This year marks many anniversaries. For instance: 75 years ago, D-Day happened in Normandy, France. That turned the fate of the Second World War for the better and resulted in liberating Paris soon afterwards (have you read our D-Day related watch review of Tockr?).
In August, the rock and roll world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock Festival. It was a week of free love and great music. Lastly, something more watch related, July 21 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. We Speedy Tuesday guys know this of course, but Omega is not the only watch manufacturer that prepares for the occasion. During SIHH 2019, RJ (formerly known as Romain Jerome) introduced us to their interpretation of a Moon watch, the ARRAW 6919. Yes, another timepiece linked to the landing. And in some way, with a stronger “connection” to the event than any other brand.
As I have already mentioned in the introduction above, RJ (sadly it has nothing to do to our RJ Broer) used to bear the name Romain Jerome. Some of you may remember that 10 years ago the brand already had a moon-related model. It was the Romain Jerome Moon Dust-DNA collection, a series of watches with real Moon dust on their dial. Producing themed watches (just think of their Batman or Joker watches) has always been the forte of the company. They stayed on the same path even after the renaming. So, it is no surprise that another novelty of SIHH 2019 was their Two-Face, inspired by another Batman villain; Harvey Dent aka Two-Face. But let’s get back to ARRAW 6919. The name is pretty self-explanatory (1969-2019) but where is the special connection, I talked about above, is coming from? Well, that is the cool part of the story.
RJ got their hands on some bits and pieces that came from the actual Apollo 11 spacecraft. But where can you get such things? – you wonder. Well, at certain auctions. And this is how it fits into the watch; the bezel is the same material just like the rest of the 45mm typical RJ -style case. You can see small apertures all around the bezel surface. These cut-outs are covered by acrylic glass “windows” and underneath in a special lightweight composite material lie the Apollo 11 spacecraft pieces. Imagine it like a mosquito trapped in amber, where the amber is the composite material and the mosquito is the piece of the spacecraft.
We’ve been told that the bits and pieces from the Apollo 11 space crafts that RJ got their hands on, were put in a melting pot and mixed with other metals. From this material, they made the inside of the transparent bezel. RJ didn’t want to comment on the weight or amount of Apollo 11 material they were able to acquire, but by melting it and combining it with other materials, it was apparently enough to fill up bezels of 300 watches (see at the end of this article). I do wonder how one is guaranteed that your bezel absolutely contains material of the Apollo 11, or that the material your bezel has just missed those spots of spacecraft material. Perhaps the romance is also in the fact that you never know for sure.
The ARRAW 6919 comes in 3 case materials, black ceramic, grade 5 titanium or 5N+ 18k red gold. The display case back is the same material fixed with 6 screws. The water resistance is 100m.
With a case like that there is no way, the RJ ARRAW 6919 would have a simple dial. Yet, the features are not overflowing the watch face. We have a simple time only watch with date and moon phase indication. The aperture for the date is at 3 o’clock however as the dial is transparent the whole date wheel is visible. The moon phase indicator is not fixed as you’d see on most watches. It rotates around the dial in 29.5 days (one full Moon cycle). The brand logo plate is above the moon plate, so as the 2 plates rotate around, the RJ logo plate always stays in an upright position, while the moon plate slowly disappears under it when they reach the 6 o’clock position. Then for the second part of the cycle, the moon plate slowly appears and becomes fully visible when they reach 12 o’clock.
A spectacular case and dial deserve an equally remarkable movement. The base caliber of the ARRAW 6919 is Sellita’s SW-280. That is an automatic movement with moonphase indication, 26 jewels and 36 hours of power reserve. However, RJ modifies the SW-280 in-house to accommodate their patented 3D rotating moon phase display function. The new caliber RJ-2180 has 41 jewels now and a power reserve of 38 hours. The frequency remains the same at 28,800vph. There are no correctors on the side of the case, everything from the time to the date and the moon phase can be set through the crown. The self-winding rotor is visible through the display window on the case back. When the moon phase plate is covering the 3 o’clock position the date can be read at a secondary date-frame between the 4-5. Just add +4 as it says below the frame.
If you would like to change the strap on the RJ ARRAW 6919 you can do so by their quick-change system. Press the two buttons on the lugs simultaneously to release the strap. The polyamide strap has a rubber inlay making it water resistant and more comfortable on the wrist. All 3 versions come in a limited edition of 100 pieces each, the number of your watch is on the outside of the case back. As far as the prices go, for the ceramic version you have to pay €18,300, for the titanium the tag is at €18,900. As you’d imagine the most expensive is the gold at €31,400. We’ve seen a number of moon phase watches at SIHH 2019 but it’s safe to say that the most memorable was the RJ ARRAW 6919.
If you wish to visit RJ’s website, please click here.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more