The Race for the Dots

The Romain Jerome PAC-MAN Level III

What’s yellow, is chased by different colored ghosts, eats dots, and can get power-ups by eating fruit? If you answered ‘PAC-MAN’ within seconds, you’d be right, and likely a child of the ‘80s or an arcade game aficionado.

Namco first introduced the game in 1980 in Japan and then US, and it was an instant hit. Something about that little yellow guy making his way through different mazes was both mesmerizing and exciting. The name PAC-MAN is based on the Japanese term for munching, paku-paku. That wacka-wacka sound as he made his way through the maze was hypnotic.

Romain Jerome has collaborated with Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. once again in the spirit of PAC-MAN.  This third watch is, expectedly, called Level III and executes a new style in the tribute line. The playful spirit is still there, of course – after all, it’s a watch based on an arcade game.

The black dial is a departure from previous watch models, as this time it has a mirror-polished finish. The polished titanium bezel provides the outer border to maze that is the dial. The dial features PAC-MAN making his way through the maze. He’s part way through his challenge, as there are dots missing and cherries are visible. And the ghosts are all there too – Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde. Yes, they have their own names and personalities, or game styles. The walls of the maze are made of blue aluminium, polished in top and sanded on the edges. The 3D effect is heightened by the addition of black lacquer.

PAC-MAN, the ghosts, and the cherries come to life through pixelated appliques, each one carefully filled by hand with lacquer of different colors. The figures are so realistic, I expect them to start moving at any second. And the placement of the ghosts is quite fun too. Why say ‘2 o’clock’ when you can say, ‘it’s Clyde time’ instead. Clyde, the orange ghost, is at the 2 o’clock. The Romain Jerome logo is discreet – sanded in black at the 12 o’clock.

The case back gives you something to smile at as well. The medallion of our favorite character in bright yellow is prominent, and the stellar pattern surrounding him continues onto the strap. The 46mm titanium case has automatic rewinding movement. The four articulated lugs secure the dial to the blue rubber strap. The combination is reminiscent of the arcade game.

The Romain Jerome PAC-MAN Level III watch is a watch suitable for many people. The young at heart would love it, and it would serve as good reminder to those who take life too seriously that there are things in life that can still make them smile. The watch will be available in June this year, in a limited series of 80, a nod to the original release year of the famous Japanese arcade game. Wacka-wacka!