Roger Dubuis is a brand that intrigues and fascinates me. It is useless to hide it from you, I love technologically advanced watches, with an attractive design, which show off all the technical savoir faire of the maison that produce them. Roger Dubuis undoubtedly possesses these characteristics and thanks to the possibility of being able to visit the manufacture of the brand in that of Meyrin, in Geneva, I was able to appreciate it from very, very close.
A look at the brand
Roger Dubuis is the brand founded in 1995 by the homonymous watchmaker and today it is part of the Richemont galaxy, after having been purchased in 2005.
Its know-how is mainly focused on the conception, engineering and construction of movements, with all that that entails in terms of mechanical and material studies.
It is one of the very few brands to be able to certify many of its calibers with the Geneva Hallmark and the product development philosophies on which it has decided to focus in the last period can be divided into two distinct strands:
- Adrenaline Factor, which includes all versions of the Excalibur born from collaborations with Pirelli and Lamborghini.
- Expressive Singularity, to which all the “unique series” belong, the new Excalibur “Diabolus in Machina” and “Superbia” and the very famous Excalibur “Knights of the Round Table”.
In recent years Roger Dubuis has focused much of his energy on collaborations with Lamborghini e Pirelli, to the detriment of expressive singularities. These partnerships are not a simple marketing gimmick to sponsor certain models or find new customers, but they are founded on sharing of values, visions, on joint technological development and on the possibility of providing its customers with experiences that are richer and more fulfilling.
From this modus operandi and from these synergies various innovations were born, primarily from the point of view of materials and their processing (think of the carbon finish or the mineral composite used in the Excalibur Twofold), to then arrive at one-off models of the all unpublished and created to the specifications of customers wishing to have a truly unique watch to match their car, as for theExcalibur One Off with two inclined flying tourbillons and jumping hours.
Roger Dubuis, however, also has another soul, that is the one enclosed in the "expressive singularity”Previously described which represents a fundamental part of the brand. This is interpreted both in the form of watches in very limited edition (or even one-of-a-kind pieces) with very complex gauges and particular processing of precious stones, both as a mentality and company philosophy that leads to constant innovation and overcoming one's limits.
In this regard, the Qlab, that is an area in which younger children can be free to express their ideas and artisans can not only carry on their art professions, but also create new ones. From this initiative was born the new process with which the knights of the Excalibur are decorated "Knights of the round table" based on low-poly technology and, consequently, a new craft of art.
As previously mentioned, the Roger Dubuis manufacture mainly produces movements and we were shown the entire production process which, starting with a brass or carbon plate, leads to obtaining a finished and decorated caliber in accordance with the standards set by the Hallmark of Geneva. But what makes Roger Dubuis stand out from other manufacturers of the same level? Well, the reasons are different, let me explain them to you:
- Integrated Quality Control: every single platen (generally skeletonized) at the end of its production process is checked by a CNC metrological machine without the aid of optical systems, which would not have the same precision. Each hole, for example, is physically checked in 6 different points, thus calculating the deviation of the dimensions with respect to the drawing. If the measured deviation approaches the limit of the imposed tolerances, an alert is sent to the CNC machine that has completed the machining operations so that they can go to replace the tools or perform a re-set of the machine itself.
All this logic is part of a feedback control system called Jarvis which allows you to constantly monitor the health of the various machine tools and to intervene in time on them to reduce the number of defective and discarded components. The rate of rejected components obtained is only 3%.
- Know-how on carbon processing: working this material is not easy and requires specific configurations and calibrations of the machines involved in its processing, which can take several hours. Over the years, Roger Dubuis has developed a level of know-how that allows him to make plates and various components in this material without resorting to the support of external companies. I would also like to point out the great collaboration with the institution of the Hallmark of Geneva to be able to certify even carbon gauges with this seal, since the finishes on this material are not as visible as on metals.
- Finishes: all the finishes of each single pin, toothed wheel or bridge are done manually. Seeing people still performing the cerclage on each wheel by hand, the perlage on all the bridges and the "black polishing" on each screw is incredible and clearly conveys what lies behind the related manufacturing process and, consequently, the price. of a watch belonging to Haute Horlogerie.
Seeing live what lies behind the images attached to this article, it is possible to perceive the enormous expenditure of time and human energy required to obtain the level of detail and perfection present in the Roger Dubuis calibers.
We were able to touch 5 watches from collaborations with Lamborghini and Pirelli.
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic Pirelli "Hard"
It is a skeletonized, automatic watch with tungsten micro rotor and 45 mm case in DLC-treated titanium, born from the collaboration with Pirelli. The orange color of the details recalls the same as the Hard tires used during the Formula 1 GPs, the same ones that were then used to manufacture the watch strap. Inside it, in fact, there are real parts of the carcass mounted on the single-seaters, then enclosed between two rubber layers to make the watch wearable and compatible with the skin of the wrist. The finish of the strap is such as to recall the graining phenomenon (vesicles) that can be seen on the tires at the end of the races. The watch is certified with the Hallmark of Geneva.
Excalibur Spider Huracán Performante
This watch represents the entry level of the collections born from synergies with Lamborghini. It is dedicated to the Huracan Performante, so much so that the movement frame is reminiscent of the structure that supports the 5.2 HP 10 l V640 engine mounted on the car. The caliber is automatic and features a 12 ° inclined escapement. While not featuring the Hallmark of Geneva, it is finished to the same standards that can be found on higher-end watches. The strap is in rubber and alcantara.
Excalibur Spider Aventador S
The "Duotuor", as it is nicknamed, is fitted with a manual caliber with dead seconds and two 45 ° inclined escapements connected to each other by a differential, all certified as Geneva Seal. The watch in question is a remarkable exercise in technique, design and research. The position and inclination of the escapements is such as to optimize the running of the watch in the position in which it is most often, so as to improve its accuracy. The version we tested has a carbon case with rose gold details and is a limited edition of 28 pieces. The strap is in alcantara and rubber. The sound produced by this watch while running is hypnotic and truly feels like a high-cylinder racing engine on your wrist.
Excalibur Spider Subzero
Here is the first Tourbillon that is presented to us. This Excalibur Spider Sottozero features a manual flying tourbillon caliber with power reserve indication and features a titanium case. Born from the collaboration with Pirelli, the strap has the same compund used for the "Sottozero" studded tires which are mounted in case you have to cross particular snowy paths. It's a limited edition of 88 pieces.
Excalibur Spider Pirelli ICE ZERO 2
This watch is an evolution of the previous version whose caliber is pushed to an even higher level through the use of two flying tourbillons connected to each other via a differential. It is a limited edition of 8 pcs. Interestingly, the two escapements sound completely different between the Aventador S (louder) and this Pirelli Ice Zero 2 (quieter) due to the use of tourbillons instead of more traditional regulators.
I would like to thank Roger Dubuis CEO Nicola Andreatta and the entire Roger Dubuis Team for giving us the precious opportunity to visit their factory.