Al­varo Mag­gini, Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Roger Dubuis

Revolution (Hong Kong) - - SIHH 2017 -

Al­varo Mag­gini is a re­cent ac­quain­tance, even though he has been with Roger Dubuis for six years. Our paths crossed a few months ago in Shang­hai, at Roger Dubuis’ pre-SIHH pre­sen­ta­tion, and we made plans to meet again in the mael­strom of SIHH it­self. It must be said that the Roger Dubuis booth is an attraction in it­self at each SIHH, as it’s more akin to an art in­stal­la­tion, largely due to Mag­gini’s ef­forts. This year, dis­rup­tion was the key word, as the booth seemed split in two with a glow­ing fault line go­ing through the mid­dle. Mag­gini ex­plains, “the fault, we cre­ated it with this con­cept to say that a black hole, or trans­parency, it’s a bit like our [watch] move­ments, it’s in­fin­ity through our watches, it’s never end­ing. It’s to take risks, sym­bol­i­cally; can I get to the other side? Am I able to cross over? I wanted to make some places where you al­most had to walk on the fault, oth­ers where you’d have to jump, or just step over it. It’s like break­ing ev­ery­thing in or­der to re­pro­duce it.”

When asked whether it’s a rup­ture be­tween the past and the fu­ture, and whether it rep­re­sents a new di­rec­tion for Roger Dubuis: “It is in­deed a rup­ture, but we can’t say it’s be­tween past and fu­ture, even if we’ve de­cided that this year, it’s Ex­cal­ibur, next year, it’s Ex­cal­ibur, and in two years, it’s Ex­cal­ibur. Fun­da­men­tally though, what you’re say­ing is true, be­cause we’ve de­cided to fo­cus much more on a sin­gle prod­uct, on the Ex­cal­ibur fam­ily. It’s not that we’ll stop the Vel­vet, that we’re not do­ing women’s watches – they rep­re­sent 30% of the busi­ness – but the strat­egy of the mai­son is to cre­ate an iconic prod­uct, just as other watch­mak­ing brands have done. And that’s Ex­cal­ibur.”

Not all the watch brands are so forth­com­ing with their cre­ative di­rec­tors, so I’m cu­ri­ous to know how he gets his in­spi­ra­tion, and how much the clients’ re­quests in­flu­ence him: “What I’m go­ing to say is very ego­tis­ti­cal, but I’ll take re­spon­si­bil­ity; if you do things for the clients, there will be too many as­pects that aren’t linked or link­able to the prod­uct be­cause ev­ery­one has ideas, and ev­ery­one has an opin­ion. We’re quite ego­tis­ti­cal in de­sign, we have to do things that we like.”

There is lit­tle doubt that Roger Dubuis is making great strides for­ward with Mag­gini’s cre­ativ­ity. Although dis­rup­tion is a theme for this year, there are strong clues that it’s a phase only, and that there is a clear long term vi­sion in his mind, “This year it’s dis­rup­tive ma­te­ri­als, pro­gres­sive com­pli­ca­tions. We al­ready know what we’ll do for next year, which will be dy­namic in any case, but it won’t say the same thing, we’ll be a lot more fo­cused.”

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