Apr 29, 2017
For an example of the brass neck of Roger Dubuis, look no further than the tie-up between the watchmaker and Pirelli, the producer of high-performance tyres. The rubber straps on some Roger Dubuis watches shown at SIHH incorporate rubber from Pirelli tyres that Formula 1 racing cars drove on last season.
One of these watches, the Excalibur Spider Pirelli — Double Flying Tourbillon, has an even stronger connection with the tyremaker. If you are one of the eight people lucky enough to buy this watch (for about US$275,000 a pop), Pirelli will give you two days of VIP treatment at a motorsport event. The watch itself is a dazzler. It comes in a 47mm case. It is powered by a hand-wound calibre RD105SQ, and boasts two flying tourbillons in the shape of a cross. The open-work movement can be seen.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur collection has been enlarged. The skeletonised Excalibur Spider Pirelli line-up now includes an automatic. Like the Double Flying Tourbillon, it has a black case, coated in diamond-like carbon, with blue rubber accents. And the rubber strap resembles on the inside the tread of the Pirelli Cinturato tyre. Only 88 pieces will be made for sale.
The Excalibur Spider Carbon attracted a lot of attention at SIHH because of its striking appearance, red and black being the colours that stand out. The watch is named after the carbon composite used to make the case and some parts of the movement. The technique used set layers of carbon fibre in resin, then cuts the resulting material against the grain to create a banded effect. The unusual, honeycomb pattern can be seen in the movement, and creates a decorative effect on the face. This is the first carbon watch entitled to bear the Poinçon de Genève mark. Red vulcanised rubber coats the inside of the titanium case. The hand-wound, 45mm watch is fitted with the RD509SQ, complete with single flying tourbillon. It has a power reserve of 70 hours. Only 28 will go on the market.
Strong colours distinguish the Roger Dubuis Excalibur range. The Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic, with its blue and black strap and thin red line around its skeletonised face, is a fine example. The red is picked up on the crown, on the tips of the hands and on the stitching on the strap. Polished and brushed finishes contrast pleasingly. The power reserve is 60 hours. Just 88 examples will be made.
Less bold in appearance is the version of the Excalibur Spider Automatic Skeleton in titanium and pink gold. The lugs are of 18k pink gold while the bezel and back are titanium. The size is 45mm. It is powered by the RD820SQ movement. The production run is limited to 88 pieces.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt gets its name from two important innovations it incorporates: it has four balance wheels, and it is made out of an unusual material, MicroMelt. MicroMelt is made by reducing a cobalt chromium alloy to a fine powder with gas under high pressure, filtering the powder to maximum fineness, then heating it to form a hard metal, silver in colour. The advantage is that the metal resists corrosion and looks bright. However, the 48mm case of the Roger Dubuis watch made out of MicroMelt is too heavy, some critics find.
The metal is made to appear even brighter by the blue, physical vapour deposition coating on the barrel cage and on the bridge seen in the skeletonised case. The same blue accents the dial and hour markers, where it is accompanied by touches of red and white. The movement is the hand-wound RD101 Quatuor. No more than eight examples will be available.
Roger Dubuis designers make excellent use of blue, using it to highlight aspects of the movement of a watch, such as the brand’s star symbol. This wonderful blue is in evidence in the Excalibur 36 Automatic. The size is 36mm, so it is a lady’s watch. But it is a watch meant for a lady with a strong sense of style and a singular approach to accessorising.
The body is titanium, coated with black diamond-like carbon. The bezel is decorated with 48 blue sapphires. The signature blue appears on the dial. The indices are rhodium-plated and the hands are white gold. Elongated Roman numerals create an unusual, spoke-like pattern on the dial. The effect is heightened by the rhodium plating. The watch is fitted with the automatic RD830 and has a power reserve of 48 hours. Only 28 will be produced for sale.