RE­MEM­BER­ING ROGER DUBUIS

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Time - By CE­LINE YAP

Roger Dubuis was the kind of watch­maker who val­ued tra­di­tion, but he was not afraid to be avant- garde. He founded Roger Dubuis SA in 1995 with an as­so­ciate named Car­los Dias af­ter spend­ing 14 years de­vel­op­ing com­pli­cated time­pieces at Patek Philippe, with the am­bi­tion to make the most creative time­pieces any­one would ever see.

His early works in­cluded the Sym­pa­thie and Hom­mage lines that com­bined tech­ni­cal in­ge­nu­ity with de­sign au­dac­ity. Where Sym­pa­thie was un­ques­tion­ably creative, Hom­mage was flaw­lessly tra­di­tional. All of his time­pieces meet the rig­or­ous stan­dards of the Geneva Seal, prov­ing that what is tra­di­tional and what is avant-garde can co-ex­ist in har­mony.

I have met Mr Dubuis sev­eral times be­tween 2008 and 2015, mostly in Geneva and once in Sin­ga­pore.

He spoke lit­tle to no English, so com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween us con­sisted of a lot of smil­ing and ges­tic­u­lat­ing. With my rudi­men­tary com­mand of French, it was im­pos­si­ble to talk about any­thing other than the weather and food. He al­ways had a kindly dis­po­si­tion, the type that puts you at ease, and he was never ar­ro­gant. On a visit to the Roger Dubuis man­u­fac­ture, Mr Dubuis sat me and a small group of jour­nal­ists down for a move­ment fin­ish­ing work­shop. We were each given a tour­bil­lon car­riage that needed to be pol­ished and cham­fered. I gave it my all and proudly pre­sented the fin­ished prod­uct (pun in­tended) to him. He re­moved his glasses to ex­am­ine the piece up close – old age did not spare those eyes.

Then he turned to me, smiled his kindly old smile and shook his head po­litely. He also pa­tiently showed me where the im­per­fec­tions were. At that point I knew I could never be­come a watch­maker. But more im­por­tantly, Mr Dubuis and I shared a spe­cial mo­ment be­tween teacher and stu­dent (for a day) that money can­not buy.

Roger Dubuis passed away on 14 Oc­to­ber at the age of 79. A con­sum­mate crafts­man and one of Swiss watch­mak­ing’s last great masters, he will most cer­tainly be missed. www.roger­dubuis.com ≠

He al­ways had a kindly dis­po­si­tion and he was never ar­ro­gant.

Hom­mage Milles­ime 2. Fac­ing page: Roger Dubuis’ in­no­va­tive watch de­signs at­tracted celebri­ties like Sylvester Stal­lone and Ger­ard But­ler.

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