STYLE AND SUBSTANCE
An antidote to conservatism in the watch industry, Roger Dubuis offers an unapologetically bold collection of timepieces, writes Selina Denman
Envisaged as an antidote to conservatism, Roger Dubuis watches are unapologetically bold
Unashamedly bold, provocative and polarising, Roger Dubuis watches are not for everyone. But they are not meant to be. Launched in 1995, Roger Dubuis is a young, disruptive brand that exists as an antidote to conservatism in the watch industry. And with its signature Excalibur range, it offers an open challenge to its customers: dare to be rare.
While its designs may be audacious, they also push technical boundaries – the brand’s many innovative movements are all produced in-house. “We do not submit to rigid constraints in our approach to design, in terms of materials, shape, colours or even components – we have an unconventional approach to watchmaking,” explains Jean-Sebastien Berland, Roger Dubuis’s regional brand director for the Middle East, India and Africa.
“The annual unveiling of world premieres represents the almost organic result of the manufacture’s ongoing investment in research and development. However, our quest for excellence drove us to get the Hallmark of Geneva, a traditional and exclusive stamp of highwatchmaking,” he adds.
Take, for example, the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt Micromelt, which contains the hand-wound 590-part RD101 Quatuor movement, with four sprung balances that work together to instantly adjust the effects of gravity – something that would take a tourbillon one minute to achieve. “Roger Dubuis is still the only maison to be able to master such a complicated calibre,” Berland points out.
This is also the first watch in the world to feature a case constructed entirely out of cobalt chrome, which has been produced using the trademarked Micro-Melt technology. More commonly used in the aeronautics and astronomy industries, this process involves melting and atomising the alloy into a fine powder, by introducing the molten metal to a highpressure stream of gas. The end result is 100 per cent biocompatible, completely corrosion-resistant and extremely durable.
Another world first: the Excalibur Spider Pirelli, which has a rubber strap crafted from the tires of winning Formula One cars, with an underside that bears the tread pattern of a Pirelli Cinturato tyre. The watch comes as an automatic skeleton, and a single and double flying tourbillon – the latter is produced in a limited edition of eight and offers the perfect combination of ruggedness and reliability.
A sturdy, 47-millimetre, black DLC titanium skeleton case features vulcanised blue or red rubber accents, which highlight a titanium crown. The flying tourbillons at 5 and 7 o’clock are rimmed by speedometer-like seconds counters, complete with automobile-inspired pointers. But, perhaps best of all, every watch comes with a “money-can’t-buy highadrenaline experience: a two-day VIP programme organised by Pirelli at a motorsport event”.
This is an acknowledgement from both parties that today’s luxury consumer demands exclusive services and one-off experiences as well as premium products. As the sole supplier of tyres to the world’s biggest motorsports competitions, with access to all of the most prestigious teams and drivers, Pirelli is well placed to offer such experiences.
Roger Dubuis is forging increasingly strong ties with the world of motorsports, building on obvious shared values. “There is an irresistible mutual attraction,” claims Berland. They are talking to the same customers, exist within the same price bracket without being in direct competition, and are driven by the same adrenaline-fuelled ethos of disruptive design and engineering excellence.
In addition to its tie-up with Pirelli, Roger Dubuis has entered into a partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, which has made the watch brand one of the main sponsors of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, an international, Lamborghini-only racing series that made its Middle East debut last year.
Joined by a shared “determination to place technique in the service of beauty”, the companies launched the partnership by unveiling the Excalibur Aventador S,