Tuesday 8 May 2007


Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on…

Ok, I'll pause a moment to give you time to dry your eyes and blow your noses...

Now, I know I’m in a minority of -1, but I really wasn’t that keen on James Cameron’s Titanic - partly because I guessed the ending (groan!) but also because I knew - from books I'd read and another, far finer, film, A Night to Remember - that many compelling stories of real life heroisms and partings from that tragic night on 14 April, 1912, were carelessly tossed overboard in favour of the histrionic flim-flam of Jack and Rose’s syrupy version of Romeo and Juliet with ice.

However, even Cameron’s inane fantasies pale into insignificance compared with the Titanic grave-robbery currently being perpetrated by Swiss watch-designer Romain Jerome.

I could write at some length about the gross tastelessness of the luxury trinkets being trafficked by Mr Jerome, but I'll let his own press release do the work for me…

The "Titanic-DNA": a high-end watch
integrating real steel from the Titanic

The "Titanic-DNA" watch contains authentic parts of the Titanic ocean liner drawn from the ocean floor. It brings together material and spirit. Or perhaps one should say soul.
This watch is part of the new "DNA of Famous Legends" collection that Romain Jerome presents as a world premier. New materials, precious metals, complications - one finds all of these as well in the "Titanic-DNA".

However, the watch’s real exclusivity is to be found in the direct relationship between a truly unique timepiece and one of the most extraordinary achievements created by man…the legendary Titanic ocean liner that disappeared in 1912.
Here’s where spirit becomes material. This new concept goes far beyond the creation of a great luxury watch with a prestigious movement and noble materials; it is breathing a soul into the object.

The result is astonishing. The object lives. It is a work of art. The Belle-Époque resurfaces on the wrist of a few privileged people who understood they have offered themselves much more than just a fine watch.

The rusted steel is created by an extraordinary fusion carried out at the Harland&Wolff shipyards in Belfast, where the Titanic was constructed. This fusion brings together the authentic steel of the shipwreck, which was resting on the ocean floor at a depth of 3,840 meters, and that of the memorial project that will see the light of day in Belfast in 2012. This is how the DNA is captured; a myth is reborn.

The hands are inspired by the anchor of the Titanic and turn on a dial of deep black; a colour obtained from the coal collected in the legendary shipwreck. The small second hand at 9 o’clock recalls the meters of the ship’s steam engines.
Each version contains a La Joux-Perret movement and is limited to 2,012 pieces; a number referring to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The "Titanic-DNA" is available in a watchcase of platinum or gold with elements of titanium, ceramic, composite materials or rusted steel made according to the process explained above.

The Titanic, a masterpiece of its time.
The "Titanic-DNA", a masterpiece of our time.

One can but wonder what future models will grace Romaine Jerome’s "DNA of Famous Legends" line in watches... Timepieces decorated with sequins from Elvis’ last suit? Or wreckage from James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder? Or even, perhaps, bits of bodywork from that black Mercedes 280S that crashed in the Pont d'Alma underpass?

All are possible, I would guess, although the "Twin Towers - DNA" watch must surely be the next luxury item for Mr Jerome's catalogue which would, naturally, be made of twisted steel and rubble dust from Ground Zero and would feature an alarm simulating the sound of a plane exploding which could be set to impact every day at precisely 09:11...


Boll Weavil said...

Perhaps we can all agree that the watch is tasteless and move onto the far bolder assertion that 'A Night to Remember' is a far finer version.Perhaps its just the one you grew up with but,leaving aside the love story element of the later one (which I thought was irrelevant in the face of so much other human tragedy)the portrayal of the sinking was far superior and factually correct. NTR was, afterall, based on Lightoller's account and just a teensy, weensy bit biased not to mention incredibly hammy and twee.Cameron at least portrayed it more like it probably would have been, warts and all, and the acting from the supporting cast was superb.If someone had stood up to Cameron and told him he wasn't good enough to write the script himself, it wouldn't even be up for discussion but the research was meticulous - it had to be to keep anoraks like me at bay with the detail.I'm afraid the portrayal of the sinking gets the nod for me over a couple of rousing choruses of 'Nearer My God' and Moore dusting himself down on an upturned boat in stiff-upper lip fashion.

Phil said...

Night to Remember had far better dialogue. Who can forget the classic line, "My pig! I must have my lucky pig!"

(I should put a question mark in there somewhere, but I can't figure out where best to place it.)

