The stunning meteorite dial that adorns Romain Gauthier’s HMS Steel comes from the Henbury meteorite that was discovered in 1931 at the Henbury crater field in Australia and according to the company, the other known sample of the meteorite presently resides in the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, making it a very rare material indeed. The intersecting bands on its face are nickel-iron crystal, which gave Gauthier the idea of pairing it with a likewise ferrous material, hence the decision to case the watch in stainless steel, the company’s first use of this material in a series watch.
To make the dial, triple-axis machining and electrical discharge is used to create a disc 33mm in diameter and 0.8mm thick; an anti-corrosion treatment is then applied to seal its appearance over time. Says Gauthier, “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.”
HMS stands for hours, minutes and seconds, arranged on the dial for optimal legibility, with hours and minutes offset, and small seconds at ‘5’. The hands are blackened steel, and the applique hour markers are of white gold, filled with Super-LumiNova to stand out from the slate grey of the dial.
Driving the Prestige HMS Steel is the hand-finished, in-house Calibre 2206 HMS with 60 hours of power reserve, visible through the display caseback. The most striking element from the back view is the large-diameter gear that sits flush against the caseback – this is for winding/setting, and replaces the crown that sits on the caseband in a conventional watch.
This unique configuration not only makes for a sleeker, more ergonomic timepiece, according to Romain Gauthier, it also increases winding efficiency as unlike with a traditional crown, the winding force is not transmitted through 90° but directly. Together with its large diameter, winding the watch promises to be an effortless affair, even while on the wrist.
The movement itself is also not short on distinctive touches: S-slot screw heads that permit more torque to be applied during movement assembly, balance wheel with curved arms, gearwheels with circular spokes and black NAC-treated bridges against a hand-frosted mainplate.
In 43mm steel case, the Prestige HMS Stainless Steel is available in a limited edition of 10 pieces.