The company’s product strategy director
It was hard to know what to expect from last month’s Watches & Wonders show in Geneva. Intended to be 2020’s big launchpad for all of the latest watch models, it would have brought the major Swiss manufacturers together under one roof. But then coronavirus hit, the physical show was cancelled, and the big launches were announced online instead.
Roger Dubuis unveiled two new skeletonised Excalibur models, starting with the all-white Excalibur Twofold, limited to just eight pieces. It has a double flying tourbillon, and a 45mm Mineral Composite Fiber (MCF) case, which is an ultra-white composite made almost completely of silica, just for Roger Dubuis, giving an icy appearance. It glows in the dark too, with luminous touches included all over, even on the strap.
Or try the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina (the ‘Devil in the Machine’), which is a one-off that combines a flying tourbillon with a minute repeater mechanism. That means its own specific chimes for the hours, minutes, and so on. The 45mm case is made from a patented material, CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM, which looks like stainless steel, but is said to be more durable.
Here to tell us more is product strategy director Gregory Bruttin:
Why launch these particular models this year?
Our aim is to meet the needs of our most demanding customers.
The Diabolus in Machina is pretty special, with only one being made. What can you tell us?
Since the early days of the brand, minute repetition has been an important complication for us. Our late founder, Roger Dubuis himself, was a master watchmaker who had a great mastery of all the subtleties of this mechanism. We’ve tried to follow him here, working on the shape and material of the timbres, allowing us to choose the note and chords that we wanted.
It’s a striking watch – there’s definitely a lot going on in terms of its looks.
The materials used are unusual too. The CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM is a cobalt alloy, which has many advantages in terms of scratch- and corrosion-resistance. Blue is often associated with cobalt, and that helped to decide the colour scheme.
You like to come up with materials that no other watch brand uses…
We love to set the trend. If other brands are following you, it’s because you made a good choice in the first place. And even if they do follow us and choose the same material, they may not have the techniques or processes to work with it.
Like the Excalibur Twofold – this uses a different material again…
In the past, the only way to get a white watch was to work with ceramic, but that has many disadvantages, such as the weight or the manufacturing constraints, so it’s difficult to get the design you want. By using the Mineral Composite Fiber (MCF), we have many more options.
Why make only eight watches, or one in the case of the Diabolus?
We know they won’t be enough, but that’s what our exclusive approach is all about. With the Twofold, we’re saying you actually get two watches in one, because of the luminescence, so it’s like wearing a completely different watch at night. You might see more of this approach soon.
What were the biggest challenges in making these two watches?
Always, the biggest challenge is to think of something nobody else has done before. That might mean taking the wrong path first of all, questioning your ideas, then finding a solution. But I think the direction we’ve taken here is the right one.
How important is it to innovate?
For many years, watchmaking has relied on two basic materials: gold and steel. Today, there’s a real interest, certainly from our customers, to use contemporary materials that boost comfort, durability and aesthetics. This is why our material strategy is based on these three pillars.
Are you still working with Lamborghini and Pirelli?
We recently launched a new Huracán watch in two colours – an all-black unlimited edition, and a limited edition of 88 pieces, with touches of green for our boutique network. Both of those partnerships remain strong, and you will see more in the coming months.
In your view, where is Roger Dubuis in terms of its development right now?
We continue to work on new Excalibur models – it’s an iconic product that allows us to express our creativity. And we continue to work with Lamborghini and Pirelli. There’s a demand for hi-tech materials and contemporary complications right now, so this is our focus. I think for Excalibur, we will continue to put a contemporary twist on complications with a traditional feel.
Is Roger Dubuis popular in the Midde East?
The Excalibur Spider has been very well received in the Middle East, and our customer there in particular appreciates the modern, hi-tech side of the collection. The lightness and comfort are popular too.
These are tricky times. How do you see the rest of the year shaping up?
There will be more novelties and surprises to come over the course of the year. The main focus will be Excalibur, but we will also look to challenge ourselves where we can.