RJ Romain Jerome Arraw Marine Titanium Chronograph Blue Dial Swiss Automatic 45mm


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Baselworld 2018 one of the many brands undergoing a total re-shift in management and/or branding was Romain Jerome… or shall I say “RJ” now. I’ve seen the brand experience a lot of very strong personalities at the helm, which for me began with Yvan Arpa (of Artya), Manuel Emch (previously from Jaquet Droz) and now Marco Tedeschi who for me was a regular face at Hublot for many years. Both Tedeschi and Arpa both come from backgrounds working with and around Jean-Claude Biver, which is quite interesting. Arpa was there toward the beginning of Biver’s takeover of Hublot, while Tedeschi was at Hublot for a number of years including the peak of its popularity and I believe during the transition to LVMH ownership. Now Marco attempts to take charge of a brand all by himself – no doubt motivated by the ideas for successfully running a luxury brand he has been nurturing for years.


Business-wise, the two most important changes at the brand are the elimination of the “all limited edition” concept as well as the more focused emphasis on “pillars.” We are also promised an overall reduction in price points – which is something that can really only be observed after a few years of product releases. While there is still much work to be done in order to fully execute Tedeschi’s vision for RJ, the first “new” model as a result of the updated RJ is the Arraw Chronograph collection – seen here in its titanium variant.
Style-wise the Arraw Chronograph heavily borrows from a series of existing Romain Jerome watch elements and the watches themselves will be available in two sizes (45mm and 42mm wide). The case most heavily borrows from RJ’s Titanic DNA case, which I still think is among the best Yvan Arpa ever worked on. The case has been modernized a bit with elements borrowed from other RJ watches. I can confidently say that the case is much more comfortable than some legacy RJ cases. The Moon Invader cases for example were never very comfortable to wear. I do think the modern RJ brand will focus a lot more on ergonomics than in the past.
The Arraw Chronograph case has four bezel “bumpers” (or claws) which are common in the RJ design language. The rest of the curvy case continues to suggest the marine theme that the Titanic DNA was always good at doing. The dial is much more modern even though it retains the classic arrow-style hands of many RJ models. The modern looking hour numeral font and overall dial layout is a modification on some previous Romain Jerome watches from a few years ago. The dial is attractive and feels like an RJ even though it doesn’t offer anything particularly novel or interesting. It’s a good look that needs to be backed up by a good story, which RJ has yet to tell. Legibility, however, is pretty decent for sure.
What is probably most noteworthy about the Arraw is that RJ took what it felt was a good core Romain Jerome design and sought to thoroughly update it as a new and modern timepiece. The Arraw has all new parts and features but is designed to look like it exists in the DNA, which RJ has made for itself. This is probably the finest Romain Jerome / RJ timepiece I’ve ever worn from the perspective of being suitable for daily wear. This isn’t just a compliment to RJ’s current team, but it’s also a message to timepiece lovers who may have experienced a cool, albeit uncomfortable, Romain Jerome watch in the past that they may want to try again.
The first thing people with Romain Jerome experience might find when putting the Arraw on their wrist is that the case shape is very similar to the older models but thinner and more comfortable on the wrist. The case is an ample 45mm-wide and about 15mm-thick with a roughly 55mm lug-to-lug distance (case is water resistant to 100 meters). These are not the dimensions of a small watch, but mind you this is smaller and more wearable than before. The only issue for me is that the lug design, by nature, means that smaller wrists will have the longer lugs jut out past their wrists a bit.
One of the new tricks the Arraw case has is the ability to easily remove the straps by pushing the two metal pushers on each side of the lugs. These used to be screws on former design, and now they are pushers to release the straps if you push them down both firmly enough. It isn’t the world’s most sophisticated strap-removal system, but it works well and the straps are pretty sure when in place. The downside is that you seem to only have the option of getting other RJ straps that have the proprietary connection system. 
The strap itself is in black rubber and features a much improved fold-over deployant clasp. A lot of former RJ watches have overly thick straps with bulky deployants that earned them few fans. This thinner rubber strap style and more compact titanium deployant was the right way to go. This is also where you see some of the Hublot influence, as Mr. Tedeschi was formerly at Hublot for a number of years.

Ironically, both Marco Tedeschi and Yvan Arpa (former Romain Jerome CEO) worked under Jean Claude Biver at Hublot. Yvan Arpa was part of the team who designed the original Hublot Big Bang, and after that, we went to RJ to design the Titanic DNA. Now Marco comes in and updates the core RJ look, bringing with him a lot of lessons he learned at Hublot — such is the wisdom of producing modular case designs so that aesthetic elements and materials can be so easily adjusted. 

Look closely at the Arraw dial, and you’ll see its high-quality materials and attractive design. The look is very Romain Jerome, but also has elements of older Porsche Design (which RJ sort of mimicked a few years ago). The style is pleasant but not as original as I might like. It also suffers from legibility issues since the skeletonized brushed hands hover over a lot of parts that are finished the same way. Designers seem utterly obsessed with skeletonized hands these days, and their arguments for them are two-fold. First they say that skeletonized hands helps with reading chronograph subdials more easily. Second, designers simply argue that skeletonized hands are more “modern.” 

Look on the back of the watch, and you’ll see a “mystery” automatic rotor which is meant to look like a spinning nautilus shell. Is this why the Arraw has a “Marine” modifier to the name? This is a fun design element but not original as we’ve seen on Blancpain watches and, of course, the Nautilus name is most closely associated with Patek Philippe. I don’t really know why RJ was going for this theme outside of wanting watch lovers to think of other models. This isn’t an issue per se, but it is a sign that RJ has yet to find its groove in terms of design originality in a few key areas (such as the rotor design).

Under the automatic rotor (not visible to the eyes) is the RJ caliber RJ2040 automatic chronograph movement. Produced for RJ by Concepto, I believe, this movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with 42 hours of power reserve. The automatic movement includes the time, 12-hour chronograph, and date window placed at 6 o’clock on the dial. The Arraw Marine box itself is a work of art and the brand even has its own Bearbrick figuring that is wearing a printed RJ watch. For people who have the disposable income to purchase a timepiece such as this, which is more about visual distinction than simple brand awareness, I think RJ is a more attractive option than ever before.

Brand New & Unworn! Complete Set!

BRAND: RJ – Romain Jerome

MODEL: Arraw Marine Titanium

MOVEMENT: Automatic – Swiss

CASE: Titanium

CROWN: Screw Down

SIZE: 45mm

LUGS: 24mm

DIAL: Blue Gradient Dial

BEZEL: Non-Rotating

CONDITION: Brand New – Unworn!

BOXES/PAPERS: Complete! – Comes everything you see in the pics


STRAP/BRACELET: – Original RJ black rubber strap with fold-over style Deployment buckle.


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