Arcade Attractions

  • James D. Malcolmson

While there is nothing unusual about a watch company CEO creating special-edition timepieces based on a personal passion, the idea came as a complete surprise to the executives of the Taito and Namco Bandai Games corporations. These companies are the respective producers of the early 1980s classic Space Invaders and Pac-Man video games, two longtime obsessions of Manuel Emch, CEO of Geneva-based Romain Jerome. Emch, one of the youngest CEOs in the watch industry, is said to still own an Atari console, and he thought video games were an ideal cultural touchstone to appeal to collectors his own age. Both game makers had a long history of product licensing but never had considered the idea of a luxury product. Romain Jerome’s latest Pac-Man watch ($16,900) uses a complex, three-layer dial treatment with colored lacquer and straight graining to produce a pixelation effect—and a feeling of nostalgia among certain collectors who remember how they spent their hard-earned quarters.

Romain Jerome, +41.22.319.2939, www.romainjerome.ch

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