Romain Gauthier Freedom Prestige HMS Stainless Steel MON00027
Prestige HMS Stainless Steel – Romain Gauthier’s first series watch in this material – features a stunning dial crafted from a rare specimen of Henbury meteorite boasting exceptionally coarse intersecting bands of nickel-iron crystal that spectacularly shimmer as the wearer turns the watch.
Powering the hour, minute and second indications is the innovatively engineered, superlatively hand-finished in-house Calibre 2206 HMS, on full show through the display back and wound using an ingenious large-diameter crown configured ‘flat’ on the caseback.
Prestige HMS Stainless Steel is a 10-piece limited edition.
The exceptional meteorite dial
The slice of meteorite used to make the dial comes from an octahedrite – an iron meteorite – that was discovered in 1931 at the Henbury crater field in the Northern Territory of Australia, one of the country’s best known meteorite impact sites. It is believed that this fragment is the result of a meteor exploding and breaking up as it hit the earth’s surface there over 4,700 years ago.
The slice looks like a fairly ordinary chunk of grey metal until it is subjected to a nitric acid treatment that reveals intersecting bands of nickel-iron crystal, known as Widmanstätten patterns or Thomson structures. These structures formed during a long period of cooling within the parent asteroid.
A rare find on today’s meteorite market, this particular specimen is remarkable not only because of its size, but also for the coarseness of its nickel-iron crystal bands, called lamellae, and how pronounced and defined the resulting Widmanstätten pattern is.
To make each dial, a combination of three-axe machining centre and electrical discharge machining is used to create a disc of the meteorite that is 33mm in diameter and 0.8mm thick. An anti-corrosion treatment is applied to ensure its appearance will not deteriorate over time.
As the angle at which the observer looks at the dial changes, the many lamellae shimmer, lending the dial a real vivacity.
Romain was drawn to this specimen of Henbury meteorite not least because he grew up in a household surrounded by rocks and minerals collected by his father.
He says: “My dad would often take me to mineral and gem fairs where he would buy the likes of agate, labradorite, quartz and desert rose. I think when you are a young boy, it is hard not to be fascinated by these objects, their stunning colours and shapes that, quite incredibly, have been made by nature.
“So when I first set eyes on this meteorite, the size of its crystal bands and the way they reflect the light, I knew that it was something special. It really stood out from the other iron meteorites that we are used to seeing. Immediately my thoughts turned to how I could use it for a special edition timepiece.”
|Functions :||Hours, minutes, small seconds|
|Case :||43mm case in stainless steel|
|Dial :||Dial made from a rare specimen of Henbury meteorite|
|Hands :||Super-LumiNova filled hour-minute hands and hour markers|
|Movement :||In-house movement|
|Features :||Manual winding via caseback crown|
|Power Reserve :||60-hour power reserve|
|Editions :||10-piece limited edition|