Pre-SIHH 2019: Roger Dubuis offers a ton of innovationBy Darren Ho
It’s just two months shy of SIHH in Geneva and participating brands are beginning to introduce new products for the coming year. From what we’ve seen and heard so far, it promises to be a rather interesting one. Montblanc revealed some interesting prospects and A. Lange & Söhne dropped a night-friendly Datograph last week.
Roger Dubuis took a group of journalists from the Southeast and North Asian regions to Macau. There it introduced several pieces that it would be presenting in Geneva. The event also showcased its latest store opening in Macau and a new boutique concept in Monaco.
The brand new store image offers a whitewashed space with accents of red, black and the brand’s star logo. But beyond the storefront, Roger Dubuis is moving and thinking more and more like a technology firm today. The change started with Product Strategy Director Gregory Bruttin and former CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué. After Pontroué was moved to Panerai, current CEO Emmanuel Perrin is continuing the brand’s transformation.
The brand’s Lamborghini and Pirelli partnerships have paid off in design and development terms as well as PR. It’s also allowed them to create new engagement campaigns with their customers for collaborative products. For example, those who bought the Lamborghini collaboration watch are offered an opportunity to experience the travelling Super Trofeo race and pick up their watch at the same time.
Another partnership offers collectors a chance to experience the Lamborghini Accademia programme. That’s where they have the opportunity to take a lap around a race track in a Lamborghini (with some speed restrictions for safety) and feel what it’s like to experience drift driving. It’s a lot of fun, we admit.
The Excalibur Spider Ultimate Carbon
The brand also presented a radical new piece – the Excalibur Spider Ultimate Carbon. Bruttin explains how the piece came about through the development of the Aventador collaboration using C-SMC (carbon fibre sheet moulded composite) manufacturing processes. The technology is used in Lamborghini’s supercars and Roger Dubuis is the first watchmaker to debut this material.
The watch uses a multi-layer carbon manufacturing process that maintains tensile strength and offers better tension modulus than other production methods. In layman’s terms, it’s strong, light and relatively flexible. To demonstrate this, they made the bracelet out of the same technology as the case to create an almost seamless watch-bracelet design that’s incredibly sleek to behold. Within the bracelet is a thin titanium band that anchors the structure, keeping it sturdy.
The case and bracelet are set with loads of diamonds, that plays up the strong contrast of the carbon material itself. But that’s not all. The brand has set diamonds on the tourbillon cage itself, it’s something that we’ve not ever seen before. Bruttin explains, “When it comes to the weight of the cage, it’s no heavier than conventional tourbillons. There’s no impact on the energy consumption of the tourbillon. The movement bridges are crafted out of the same material as the case and that adds a structural integrity to the watch; it also means it’s very light.”
Diamonds glamourise this watch, but it’s important to think of the design aesthetics and practicality of the material as well. Imagine if diamonds were removed entirely from the watch. You’d have a sturdy, rugged skeletonised watch that looks like a bracelet and would consume significantly less energy in a watch. Bruttin posits an increase of 30% in power reserve in such a case.
Last but not least, the brand will be showing a new customer-centric engagement and branding campaign starting next year. It starts with looking for a different genre of ambassadors, those who aren’t afraid to really stand out. One example is Will Pan, the multi-hyphenate whose rap success in The Rap of China changed the country’s attitude to the genre.
There’s much more that will be shared later in the December issue of Revolution (Asia), where Bruttin talks about his dream watch material and whether we can expect a surprise project to celebrate Lamborghini’s 55th anniversary. Stay tuned.