Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
24 Hours Later

24 Hours Later: Roger Dubuis Wows with Its Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Yesterday, the Geneva-based brand unveiled its first-ever flyback chronograph, featuring an innovative, integrated in-house caliber.

By Steven Rogers

Historically, the chronograph has played a critical role in establishing the Roger Dubuis name. And for proof of this, you need only think of legendary watchmaker Mr. Roger Dubuis’ early Hommage and Sympathie Lemania-based chronographs which he made after co-founding his eponymous brand in 1995. Then, at the turn of the millennium, the company introduced its first integrated chronograph calibre, the RD28. And, of course, more soon followed.

Even in the years since Richemont group assumed control of Roger Dubuis, the chronograph has played its part in the brand’s collection – the Excalibur Flying Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph, launched to celebrate 125 years of the Geneva Seal, being one example. Despite this, it’s typically the tourbillon – flying, inclined, and/or double – that the brand has hung its hat on in recent times while creating its extravagant, self-styled “Hyper Horology.

However, the unveiling of the mind-blowing, futuristic Monovortex Split-Seconds Chronograph concept watch at Watches & Wonders earlier this year was a sign that this complication would be making its way back into the Roger Dubuis fold, and in some earnest.

Well, our suspicions were confirmed yesterday with the release of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, the brand’s first-ever flyback chrono. And it features a brand-new in-house calibre boasting a number of exciting technical innovations.

Supercar on the Wrist

As its name suggests, this new flyback chronograph is part of Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur Spider collection and, as such, its design draws heavily on the world of high-octane motorsport. From the beefy-yet-chiseled profile of its 45mm carbon-fiber case to the sharp angular lines of its exposed, skeletonized movement, to the intense dynamism of its brake-red accents, it is your proverbial supercar on the wrist.

But behind all the vehicular-inspired bravado, there is some real high-tech engineering going on. Rather than employing a modular construction, the new RD780 automatic calibre has been built from the ground up, freeing up the Roger Dubuis team to make a range of considered technical and design choices.

Technical Treats

For starters, the team at Roger Dubuis has opted for a column-wheel chronograph mechanism, for the smoothness of its operation. But rather than position the column wheel on the back of the movement, it has been given visible pride of place on the front of the watch, just below the dial center.

The column wheel has, in turn, been combined with a friction-driven vertical clutch that features an innovative Second Braking System (SBS) integrated directly into the clutch clamp. The vertical configuration of the clutch, combined with the efficiency of the patent-pending brake, means that the phenomenon of a stuttering seconds hand should be entirely eliminated with this design.

Also, the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph has a patent pending on is its novel way of displaying a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. Specifically, it looks like a Y-shaped arm whose 0, 1, and 2 numerals line up with units on the fixed arc to the right to indicate elapsed minutes. Called the Rotating Minute Counter (RMC), this original 120° system is a direct carryover from the innovations introduced in the Monovortex concept watch earlier this Spring.

And there are further tricks up the RD780’s sleeve, including an anti-shock, gravity-fighting 12°-tilted balance wheel with a level of inertia said to be the same as that of a tourbillon, plus an escapement wheel and pallet-stones made from diamond-coated silicon to offer solid resistance to magnetism.

Symmetry, Depth, and Fine Finishing

In addition to its impressive technical attributes, the RD780 is really quite the looker. First, there are plenty of symmetrical touches, with the RMC at 3 o’clock counterpoised by the balance wheel at 9 o’clock. Then, the twin barrels – which combine to provide 72 hours of power – mirror each other at 12 o’clock.

Furthermore, the multi-layered construction also provides a real sense of depth, beginning low with the “crypto” date at 6 o’clock, then rising up to the column wheel, and finally topped off with the seemingly floating tachymeter flange. And each of the 333 movement components is decorated with multiple contrasting finishes to satisfy independent Geneva Seal certification.

This symmetry, depth, and fine finishing carry over to the back of the watch where the five-armed “mystery” oscillating weight – resembling a supercar’s wheel rim – steals the show as it extends over the full 45mm diameter of the display caseback.

Stepping Things up a Notch

Meanwhile, the assertive carbon case incorporates the recent design elements of Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur Spider collection, with a distinct theme of V-shaped notches at play on the case, bezel, lugs, pushers, and crown. This design trait is even continued on the texture of the accompanying black rubber strap with red stitching.

Meanwhile, the assertive carbon case incorporates the recent design elements of Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur Spider collection, with a distinct theme of V-shaped notches at play on the case, bezel, lugs, pushers, and crown. This design trait is even continued on the texture of the accompanying black rubber strap with red stitching.

Official Launch & Pricing

Priced at $101,500 excluding taxes), the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph will make its official debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK. And with its dynamic styling and high-performance engine, it is safe to say it won’t look out of place there.

For more information, please visit the Roger Dubuis website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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