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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Watches made from the Titanic

    (Sorry, the link's not working.)

    BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Steel and coal from the Titanic have been transformed into a new line of luxury wristwatches that claim to capture the essence of the legendary oceanliner which sank in 1912.

    Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome SA billed its "Titanic-DNA" collection as among the most exclusive pieces showcased this week at Baselworld, the watch and jewellery industry's largest annual trade fair.

    "It is very luxurious and very inaccessible," said Yvan Arpa, chief executive of the three-year-old company that hopes the limited edition watches will attract both collectors and garrulous luxury goods buyers.

    "So many rich people buy incredibly complicated watches without understanding how they work, because they want a story to tell," he said. "To them we offer a story."

    The North Atlantic wrecksite of the Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank on its first voyage from the English port of Southampton to New York, have been protected for more than a decade but many relics were taken in early diving expeditions.

    Romain Jerome said it purchased a piece of the hull weighing about 1.5 kg (3 pounds) that was retrieved in 1991, but declined to identify the seller. The metal has been certified as authentic by the Titanic's builders Harland and Wolff.

    To make the watches, which were offered for sale for the first time in Basel for between $7,800 and $173,100, the Swiss company created an alloy using the slab from the Titanic with steel being used in a Harland and Wolff replica of the vessel.

    The gold, platinum and steel time pieces have black dial faces made of lacquer paint that includes coal recovered from the debris field of the Titanic wrecksite, offered for sale by the U.S. company RMS Titanic Inc.

    Arpa said the combination of new and old materials infused the watches with a sense of renewal, instead of representing a reminder of the 1,500 passengers who drowned when the oceanliner met her tragic end off the coast of Newfoundland.

    "It is a message of hope, of life stronger than death, of rebirth," he said in an interview in Romain Jerome's exposition booth in Basel, where more than 2,100 exhibitors are flaunting their latest wares amid a boom for the luxury goods sector.

    The company will make 2,012 watches to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Titanic's sinking in 2012.

    Arpa said the young watchmaker would unveil a new series next year commemorating another famous legend, but declined to offer clues of what is to come.

    "For a new brand, you have to find something different to be interesting," he said. Asked if the next collection would be based on Scotland's legendary Loch Ness monster, he smiled and said: "Ooh. Have you found it?"
    I'm biased, I had family go down on the Titanic; so i don't find this in good taste. It doesn't matter that the watchmaker feels it's life coming from whatever, that sounds like cashing in on a tragic moment in mine and other people's family history. And also that someone's opened up a mass grave, a la "let's open up a plague pit and make something of the clothing we find".

    What do you lot think?
    Last edited by Stuart Wallis; 14th Apr 2007 at 4:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Downstairs by the PC


    Coincidentally I noticed on the BBC newspage this morning that they're making the full passenger lists for the Titanic available online for the first time.

    Personally, I also feel uncomfortable about this. For a long time now, since its resting place was discovered obviously, the Titanic seems to have been treated as a bit of an 'attraction' with various documentaries exploring the wreck, etc. But it is still, effectively, a mass grave, and I don't feel that happy with it being plundered. I think I'm right in saying that there's still one or two people alive who were on it (as very young children, obviously) so it's still in that sense, within living memory - and certainly it's recent enough for people to be alive who had relatives on it.

  3. #3
    Captain Tancredi Guest


    I'm not sure- I seem to recall hearing something about them calling a halt to further exploration of the wreck not out of respect to the dead, but because after 95 years in salt water, there's a very real risk that it'll start to break up soon. The luxury watch market is quite frankly absurd when you think about it- you don't need to spend more that 10 on a watch which will tell you the time as and when you need it to- but I think it does ask a couple of questions about the way we consider the dead. After 95 years, there's unlikely to be anything physically left of the fatalities apart from any metal or jewellery they may have had about them, and it can't be long before corrosion begins to take a serious effect on the body of the ship. In another hundred years, there may literally be nothing there to mark the spot.

    Titanic memorabilia fetches fantastic amounts of money, though, regardless of whether this goes ahead or not. There are quite a few postcards in circulation which were written out by the passengers on their first night and posted when it called in Ireland, and which are obviously very collectable because they were posted on board ship.

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