When it comes to progressive complications, the hand-wound 590-part RD101 Quatuor movement – beating at a frequency of 4x4 Hz (115,200 vph) with its four sprung balances and five differentials – is as progressive as they get… Not to mention outstandingly fast and efficient, since it achieves instantaneously what the tourbillon takes a full minute to accomplish – namely compensating for the rate variations caused by the effects of gravity on a watch. This year sees it welcome its very own disruptive material: cobalt chrome.
This high-performance alloy clothing the 48mm case, bezel, caseback and crown is produced using the extremely exclusive Micromelt technology that represents just 0.1% of worldwide metallurgy. Widely associated with aeronautics and astronomy, this process involves melting and atomizing the alloy into a fine powder by introducing the molten metal to a high-pressure stream of gas using a dedicated vacuum induction melting gas atomization unit.
This powder is then blended and screened to a controlled diameter, poured into canisters that are sealed and subjected to hot isostatic pressing to achieve full denseness, before being hot-worked to produce hot-rolled bars and then processed to finished size.
As well as the improved chemical homogeneity of this material, Roger Dubuis naturally appreciates the fact that it enables the creation of specific alloys (such as metal and nonmetal) that other techniques do not permit, as well as resulting in controlled porosity that in turn ensures stabilized alloy quality.
However, as always in making such technical and aesthetic choices, the manufacture adopts this state-of-the-art material with watch wearers firmly in mind, since it is 100% biocompatible, extremely corrosion-resistant thanks to the spontaneous formation of a passive protective film, as well as outstandingly durable thanks to its multiphase structure and the precipitation of carbides.
This gleaming cobalt chrome makes a pleasing contrast with the blue PVD-coated movement barrel cage and bridges, as well as the dial, hour-marker and alligator leather strap.
Dynamic red and white accents are provided by the printed speedometer-style minute track, the white-gold skeleton hands with Super-LumiNova-filled red tips, as well as the red strap stitching.