By Mike Thompson
Roger Dubuis enhances its Poinçon de Genève appeal with skeleton movements featuring bold colors and unconventional materials, including a cutting-edge carbon case.
Traditional Swiss watch manufacturers embellish their skeletonized models with intricate flowers, delicate patterns and lacy engraved flourishes. Most also start with existing movements and then cut away excess metal to create their ‘skeleton’ version of that caliber.
But when Roger Dubuis makes a skeleton (or openworked) caliber, the Geneva-based watchmaker prefers to defy tradition. Watchmakers at this young manufacturing company don’t remove excess metal when creating skeleton movements, but instead build entirely new openworked movements, from the idea phase through to the finished product.
Roger Dubuis’ best-selling Excalibur collection continues to grow with new Spider models that extend the brand’s openwork motif to the case, lugs and hands. On the Excalibur Skeleton Automatic, that openwork design even includes a skeletonized oscillating micro-rotor — a first for Roger Dubuis. Of course, each Excalibur Spider, like every watch from Roger Dubuis, is certified to meet the quality demands of the Poinçon de Genève.
No other manufacturer makes or sells as many double tourbillons as Roger Dubuis, which debuted its first in 2009, just four years after it created its first skeletonized watch.
The latest model in that dual-escapement collection is the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon, with a red-tinged crown, red-aluminum inner bezel and red-tipped gold hands. This watch utilizes color expertly to enhance its three-dimensional appeal. The red hue also boosts immediate readability while adding more than a hint of sportiness to the 47mm titanium and black DLC-titanium case. Through the side of case, the wearer can eye the red-aluminum inner bezel, which is dotted with luminous applied screws that double as hour markers.
Excalibur Spider Single Flying Tourbillon
The flying tourbillons that give the watch its name have matching Celtic-cross shaped cages that turn counterclockwise as they tick off the seconds. Despite the hand’s unusual direction, the seconds are easy to read thanks to the counters, which are also ordered counterclockwise. It’s an unexpected twist to an already complex watch and shows off the brand’s bold technical and aesthetic personality to great effect.
The Excalibur Spider Single Flying Tourbillon and Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon are new 45mm models that recreate the same three-dimensional, skeletonized appeal of the dual-tourbillon Spider model, but with a pared down single flying tourbillon. The first model offers the same brushed, numbered and notched titanium bezel seen on the dual-tourbillon model, but with blue rather than red accents on the internal bezel and crown. The latter model, with a black DLC-coated titanium case, delivers an unexpected surprise by setting 60 baguette-cut sapphires into the black-rubber bezel. The brand has already patented this groundbreaking gem-setting technique.
Roger Dubuis uses micro-rotors in all its automatic movements, but in the new Excalibur Skeleton Automatic Carbon it raises the bar with a skeletonized oscillating weight. The watch itself is clad in a high-tech composite known as carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC), which is produced by compressing carbon fibers with resin and steel, then molding them at extremely high temperatures. The resulting material is then reworked and compounded with resin. Both harder and lighter than its gold-cased cousins, this carbon version is sportier too, with blackened-gold hands tipped with red to match the minute track.
With cutting-edge materials, new colors and novel watchmaking techniques, the Excalibur collection resonates strongly with those who seek contemporary design and a skeletonized in-house movement.