Watches & Wonders 2020: Roger Dubuis
At least now with Roger Dubuis, things are easy to understand: the collections that are too far from the message of dynamism and of audacity that the brand wants to convey are gone. If the Velvet collection still exists to offer a proposal to female customers, the strategy is clear: Excalibur, Excalibur and Excalibur. I fully understand this strategy. The brand produces only a few pieces per year, has a specialty among others (the flying tourbillon), so it is better to focus on what it can do best with watches offering a strong visual identity.
For the 2020 edition of Watches & Wonders, Roger Dubuis therefore presents two Excalibur which share the same spirit (one or two flying tourbillons, same diameter of 45mm, open dials to dive into a technical atmosphere) but which radically stand out in their interpretations.
The Excalibur Twofold, available in a limited series of 8 pieces, is for me the more surprising of the two novelties. Mainly because of its all-white style, which is unique for Roger Dubuis. I must also imagine that I never imagined such a watch in its universe because I always have the impression that the all-white approach gives a feminine allure ... which is not necessarily the aim of the brand, taking into account its image. That said, the result seems very satisfactory ... and I want to say lasting thanks to a composite material which must maintain this immaculate white over time.
This watch is luminous even in the dark because thanks to technical innovations, the movement offers luminescent angles just like on the rubber strap. Definitely, it is a very fashionable theme at Richemont this year and it is surely no coincidence that this game of luminescence is found in the old brand and the new brand (Panerai) led by Jean-Marc Pontroué. Bright and aerial are the qualifiers that come to mind when I see the images of the Excalibur Twofold.
It will then be necessary to have the opportunity to manipulate it to check if the sensations on the wrist correspond to the feelings it provides. In any case, it was a pleasure to see Roger Dubuis exploring an unusual atmosphere for the manufacture.
The unique Excalibur Diabolus in Machina is ultimately more classic. Roger Dubuis performs a well-known score, which consists of combining a flying tourbillon with a minute repeater mechanism. It seems to me as an even more radical evolution of the 2018 Excalibur Millésime. The result is obviously spectacular with, as usual, a game with the elements of the different Roman numerals that structure the open dial.
Otherwise I find the case in CarTech and the overall look very faithful to the spirit of the brand with a design of the bracelet which I find very successful and which accentuates the feeling of power. On the other hand, I'm less fan of the fact that the flying tourbillon is partially hidden, which is a shame. The Millésime may appeal to me more for this reason. However, I prefer the Minute Repeater pusher of the Diabolus in Machina. In any case, there too, it will be a watch to be appreciated by manipulating it and to hear it to check the sound quality of the Minute Repeater.
As you can see, Roger Dubuis took advantage of this edition of Watches & Wonders 2020 to reinterpret perfectly mastered themes: the double flying tourbillon on one side and the flying tourbillon and minute repeater combo on the other. Despite this usual context, the brand managed to distinguish itself thanks to two watches (representing a total production of 9 pieces!) featuring strong visual identities. At the same time, it reaffirms its strategy based on Excalibur.