Dominique Renaud and Julien Tixier reimagine the micro-rotor as the first creation of their new brand – the Renaud Tixier Monday Dominique Renaud and Julien Tixier reimagine the micro-rotor as the first creation of their new brand – the Renaud Tixier Monday

Dominique Renaud and Julien Tixier reimagine the micro-rotor as the first creation of their new brand – the Renaud Tixier Monday

Borna Bošnjak
  • The partnership between the two watchmakers is made official with the first release of their new brand, the first in a series of seven that revisit fundamental watchmaking principles.
  • An all-new movement was developed, inspired by perfecting the energy-harnessing capabilities of the micro-rotor.
  • Not just technically impressive, the wonderful finishing and unique structure extends from the movement to the 40.8mm gold cases.

Just last week, I made the comment that seeing the genesis of a new, independent brand is a rare sight. In a bid to prove me wrong, Dominique Renaud and Julien Tixier joined to launch their very own eponymous brand, and its very first model, appropriately named Monday. Along with six other basic watchmaking principles, the Monday is the first Renaud Tixier will look to revisit, starting with energy generation. If you’re already familiar with these two names, you’ll understand all the inherent excitement, but for everyone else – a bit of background. Dominique Renaud is undoubtedly the more established name, being one of the two founders behind Renaud & Papi, the complications house that supplied many of the world’s greatest manufacturers, including IWC’s minute repeater modules for perpetual calendars and facilitating Lange’s rebirth. Though none of his “start-ups” have yet been bought out by Audemars Piguet, Julien Tixier is an exciting young name in the watchmaking scene. If you’ve read any of my past listicles mentioning complicated watches, it’s likely his (and Renaud’s) work would have been featured, be it the Tempus Fugit or Furlan Marri’s Secular Perpetual Calendar. It is those two very watches that sparked the idea of a more official collaboration, and thus, Renaud Tixier was born.

renaud tixier monday caseback movement

There’s no better place to start than the RTVI2023 movement. Micro-rotors are rare enough as it is, and even when brands choose to use them for the benefits of a slimmer movement, they still experience pitfalls that movements with full-size rotors aren’t so concerned about. The primary issue is one of energy generation, as micro-rotors are most efficient when experiencing large movements, and don’t harness much energy when you’re just reaching for your coffee or adjusting your glasses. To combat this, Renaud sought to utilise the very centre of the rotor, equipping it with a spring that translates even the smallest movements to the central propeller nicknamed “the dancer”.  What’s even more impressive is that this central propeller also serves as a shock absorbing device. When experiencing a shock that could damage the movement, a protrusion actuates a “hanger” that disengages from the flywheel, reconnecting once the excess energy is released.

renaud tixier monday assembly

Just to make this all work, then. Julien Tixier worked with Alexandre Bugnon and Sébastien Rousseau to make Renaud’s idea a reality, going from a large-scale model back down to micromechanics. The model proved Renaud’s point, with expectations of the prototype watch to increase micro-rotor efficiency even more, though that’s only brought the team to another hurdle. There’s currently no tool that can calculate this efficiency, so it’s difficult to actually quantify it.

renaud tixier monday dial

Looking at the watch front-on, however, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just another simple two-hander. The only odd thing about is the positioning of the small seconds counter at 4 o’clock, though that won’t alarm any enthusiasts at first glance. The case is 40.8mm x 11mm in either rose or white gold, and save for a distinct frosted section down the flanks, is quite restrained, too. I’ve got to admit, I am a little surprised that Renaud Tixier went with such a sterile look. Granted, the “dancer” will certainly play a part in animating the dial through the aperture at 9 o’clock, but in a world where standing out from the crowd is more difficult than ever, I can’t help but think the design is too simple.

renaud tixier monday dial close up

Again, this is just highly subjective blathering – an actual look at the renders reveals highly detailed finishing of every single element, which will no doubt be proven by the live shots that I eagerly anticipate. It’s another reason why I haven’t spoken too much about the finishing on the movement itself, but seeing Tixier’s previous work, I’m not really concerned about it not being up-to-par.

renaud tixier monday case profile caseback movement

As far as movement aesthetics go, then, I’m really fond of the flowing bridges of the micro-rotor and wheel train connecting it to the barrel, as well as their bevelling. You can almost follow the flow of energy as it goes around the movement, starting from the micro-rotor, going anti-clockwise to the barrel, and back down to the palladium balance wheel. There’s some striping on wide bridge holding the ratchet, but the thin, rounded and black-polished bridge sitting below shouldn’t be ignored, either. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the blue decoration on the ratchet wheel, dominating the caseback.

Renaud Tixier Monday pricing and availability

The Renaud Tixier Monday is now available for orders. Price: CHF 79,000

Brand Renaud Tixier
Model Monday
Case Dimensions 40.8mm (D) x 11mm (T)
Case Material 5N+ rose gold or white gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and back
Dial Sunburst or grained slate grey
Bracelet Calfskin or alligator leather, 5N+ case-matching gold pin buckle
Movement RTVI2023, in-house, micro-rotor automatic
Power Reserve 60 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds
Availability Now
Price CHF 79,000