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TICKTALK: Join us each month as Cellini spotlights on one of our favorite brands with in-depth reports, reviews and more.

Roger Dubuis: Drive to Innovate

Since its debut, the Excalibur has emerged as a powerful expression of Roger Dubuis’ adventurous aesthetic and watchmaking mastery.


By Scott Hickey
November 1, 2018

Roger Dubuis - November 2018 TickTalk Image

The Excalibur collection got its start in 2005, when Roger Dubuis celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the first two Excalibur models: one a double tourbillon, and the other a minute repeater with a tourbillon. With their complex calibers, fluted bezels and triple lugs, both watches presented a concise articulation of the company’s unique vision of haute horlogerie.

The EX 01 was part of the original Excalibur collection introduced in 2005.


That same year, the Roger Dubuis Manufacture in Geneva introduced its first traditional skeleton movements. A blend of technical refinement and artistry, the transparency of the design accentuated the mechanism’s sculptural form and intensified its minimalistic beauty. In due course, the company added hand-wound skeleton movements to the Excalibur collection, focusing attention mainly on its instantly recognizable double tourbillon calibers.

That changed in 2015, when Roger Dubuis introduced the first Excalibur watch to have a skeletonized automatic movement powered by a micro-rotor. Like their tourbillon-endowed cousins, these Excalibur Automatic Skeletons shared a strong family resemblance thanks to the sharp angles of the movement’s star-shaped architecture. Taking that skeleton expertise one step further, the company also began applying it to other areas of the watch, including the case, flange and hands.

All of this artistry and invention set the stage for what was to come next.

An exploded view of caliber RD820SQ, which powers the Excalibur Spider Automatic Skeleton.


ROAD TO VICTORY
In 2017, Roger Dubuis announced its partnership with Pirelli, the tire-of-choice at racetracks around the world. This convergence of high watchmaking and high octane led to a series of watches that reveal what’s possible when innovators from the automotive and horological fields get together.

The first two limited editions to arise from this collaboration were built for life in the fast lane, quite literally. The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic and Excalibur Spider Pirelli Double Tourbillon both featured lightweight titanium cases fitted with straps that have inlays of rubber taken from Pirelli tires that had competed in, and won, real races.

Two limited edition Excalibur Spider Pirelli models were introduced in 2017, an Automatic (at left) and a Double Tourbillon.


Those watches were followed closely by the magnificent Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon. Its orange, green, yellow and red accents were chosen specifically to evoke the vibrant colors typically found on a supercar’s dashboard.

Inside, the watch’s finely tuned “engine” is a hand-wound movement that features two flying tourbillons — one positioned at 5 o’clock and the other at 7 o’clock. Rimmed by speedometer-type small seconds displays, these mechanisms rotate in opposite directions in a dynamic visual exhibition. Nearby, the power-reserve indicator offers a nod to race car fuel gauges with its multi-color design. Only 28 pieces were produced, and one is available at Cellini.

The vibrant colors used for the Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon were inspired by a race car’s dashboard.


The dynamic partnership between Roger Dubuis and Pirelli continued this year with the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic Pirelli. Once again, the watch’s 45mm black DLC-coated titanium case is paired with a strap that features rubber from a Pirelli tire that was used to win a race. If you look at the back of the strap, you’ll also find one of the tire patterns used by Pirelli. Offered in a series, each 88-piece limited edition incarnation of the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic Pirelli features a different color. The version available now at Cellini features vivid orange accents.

Limited to 88 pieces, the Excalibur Spider Automatic Skeleton features a rubber strap made from a Pirelli tire.


For those who seek a mix of sporty and refined styles, Roger Dubuis makes an Excalibur Spider Automatic Skeleton that combines a rose gold case with a black ceramic bezel. Made in-house, its skeletonized micro-rotor movement is comprised of 167 individually hand-finished parts and boasts a 60-hour power reserve.

The Excalibur Spider Automatic Skeleton’s rose gold case is paired with a black ceramic bezel.


SEAL OF APPROVAL
All of the watches featured in the Excalibur line — as well as the entire Roger Dubuis collection — have all earned the Poinçon de Genève, which is often called the Geneva Seal.

For more than a century, this prestigious certification has been bestowed upon watches — made exclusively in Geneva — that meet specific watchmaking criteria. Those requirements are more stringent now than when they were first established in 1886. Since 2011, the scope of the Geneva Seal guidelines was expanded from its original focus on a movement’s aesthetics to encompass its construction and performance as well. The modern certification process involves several steps, including passing a rigorous accuracy test administered after a watch is subjected to a machine that simulates regular wear.

Poinçon de Genève


Putting its watches to the test is a challenge that Roger Dubuis welcomes. And that eagerness to push itself is the driving force behind the brand as it steers fine watchmaking toward new horizons.

Click here to view the Roger Dubuis collection online at Cellini Jewelers.

 
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