The 2015 Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro GMT 1/2 Hour is basically the same TNT Royal Retro RB that we have seen many times before, but with a new complication that makes it not only fancy looking but also useful for frequent travelers.
If you are reading this article, you a probably searching for a GMT-capable timekeeper with a nice twist to it. If your idea of a twist includes a dial that has more indicators than a WWII-era strategic bomber cockpit with styling influenced by what one may call a ‘hi-tech baroque’ then your search is probably over. Congratulations.
If you compare the two, you will immediately notice that, besides some minor differences here and there, the new watch has the date window moved from 6 o’clock to a new position at 12 hours with its former position taken by a GMT indicator with a two-hand display. Easy to read and able to adjust your second time zone reading in half-hour increments, which is a handy feature if you plan to visit exotic time zones with 30 minute offset (but you would still be 15 minutes off in countries like Nepal, mind you), the indicator also makes a nice decorative element.
All in all, even despite its deliberately intense styling, the watch makes a great impression. If you are into this kind of thing when it comes to accessories, you probably won’t be disappointed. But hurry up, the total production run is limited to just 201 pieces (don’t ask me why).
Case & Strap
Although measuring 47.5 millimeters in diameter (its size is actually identical to that of the aforementioned TNT Royal Retro RB model), the case actually doesn’t look too large. Also, crafted from lightweight titanium alloy, the watch won’t feel too heavy even if you don’t spend a lot of your spare time in a gym.
Thanks to its finish with lots of big and small parts screwed together in order to form a well-designed accessory, this heroically proportioned timekeeper looks organic: you somehow expect it to be large. If it was any smaller, it would probably still be okay, but, something tells me, there would be a sense of tension about it. It would look like a compressed spring ready to explode. Frankly, I wouldn’t feel safe if the gadget was of a more traditional size of 42 millimeters or so.
Still, you have to bear in mind that, in order to support that image of ruggedness, Pierre DeRoche has equipped the watch with rather large and massive lugs that may make wearing it a bit troublesome in case your wrists happen to be narrower than average ones.
The strap is, too, well thought-over with its bright blue double stitching over black alligator leather matching color accents on the dial (see below.)
Pierre DeRoche PR representative failed to respond to my question regarding what movement exactly they used to power this new timepiece. However, I know that it sports an “exclusive” complication module made by Dubois Depraz, a go-to brand when you want to make a watch with a fancy complication that neither ETA nor Sellita cares to get busy with. The mechanism reportedly has 48 jewels (some of which are visible on the dial serving as a sort of decor), so, you see, it is a fairly complicated job that will probably be difficult to repair if something goes wrong. If you live far away from civilization, you should probably take this fact into consideration before ordering this watch.
UPDATE: I’ve finally received a reply to my email. According to Pierre DeRoche, the movement is a 100 percent “in-house development” made by Dubois Depraz. The list price for this year is CHF 21,000 sans VAT.
The intricate dial is, of course, the centerpiece of the whole collection. Paraphrasing The Dude, it ties the watch together.
While it only has the usual for GMT-capable timekeeper indicators (i.e. the hours, minutes, seconds, date, and, well, the second time zone,) it looks very complex thanks to its four retrograde seconds hands (the original had six of them heat-blued, red-pointed little guys). Featuring the collection’s signature gear-driven mechanism with a strip-spring return, the hands make the dial look lovely each counting their share of seconds and then passing the torch to the next one in a clockwise fashion.
Perhaps, the only problem with this modified display is that, although being reduced from six to four, the indicators still count precisely ten seconds each. This somewhat spoils the whole concept of a constant flow of time since for the whole twenty uneasy seconds there will be no motion on display. At all.
As always, the skeletonized dial is not terrific in terms of legibility, but it still gets the jobs done with its broadsword-shaped hour and minute hands wide and contrast thanks to the chosen blue-and-white color scheme. The minute hand is wide enough to obstruct the small calendar aperture at 12 o’clock from time to time, but the probability that you will want to check the current date at this very movement is not that great. Looking from an even more positive perspective, it will also give you a rare opportunity to play Kyle Reese. If your performance is convincing enough, you can even give an innocent fellow citizen a heart attack, isn’t that great?
Photos: Pierre DeRoche
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Pierre DeRoche TNT Royal Retro GMT 1/2 Hour (TNT10005ACTI0-005CR) specification
Price: CHF 21,000 (VAT not included)
Movement: Automatic, exclusive Dubois Depraz complication, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 48
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Engraved oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, retrograde seconds, date, GMT
Case, Bezel, and Crown: Black PVD-coated titanium
Size: 47.50 mm
Numerals: Arabic and Roman, stylized
Hour markers: Black and Red
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Alligator leather strap with safety folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective