A number of things make Roger Dubuis an exciting brand to follow. For starters, every timepiece the brand manufactures carries the 100% Poinçon de Genève. Think of it as a certification that is one part measure of aesthetic quality, manufacturing expertise and accuracy and one part the horological equivalent of farm to table. Four operations must be carried out in Geneve: the assembly, casing, adjustments and testing.
The other thing that makes Roger Dubuis interesting to follow is the incredible work with skelotonized watches and, in particular, with the Astral Skeleton watches. The line was first unveiled earlier this year at SIHH and is now making its way to market.
The pieces are inspired by fashion, architecture, painting, sculpture, film-making and a host of other sources and represent a modern take on haute horology. The result is supposed to evoke a cyber like fantasy land that highlights the theme of skeletonization in the finished product. When I saw the watches I immediately thought of Transformers, not the Michael Bay films mind you, but the original and amazing ’80’s cartoons that fueled many a childhood. #MissionAccomplished.
The Excalibur was chosen as the base frame to host the Astral line and was done so for its iconic standing within the Roger Dubuis brand. The round case, fluted bezel and triple lugs serve as a great foundation for the manufacturer to build off of. In keeping with the astral theme, all of the pieces have a skeletonized star design that is actually already inherent in the design/build of the watch and its bridges, but has been further pronounced to truly highlight the look of the star motif.
Additionally, in true Roger Dubuis style, skeletonization takes on all forms of romantic themes. Here, we bring you a look at some of the brand’s finest examples of skeleton movements.
Several watches comprise the Astral collection, including the Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon with a titanium and black DLC-titanium case and bright red aluminum elements on the inner bezel ring. The 188-piece RD01SQ movement is on full display and the layered construction further highlights the 3D architecture. The double flying Tourbillons are designed to evoke the look of high end automobile speedometers. To enhance legibility, the tips of the hands and applied screws on the flanged are finished in SuperLuminova and several different vibrant color strap options are offered.
Another standout Roger Dubuis piece is the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon with gem set rubber bezel. In this timepiece, the hand wound movement has been black DLC coated, as has the titanium case and flange– providing a dark backdrop for the diamond bezel to really shine. Limited to 88 pieces, the juxtaposition of rubber and diamonds on this watch is eye catching — and having 2 carats –60 begeuette-cut diamonds — doesn’t hurt either. Two years of research and a patent titled ‘Soft stones in the sky’ will keep this unique combination of materials explicitly with Roger Dubuis. The face of the skelotonized piece displays the cross endemic to the line along with a Tourbillon cage shaped as the Celtic cross. Finally, if the contrast between rubber and expert gem setting isn’t enough, there is a white strap option that will instantly draw attention to the piece on the wrist.
Not to be forgotten is the Excalibur Broce’liande watch — an elegant 28-piece edition piece for women. A total of 3.44 carats adorn the pink gold Excalibur case, lugs and bezel. Semiprecious stones in autumnal colors are dotted along slender gold Ivy branches that are set with diamonds, and even the crown of the watch has been set with a rose cut diamond. An Ivy motif is interwoven with the skeleton work, and appears to be entwined and interlaced around the bridges of the piece and the Tourbillon cage. Throughout literature the Ivy is used to symbolize powerful emotional attachment, faithfulness and eternity, fitting symbolism for a gem studded piece that captures the passage of time.
And now, just in time for its official unveiling at Watches & Wonders at the end of this month, Roger Dubuis shows off the new Astral Excalibur Star of Infinity and Star of Infinity Baguette diamond-set watches — with more than 300 diamonds on them. You will never look at stars quite the same.