Romain Gauthier presents Natural Titanium and Black Titanium versions of the Insight Micro-Rotor watch featuring a casually-styled, modestly-sized titanium case and a finely-finished, in-house automatic movement with 22k gold bidirectional micro-rotor.
Sweeping around the centre of the dial are small seconds surrounded by an hour-minute subdial at 12 o’clock, beating balance at 6 o’clock and, at 9 o’clock, the swaying micro-rotor, framed by a cut-out in the mainplate. This compact oscillating weight turns fluidly and noiselessly between two bridges, each fitted with a friction-minimising, wear-resistant ruby bearing. In whichever direction the micro-rotor swings, it winds a serially operating double mainspring barrel that, when fully wound, provides 80 hours of power.
There are more stunning views of the movement through the display back: The sinuous shapes of the hand-bevelled, hand-polished bridges – secured using Romain Gauthier’s signature S-slot screws – are juxtaposed by the linear plaquettes adorning them, while the gears and ratchets stand out for their circular arms that have been bevelled.
Part of these timepieces’ splendour lies in the contrasts created by the various finishes applied: Light and dark, polished and satin-finished, straight-grained and hand-frosted.
For Insight Micro-Rotor Natural Titanium, the caseband and bezel are polished, while the lugs and caseback are satin-finished. The black NAC-treated mainplate makes the palladium-treated bridges visually pop, with the straight-graining of the dial-side bridges counterpointed by the hand-frosting on the mainplate. The oven-fired enamel dial bears a sumptuous gloss.
For Insight Micro-Rotor Black Titanium, the bezel, lugs and caseback of the ADLC titanium case are satin-finished, with the caseband polished. Both the bridges and mainplate are black NAC-treated but the straight-graining on the bridges makes them stand out against the hand-frosted mainplate. The same hand-frosting technique has been used to give the oven-fired enamel dial an eye-catching matte finish.
Insight Micro-Rotor Natural Titanium and Black Titanium are both available in three 10-piece limited editions: with oven-fired white enamel dial, oven-fired black enamel dial and oven-fired blue enamel dial. Strap options include casual matte black alligator leather and supple black natural rubber.
Romain Gauthier has designed Insight Micro-Rotor’s movement to be highly visible so the viewer can gain an instant appreciation of the spectacular mechanics and fine finishing, giving rise to the name “Insight”.
The labour-intensive decoration includes hand-made and hand-polished bevels, snailing, straight-graining, circular-graining, hand-frosting as well as hand-made and hand-polished jewel countersinks. And it is this level of hand-finishing that helps to explain why Insight Micro-Rotor is one of the most expensive micro-rotor timepieces– if not the most expensive micro-rotor timepiece –in the world.
Insight Micro-Rotor’s movement was designed, developed, produced, decorated, assembled and regulated at Manufacture Romain Gauthier in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland.
The bi-directionality of the micro-rotor is achieved through a reversing gear. The axis of this gear glides side to side, guided by a curved aperture cut within two arc-shaped steel plates which are black-polished to facilitate the gear’s lateral movement and rotation. When the micro-rotor changes direction, it drives the toothing of the reversing gear in the opposite direction, making the reversing gear slide this way too.
Gauthier has designed the micro-rotor so that it turns between two bridges, each fitted with a ruby bearing, thus harnessing the watchmaking principle of avoiding metal against metal by putting metal against ruby. Rubies have a low coefficient of friction and high wear resistance, here helping to produce a smooth, inaudible rotation of the micro-rotor compared to, say, metal ball-bearings which can entail noise and wear.
Given the relative weight of the micro-rotor (4.3g/0.15oz), Gauthier has decided to eschew a ‘flying’ rotor supported by just one bridge from beneath and instead design the micro-rotor so it is sandwiched between two bridges, from above and from below, for superior stability.
The movement’s two mainspring barrels combine to offer 80 hours of energy at full wind. The barrels are in series for more constant power to the regulator that features the Romain Gauthier balance wheel with curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights plus hand-assembled pallet lever that is triangular for maximum rigidity.
Model: Insight Micro-Rotor Natural Titanium and Black Titanium
Insight Micro-Rotor Natural Titanium– 3 x 10-piece limited editions
Natural Grade 5 titanium case, black NAC- and palladium-treated movement
– 10 pieces with oven-fired white enamel dial on 18k gold base, flame-blued steel hands
– 10 pieces with oven-fired black enamel dial on 18k gold base, 18k white gold hands
– 10 pieces with oven-fired blue enamel dial on 18k gold base, 18k white gold hands
Insight Micro-Rotor Black Titanium– 3 x 10-piece limited editions
ADLC Grade 5 titanium case, black NAC-treated movement
– 10 pieces with matte, oven-fired white enamel dial on 18k gold base, flame-blued steel hands
– 10 pieces with matte, oven-fired black enamel dial on 18k gold base, 18k white gold hands
– 10 pieces with matte, oven-fired blue enamel dial on 18k gold base, 18k white gold hands
Features and indications
Off-centre hours, minutes and small seconds; in-house, bidirectional, automatic movement featuring 22k gold micro rotor and double mainspring barrel in series for generous 80-hour power reserve
Dial and hands
Oven-fired enamel dial on 18k gold dial base, with 18k gold hands or flame-blued hands, depending on which edition
Movement and finishing
Dimensions: 32.1mm x 6.8mm
Power reserve: 80 hours
Number of jewels: 33
Number of components: 206
Balance frequency: 28,800 vph / 4Hz
Components in: 22k gold micro-rotor, steel, stainless steel, beryllium copper, brass and German silver
Finishing: Highest-level haute horlogerie hand-finishing
Dimensions: 39.5mm x 12.9mm at highest point
Water resistance: 50m/5atm/170ft
Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflection coating, front and display back
Crown for winding and time-setting at 2 o’clock
Choice of matte black alligator leather or black natural rubber strap
Choice of pin buckle in natural titanium or ADLC titanium, or deployant buckle in natural titanium