soul of the watch, shows a large degree of restraint: it in no way looks skeletonized, but rather purposeful.
The components are superlatively finished, but cleanly and simply. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I might have classified the style as ever so slightly Germanic. That’s how perfectly clean this watch is without even the barest hint of anything superfluous.
The curvaceous style of the bridges is also continued through the sapphire crystal case back. I find the style of the four plaquettes professing the number of jewels, name of artist, place of origin, and limited edition number a very interesting design choice; the various shapes interact nicely.
And then there are those signature curved-slot screws (what Ryan Schmidt has called “coffee bean screws,” which you can see more about in The Schmidt List: Signature Movement Screws), which to me are the cherries on top of this perfect mechanical hot fudge sundae.
What’s so special about the finishing of the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor?
Gauthier is often talked of as Philippe Dufour’s artistic heir, and they do share similar artistic styles regarding simplicity with a focus on extreme quality (for more on that, see Why Romain Gauthier Is The Logical Heir Apparent To Philippe Dufour).
Romain Gauthier’s finishing is the best money can buy, on par with or better than every one of the greats. And the “simple” design of the boutique brand’s movements allows this superb finishing to become one of the main attributes of its watches.
The restrained finishing choices also help the decorative techniques to shine more brightly than if a variety of textures had been chosen; rather than combining many techniques, which dilutes the visual impact of any one, perfectly executed hand-applied frosting is kept uniform here.
The frosting keeps the texture from being overwhelming, while the edges, countersinks, and key details are polished to a flawless shine, allowing the satin brushing on the bridges to provide a contrast without being too stark of a difference.
The real contrast, of course, comes with the two different platings used on the bridges and plates: 4.5 N red gold and palladium.
“The gleam of the white gold case, the matte finish, and the gilded tones of the movement . . . for me, this historical combination of colors and finishes is the one that most evokes a collector’s watch,” says Gauthier.
Why you might want a Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor
This watch tells the time, but in my view it represents so much more. Here is why you should consider one.
Rarity: The Insight Micro-Rotor is not a watch you are ever likely to see on the wrist of the person sitting next to you on an airplane. Ever.
The rarity of this timepiece, which has only ever been offered in small limited editions since its arrival in 2017, cannot be overstressed or overstated.
Beauty: The Insight Micro-Rotor boasts an ingeniously “simple” design that looks like no other watch on the planet. The eye has no trouble going right to the time, but it will linger time and again on the sensuous curves of the bridges, discovering new details with each view.
And if those bridges don’t do it, the kinetic activity of the perpetually revolving micro rotor and the hypnotic fluidity of the 4 Hz balance wheel will without doubt hold the eye captive.
Superlative hand-finishing: There are only a handful of watchmakers today capable of finishing a watch movement like Romain Gauthier’s team.
And this boutique brand is only one of two artists (the other being Philippe Dufour) that crafts rounded chamfers rather than the ubiquitous straight chamfers – which takes us right back to the rarity factor.
Further reading on hand-finishing: Does Hand Finishing Matter? A Collector’s View Of Movement Decoration.
For more information, please visit www.romaingauthier.com/heritage/insight-micro-rotor.
Quick Facts Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold
Case: 39.5 x 12.9 mm, white gold
Movement: automatic in-house manufacture Romain Gauthier caliber with micro rotor, 80-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph; highest level of haute horlogerie finishing
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 10 pieces each with white enamel, black enamel, or blue enamel dial
Price: 79,000 Swiss francs (excluding taxes)