February 2, 2009 When Geneva-based Romain Jerome decided to differentiate itself from the other 600 Swiss watchmakers by creating a series of watches with "Titanic-DNA" containing steel from the Titanic, it underestimated just how successful it would be – the order backlog currently exceeds 50 million Swiss francs. When it announced it would replicate this approach to establishing authenticity, we speculated the undisclosed future "DNA of Famous Legends" series might contain inaccessible materials such as bits from the Space Shuttle, the Concorde, famous guns such as the AK-47 or perhaps famous warships.” Bingo! The second legend in the series will incorporate moon dust as well as fragments of the Apollo XI and Soyuz space shuttles and the International Space Station ISS. The Moon Dust-DNA collection will start at USD 15,000 and run to USD 500,000, predictably more expensive than the Titanic collection which runs USD 6000 to USD 430,000, and be limited to 1969 pieces, commemorating the year man set foot on the moon.
In 2007, the four-year-old Romain Jerome group sparked controversy with its "Titanic DNA" watches, made from steel and coal from the ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, with some critics saying the timepieces were in bad taste.
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The success of the Titanic-DNA series forced the second of the "DNA of Famous Legends" series to be announced sooner than even the company itself expected. "We had to launch the second collection faster than we wanted to because otherwise Romain Jerome would have become the "Titanic" brand," said Romain Jerome Chief Executive Yvan Arpa.
"We chose the space conquest," he said. "Going to the moon was the biggest adventure of human kind."
The group will make 1,969 watches -- matching the year of Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's first journey to the moon -- for the "Moon Dust-DNA" collection.
The watches' dials, which feature tiny craters, will have dust in them from the moon rock that was taken from the first visit to the Earth's satellite. Steel from the Apollo 11 space shuttle will be used for the case and the strap will be made up of fibres from a spacesuit worn during the ISS mission. Even the hands of the watches are designed to replicate Sputnik's antennas.
The first of the Moon Dust-DNA watches will be on display for the first time in March at Baselworld, the world's largest annual fair for the watch and jewelery industry.View gallery - 5 images