Introducing the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus in MachinaBy Darren Ho
Since Roger Dubuis has adopted the #DaretobeRare philosophy in its watchmaking, CEO Nicola Andreatta and Product Development Director Gregory Bruttin have been really exploring how to make classic high complications edgier. With the tourbillon, a high watchmaking device that the brand has well mastered, its designs have been bold to say the least.
At SIHH 2019, the brand released a number of impressive design feats, from carbon fiber movements to gem-set tourbillon cages. And late last year the Excalibur Blacklight series saw the brand using sapphire microtubes that light up under ultraviolet light, giving the watches a thoroughly 21st century feel.
Earlier last month, the brand introduced a new watch, the Twofold, which introduced a new case material: quartz mineral composite fibers. It also saw the ample use of Super-LumiNova pigment on the angled sides of the movement bridges as well as the strap.
Diabolus in Machina
This year marks 25 years of Roger Dubuis’ founding, but instead of focusing on past memorable models of the brand, they’ve chosen to focus on the spirit of innovation and invention that the late Mr Roger Dubuis embodied. For this digital Watches & Wonders 2020 launch, the brand’s chosen to modernize the minute repeater for the 21st century.
The minute repeater was first developed for a time without convenient access to electric lights but the world today is vastly different. Thus the watchmakers at Roger Dubuis have added a visual element to the complication. At the 11 o’clock position, a disc that’s marked with ‘Hours’, ‘Quarters’ and ‘Minutes’ turns as the repeater is activated, following the pace of the chimes. It operates by connected to the feeler-spindle of the minute repeater, so that it can read the time with the strike.
In addition, a crown function indication that’s connected to the stem allows one to know what position the crown is in: time-setting or winding mode. This is to ensure that the user doesn’t accidentally engage time adjustment when the minute repeater is engaged. Giving the complication a sexier and cooler appeal, they’ve also chosen to tune the gongs to C and G flat notes, which is a diminished fifth tritone. The sinister-sounding tone is made famous in the “Diabolus in Musica” chord, that was found in several notable symphonies and often associated with the Devil in medieval times. The sound is enhanced by the case material, which is light weight and hard, like titanium, which acts as a great acoustic conductor for the chimes.
The repeater also has a pusher rather than a sliding lever for operations, which makes it sealable and thus water resistant. An all-or-nothing mechanism is also connected to the pusher, so that the pusher activates only when completely pressed and doesn’t re-trigger when the repeater is already in operation.
The same RD107 minute repeater tourbillon caliber powers this watch, which is housed in CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM, along with NAC coating on the bridges and plate of the movement. In fact, the gongs are made in the same material because it sounds out the tritone in the exact tone, according to the brand.
According to Roger Dubuis’ product development director Gregory Bruttin, the manufacturing process of the material (compressed from a powder), means that the material is utterly pure and also has a higher tensile strength. This results in a purer pitch for the tones in the minute repeater, and ensures a high consistency in the quality of sound across board.
This is a unique piece, named ‘Diabolus in Machina’, which in Latin means “Devil in the Machine”. It’s certainly a name we can associate with Roger Dubuis and its enfant terrible lead, Gregory Bruttin.
Self-winding RD107 caliber; hours and minutes; flying tourbillon; minute repeater; crown function indicator; chiming indication; 60-hour power reserve
45mm case in CarTech Micro-Melt Biodur CCMTM; water resistant to 30m
Interchangeable 3D calf leather strap with titanium folding buckle