Since its creation in 1995, Roger Dubuis has continuously sought to conquer the pinnacles of watchmaking, focused on an exponential development of horological design. It’s one of a handful of maisons that has its watches certified with the Geneva Seal, and its mastery of tourbillons and precision timekeeping has only grown since the brand’s founding by Mr Roger Dubuis himself. As CEO Nicola Andreatta tells us, “Roger Dubuis believes in living larger than life. Hyper horology, adrenaline and determination to break existing codes have always been part of our DNA.”
Roger Dubuis’ explorations in audacious watchmaking evolved into flying tourbillon and double flying tourbillon models, and innovative models using avant-garde materials in their watches and movements to further strengthen the graphic creativity of the brand.
The brand’s affinity for tourbillons led it to develop more complex designs such as the 2013 Quatuor, a unique quadruple-escapement system in two pairs, at 90 degrees from each other, and connected with a differential to average out any timekeeping differences. The radical movement took seven long years to develop, demonstrating the brand’s bold moves and commitment to crafting new concepts in watchmaking.
Along with its development of super complications such as the double tourbillon movement and the Quatuor, Roger Dubuis began to develop intimate, personalised experiences for customers of its haute horlogerie pieces. These exclusive discoveries were meant to be as mind-blowing and exciting as its rarefied watch designs. When the brand released the Quatuor, the watch was offered in a special three-piece limited edition encased in silicon, the first-ever use of the material on a watch exterior along with a private visit to the brand’s manufacture in Geneva, including plane tickets, helicopter transportation and all-around indulgence on the trip.
The next big step that Roger Dubuis has taken is an exploration into unorthodox ways of working with special or unexpected materials, from silicon to cobalt. The Excalibur CarTech MicroMelt BioDur CCMTM was crafted with a highly durable, bio-compatible alloy made using a technology called Micro-Melt, and released in 2017 to great acclaim.
Roger Dubuis meets Pirelli, meets Lamborghini
In that same year, the brand embarked on a plan to connect with other leaders in high-performance luxury fields, for long-term collaborations. One such partner is Pirelli, with which the brand shares an affinity for high performance, extreme precision and a dedication to research and design.
This summer, the brand once again welcomes new additions to the Pirelli collection. The new Pirelli Spider double flying tourbillon sees several changes to the watch from its existing design. The eight-piece limited-edition watch has a strap made from the winning tyres of a previous race. On the strap itself, the words “Pirelli Competition” are moulded in a curved print, exactly the same as that seen on Pirelli’s tyres. One half of the watch, from clasp to strap end, is decked out in Pirelli yellow, along with details on the flange, bridges and logo, creating the illusion of the tyre’s outer and inner circumference. On the underside of the strap, the pattern of Pirelli’s 2018 F1 CinturatoTM Intermedio tyres are moulded and coloured in the same vivid yellow.
The brand’s partnership with Pirelli allowed it to take its first steps into the world of high automotive sports. Simultaneously, it was in talks with another rarefied name in the business: Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Roger Dubuis’ debut project with Pirelli provided an innovative spin on watchmaking with a tyre maker that was just the kind of collaborative spirit that the Lamborghini Squadra Corse team was searching for.
The Italian carmaker and Swiss watchmaker agreed to partner up and develop timepieces, starting with the Excalibur Aventador S in September 2017. At SIHH this year, with the announcement of the updated Huracán model by Lamborghini, Roger Dubuis unleashed a new set of watches inspired by the supercar. Bearing a new RD630 movement, the collection features a strut bar across the upper part of the calibre, reminding one of the same bars across the Huracán’s V10 engine. It also offers an off-angle escapement, slanted 12 degrees from the horizontal.
The brand is also presenting new editions in a multitude of colours, including a titanium-and-gold version of the Excalibur Huracán. The watch bears a pink-gold case with a titanium container that’s over-moulded in black rubber, and a titanium bezel and crown. The inner ring of the dial and hands are also in gold, with SuperLuminova indicators. An all-titanium model with black rubber over-moulding as well as a black DLC-coated titanium version with blue rubber over-moulding, are a part of the trip emerging from the Excalibur Huracán series.
Light and Dark: The Excalibur Blacklight
If mechanical watchmaking emphasises the longevity of a watch — one that’s able to work for decades, if not centuries — then mechanical watchmaking by Roger Dubuis looks to the future as well, considering just how its watches will be relevant not just today, but also tomorrow.
In this manner, from the lessons learnt from delving into materials that are considered non-traditional and engaging with industries that are outside of its own realm of expertise, Roger Dubuis is now taking us further into an illuminated future with their latest, the Excalibur Blacklight. Inspired by the powerful identity of the iconic Astral Skeleton movements in Roger Dubuis’ Spider timepieces, the brand has decided to merge the architecturally inspired form with traditional gem-craft and futuristic culture.
What Roger Dubuis has done for the Excalibur Blacklight is that it has taken parts of the skeleton movement that aren’t essential to the movement’s construction and stability and replaced the standard movement material here with synthetic stones, grown in a laboratory with the cross-section of an irregular hexagon with a flat base. These long thin stones are then coated on two sides with ultraviolet paint, criss-crossing the movement on multiple levels. Under an ultraviolet light source, the paint glows, reflecting the colours of each stone to the naked eye and casting a stunning shade on the movement.
Creative and flamboyant at the same time, the Blacklight collection presents a stunning and technically interesting invention. Due to a need for the light to reflect evenly, the stones used are grown so as to ensure there are no occlusions present. In order to ensure a sturdier design, sapphires and spinels are the choice of stones grown, in white, blue and a deep pink, with three models of watches with matching straps. Each are decorated with diamonds on the bezel and around the oscillating weight. The model with blue sapphires comes in a white-gold case, a black DLC-coated titanium version has white sapphire microtubes and a pink-gold edition comes with pink spinels. All models are available from this summer onwards, limited to 88 pieces each, apart from the pink-gold model, which is a 28-piece boutique exclusive.