Anonymous said...

Well I liked the James Cameron version. But I have to say I am quite disgusted at the "grave-robbing" aspect of this ridiculous watch.
Call me trivial if you will, but in the description of this "momentous time-piece" (my tongue is stuck firmly in my cheek as I say this), the colour of the face is described as "deep black". Can anybody tell me what "light black" is? How many shades of black are there? For heavens' sake!!!

Brian Sibley said...

BOLL WEAVIL & PHIL - Come on, guys, you can't expect me to fight the entire 'Titanic' fan-base single-handed!!

I'll just say that, whilst the authenticity of the events in general may have been spot-on and the sfx a zillion times better than in 'NTR', the central love story (which was what the film was ABOUT and how it was MARKETED) was rubbish with the star-crossed lovers encumbered with ludicrous plot devices (Jack handcuffed to the wall in the rapidly filling hold and, of course, the wretched Necklace) and surrounded by caricatured characters (Billy Zane in his improbably wig and the otherwise lovely David Warner playing a cartoon villain); so I bow to the film's technical genius - which, in its day, was unquestionably ground-breaking (if one can say that of a waterlogged movie!) - but reinterate that I found the love-story between Jack and Rose nothing more than a tawdry piece of sentimentality that actually cheapened the genuine loss of lives and loves on the REAL Titanic... IMHO... Well not so 'humble', I guess!! ;-)

SUZANNE - Yes, grave-robbery is precisely what it is and anyone who buys one of these items of expensive tastelessness (price is, as they say, on application) should be very ashamed of themselves.

i-chronic said...

Actually, according to some of the more recent research, even Mr Cameron got the sinking wrong, correct for it's time but not so now.
Loathed the film but one scene has stuck and it's when the life boats go back to find survivors. Horrific.
Speaking of horrific, watches made from the Titanic. I thought it was a respected grave for heavens sake?

Brian Sibley said...

WELLINGTON (ELVEN) BEAR - Welcome to my blog! I wear a scarf that matches your cloak! And Buttons is insanely jealous!

(Everyone Else: This only makes sense if you visit W(E)B's blogspot...)

It's a bit late to warn you, but Boll Weavil knows EVERYTHING there is to know about the Titanic (the ship, that is; although he's pretty hot on the movie, too!) so you may just be opening a can of worms here...

As for the ship's remains being a designated grave-site: I, too, thought that was the case and am not sure how Mr Jerome was allowed to buy a chunk for his odious watch-making business...

Anne said...

I hated the movie, hate the watch even more. That's just creepy.

Boll Weavil said...

I certainly wouldn't claim to know everything (or even a lot) about the Titanic because there are so many out there that do. I can maybe answer a couple of questions. The theory that came up recently that clashed with Camerons does (as previous theories did) ignore the testimonies of the survivors who saw the ship break in half before it sank. Previously this was because Lightoller's word as an officer was considered more important than others of the lower classes. Nowadays a new theory just means another documentary and the idea represented by Cameron (although not developed by him of course) is still the one that (I'm sorry I have to say this) holds the most water.
Re the raising of bits of the wreck, it was always the view of Robert Ballard that the wreck should be considered a grave however others did not agree and rights of salvage have been granted to a company that has subsequently removed certain loose sections and individual items from the seabed in the 'debris field'.Upto now, they have stopped short of taking anything from the ship itself although others certainly have done, illegally.
Re the film debate, the limitations you have highlighted spring from the directors 'big film' mentality and are certainly weaknesses and I accept, as he did, that the film of the sinking per se, had already been done with ANTR and he needed a new angle. Given that, the last hour, showing the ship going down and the reactions of those onboard, still remains for me an outstanding piece of work - for the special effects certainly but just for the ideas, the camera angles,the grim reality so well portrayed and the debunking of years of cinematic cliches that ANTR revels in.

Boris Hiestand said...

the way the watch ad is written makes me feel that they are trying to fool their greedy customers and that there aren't actually any pieces of the Titanic in there.
Terms like 'inspired by' appear too often. It's quite clever though. Plenty of idiots I'm sure who would love to get their filthy mitts on one of these bad boys.

I put myself down for 4 already. And at $2012,- each, it's a steal!

Anonymous said...

I thought the film really dragged.

And those watches - yuck. But there will be people in the world with too much money and not enough taste who'll think it's a really good idea, and very classy. I'm thinking Peter Andre and his missus.