Romain Jerome Announces The Subcraft, The Mechanical Watch That Looks Digital

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little something mechanical in your life. To wit: the Romain Jerome Subcraft is the company’s latest “novelty” – a watch not made for mass production – that displays the hour on a side readout and the minutes on a dial on top of the case. This $24,000 watch – that’s 2 Apple Watch Editions, give or take – is being sold in a limited edition of 99.

Created by Manuel Emch, CEO of Romain Jerome, and designer Alain Silberstein with some help from watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the watch has a hand-made mechanical movement inside a light titanium case. For the watch nerds out there this piece has a lateral movement, linear time display, jump hours, and a retrograde hand – all features that watch fans call complications. This means that the front display moves across the hours one by one by “jumping” from number to number and returns to the beginning after noon or midnight. There is a small luminous tube on the hour hand so its visible at night.

These sorts of “jumping hours” pieces aren’t particularly new – they’ve been around since the 1970s when they were called “digital” or TV style. However, for Romain Jerome, makers of the infamous Titanic watch, to take on this particular design is quite interesting. The the company is mostly known for their straightforward three-handers – standard watches with an hour, minutes, and seconds hand – and for them to try so many oddities at once is quite bold.

That said, it might be a little pricy for those simply looking to join the Apple Watch family this year. Maybe next year when Jony Ive starts making mechanicals?