SIHH 2013 PuristSPro Report: Roger Dubuis (M. Bosse & PuristSPro Team)
The Manufacture Roger Dubuis unloaded a firework of novelties during this year's SIHH. It was an impressive year for them with two new greatly complicated watches, a totally new case material and at least one really impressive manifestation of sculpture. Furthermore, both the Excalibur as well as the Hommage collection benefitted from refinement of the case which improved both aesthetics as well as wearing comfort (case size, lugs, flatness etc.).
To put this into perspective let's first look at what we have seen last year:
Last Year's (2012) Star of the Show: The Pulsion Collection (all 2012 images from Oliver Meindl):
RD introduced this new collection. Its meant to be their sportive offering with open-worked dials and a sapphire crystal that acts as bezel at the same time.
An interesting solution that gives the watch a light yet tough appeal. The design also carries over a well-designed solution for the signature three lugs. I personally find open-worked dial usually too busy for my eyes but here it has been done with a nice balance of face vs. detail.
If you want to learn more of the 2012 novelties please read Oliver's report here.
2013 Main Theme: The year of the Excalibur:
As always, the Roger Dubuis booth at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is the one the majority of visitors is looking forward to see - its always exceptional!
This year RD seizes the emblem of its city of origin and the Poinçon de Genève - the Crowned Eagle and the Key – to claim its quest for excellence and allegiance to the most demanding signature in Fine Watchmaking. RD sends a clear message at SIHH: A Roger Dubuis’ Eagle with 4.60 meters of wingspan...
... as a strong argument for the fact that RD would like to be considered as the brand to be when it comes to the Poinçon. Remember, 100% of the RD watches are certified according to the criteria of the Poinçon so this has quite some substance.
And the theme of 2013 is designated the Year of the Excalibur. And they demonstrated this with some truly outstanding novelties!
2013 Star of the Show: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor
The Excalibur Quatuor plays on the key tasks of a watch, that is to keep time as precisely and as consistently as possible. To this end, the Manufacture Roger Dubuis set up a team of 40 experts of 21 different metièrs who invested 7 years of research.
The outcome is a pièce de résistance featuring in a 48mm case:
For an in-deepth presentation of the Quatuor with many, many live pics please refer to my recent article here on PuristS!
2013 Star of the Show, Runner-up: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Round Table
Roger Dubuis designers have drawn their inspiration from a reproduction of the Round Table made for Henry VIII and placed in the Grand Hall of his castle at Winchester. It features 12 figures representing the legendary Knights of the Round Table with their swords make a perfect circle replacing traditional hour markers. Each figure is a three-dimensional casting in gold with its fine details carved by hand. They are set around a magnificent dial in grand feu enamel:
A solid gold back plate, covering the automatic calibre RD 821, reminds on what the knights symbolise:
"Around this table, the bravest knights will gather as equals. They will set forth in search of adventure, righting wrongs, protecting the weak, and humbling the proud."
Thus is the inscription of the back:
On the wrist the Excalibur Round Table has quite some presence. Athough very detailed, exceptionally sculptural and certainly quite individual I think the watch is well wearable and mixes at surprising easy with your attire:
Other Novelties 2013 (Excalibur):
The Excalibur collection got a new 42mm automatic chronograph.
The 42mm follows the elegant theme of the collection (see last year's report) and offer a lot of space. The usage of very few but bold details make it a very timeless watch. Something we have not seen often, I guess.
The Excalibur 42 Chronograph came already with several dial options. Here are a few in detail. Stainless steel with a blue dial:
For the ladies we got a 36mm Excalibur automatic watch. RD tried - successfully I think - to match their known watchmaking excellence with a marvellous exterior design. The characteristic Excalibur bezel with its 12 carves is set with 48 diamonds (0.99 carats). As engine acts the RD calibre 821 with 48 hours autonomy and a nice subseconds display.
Another Excalibur novelty was this 42mm automatic watch in stainless steel with a new Cal. RD 640 (micro-rotor, 52h power reserve). It delves on the same theme as the chronograph (note the integration of the date into the 6 o'clock marker):
RD furthermore presented an Excalibur Double Skeleton Tourbillon. This is not a new watch but demonstrates the company's dedication towards product improvement. Its 45 mm case has been subtly redesigned to offer better ergonomics and greater comfort on the wrist. The new case is 12% thinner and the crown guard has been refined to create an ideal contrast with the black ceramic bezel and the screws. Movement is the known Cal. RD01SQ double skeleton flying tourbillon with a differential system that averages the rates of the two tourbillons.
Designed as an alternative to the Excalibur 45 Double Skeleton Tourbillon, the Excalibur 42 Tourbillon Skeleton an ergonomic 42 mm case that incorporates the identifying codes of the Excalibur collection: sharp angles and a strong visual impact linked to a perfect mechanism.
Other Novelties 2013 (Hommage):
Also the Hommage collection got some love, and an intense love it was! Two impressive pieces were shown, we start with the most fascinating one, the Tribute to the Minute Repeater:
In terms of design I have to admit that I am generally not a fan of open-worked dials. But in this case I will concede that RD did it with taste and mastery. I personally could have done well without the literature on the bottom part.
We will certainly revisit this watch at a later time point. Same applies to the next one:
The second novelty in the Hommage collection is this Flying Tourbillon with Big Date, also with the updated case. They showed us a version with diamonds on the bezel (well, this is not exactly a novelty but I thought I show it anyway):
Emphasis is given on the flying tourbillon which doubles as seconds hand...
Other Novelties 2013 (Velvet):
The Velvet collection got one new member, the Velvet High Jewellery. Set with 304 diamonds arranged in invisible settings that seem to magnify the precious stones the timepieces carries total approximately 13.61 carats.
That's it for 2013. Did I say 'impressive'?
What remains now in my view is something that would reemphasise the reference to the Genevan watchmaking tradition. I am referring to a delicious hand-wound movement, finished to highlight the specific art of construction and decoration that is typical to the timepieces made in the eastmost canton of Switzerland. Well, one can always dream!
We will have more in-depth presentations of some of the novelties in the course of the next months. Stay tuned!
Cheers and thanks for reading,