Roger Dubuis Skeleton: futuristic architecture
The new skeleton editions of the famously gothic Roger Dubuis Excalibur collection are quite flamboyant. But it doesn’t matter, for they celebrate the passage of time majestically.
The young Geneva-based manufacture, known for affixing the Geneva Seal to the whole of its production, has today modified the style of some of its creations with the reinterpretation of its skeleton watches. They now feature more decorations and their style is resolutely more contemporary.
Follow-up of a pioneering approach
The Manufacture Roger Dubuis has successfully imposed its unique, inimitable style in only a few years. Well, almost, because the way they skeletonized movements was at first criticized by purists for being extremely contemporary. Nonetheless, it inspired some skeletonizing craftsmen amongst others. Indeed, the visionary brand suddenly made traditional watchmaking seem redundant thanks to its quality work and its stylistic research.
In fairness, we must admit that it is difficult to fully appreciate traditional component cutting palmettes and scrolls after having seen a Roger Dubuis skeleton watch. That is particularly true of a contemporary watch and of course with the exception of die-hards. In short, the futuristic approach of this maison has paid off and it has renewed a style that has deserved to be brought back.
The manufacture has succeeded in creating its own style by daring to be transparent and by giving its designers the carte blanche to create calibers capable of transmitting as much light as possible. The brand, which is almost a trademark, challenged its craftspeople by encouraging them to think outside the box. And – there’s no denying it – they succeeded and the result is light and bright. These new developments reveal particularly advanced open work: the taut lines, the delicacy of the links and a sober and barely highlighted decoration contribute to magnify the mechanisms to a larger extent than traditional treatments. Mannerism, one of the vehicles to convey talent, showcases here skills other than arabesques to entertain the eye. It takes some practice in the art of manufacturing to see the recurrence of a star in the gossamer pattern that serves as a frame to the mechanist expressiveness of the manufacture.
And because it is details that reveal the real magic of creations, we should highlight that the architecture of these skilled open works always takes into account readability even for particularly evanescent displays. That is why the branches of the architectural structure, a sort of skeleton containing the gear, the barrel and the group of regulation in the case’s space are joined at a point where there is a time index. The case is open on both sides to enhance the magic of transparency.
Swirl of light
The Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is the ultimate expression of all this talent. It is proof that the contemporary treatment of this popular movement can indeed achieve stellar dimensions. Choosing to retain this model implied that many maisons followed the skeletonizing trend. Some were even pushed to cut out the new mechanical self-winding calibers with micro-rotors. Knowing that these calibers benefit from having an oscillating weight to reset the barrel, choosing to skeletonize their winding tool seems daring.
Craftsmen therefore need to find a ploy to visually lighten the solid half disk formed by the rim of the (usually) precious metal. In the case of the Excalibur, artists went straight to the point and simply carved the material out to allow light to go through it. This is obviously a first and the treatment of the 167 components of the RD820 SQ caliber does not question the criteria for affixing the Geneva Seal the movement proudly showcases. The caliber sports a circular-grained plate that gives it its carbon hue. This beautiful and aerial object defies the rules of mechanics and magnifies its content by seamlessly demonstrating both its open mind and its high level of watchmaking culture that makes it appreciate the essence of mechanics without any – or very little – artifice.
Geneva Seal and branding
The gossamer set where the gears seem to be caught in the star-shaped metal web is preciously housed in a 42-mm, 18K pink gold case. It is also water resistant to 3 bars and fastened to its three typical lugs we find an alligator strap that closes with a pink gold adjustable deployment buckle. The case is in compliance with the new regulations of the Geneva Seal and can hence affix the precious branding to its metal as well.