Roger Dubuis, The Passing Of A Master Watchmaker

Roger Dubuis, The Passing Of A Master Watchmaker

His name will remain forever etched in gold on the gates of one of Geneva's most prestigious watchmaking manufactures. He is the very embodiment of all the expert skills and collections inextricably associated with the Geneva seal.

By Joel Grandjean

"I am very excited and happy to be sitting here in a company to which I have given my all, my passion and my reputation, and to be witnessing the rebirth of this incredible brand ", Roger Dubuis confided in November 2011. Then CEO, Georges Kern, had just orchestrated Dubuis' return, persuading him to quit the mandates he'd taken on with other companies. By welcoming him back as the brand's 'natural ambassador', the Richemont group, the new owner of the company and its manufacture, had thus given long-term legitimacy to the youngest of its leading fine watchmaking brands.

The incredible journey from Carouge to Meyrin

It all began in the mid-90s with SOGEM SA, a public limited company co-founded by himself and one Carlos Diaz. The latter was to watchmaking what Fitzcarraldo was to the cinema. Mirroring the exploits of the fiercely determined opera-loving impresario, who dreams of building an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle, Carlos Diaz helped forge the destiny of a master watchmaker. In next to no time, he succeeded in transforming him into a brand and independent manufacture that would reign supreme over a family of mechanical watch movements in its uncompromising pursuit of the ultimate certification, an accolade that combined the rigorous testing of the Geneva Seal with that of the official Swiss chronometer testing institute (COSC).

Until his recent demise on 14 October 2017, Roger Dubuis, born 27 May 1938, maintained an active role in his eponymous company and watched it grow in reputation. Its renown among watchmaking enthusiasts and collectors, despite its relative youth (just over two decades old) is comparable to that of some venerable institutions. It was a reputation for excellence, which he built around collections brimming with avant-garde aesthetics, but catering also to ladies' tastes, and a growing respect for inherited values in the art and mastery of timekeeping.

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