Roger Dubuis – Watch History
The First Years
The first few years brought two masterful timepiece collections to the public — “Sympathie” and “Hommage” — two individually unique and different collections. One can imagine the two equally different gentlemen, Dubuis and Dias, sitting down, putting their heads together, and working late into the night. The light of the moon coming through the windows; the cool, crisp, Alpine air outside, howling as snow fell and drifted around their workplace, blanketing the Swiss landscape with a sense of calm and beauty as they designed and planned what would become their first two collections.
The Sympathie line featured watch cases reminiscent of pillows with pointed corners, a modern and elegant twist on the more traditional round-cased watches of the past. The Sympathie S37 perpetual calendar watch marked Dubuis and Dias’ debut — one of the first watches they created — and one which is considered to be one of the all-time trademark pieces and signature shapes of Manufacture Roger Dubuis.
In contrast to this, the Hommage line featured more traditional round-cased watches, which according to Dubuis were designed in homage to the great watch brands and craftsmen of the past. One can see a clear reference to the past masters and centuries-old tradition of finely crafted, hand-finished watchmaking in the different aspects of the Hommage line. From the color palate to the more traditional, almost hand-painted script on the dial, the Hommage collection watches show a deep appreciation and nod to the past.
Sympathie and Hommage - A Closer Look
In order to get a better understanding of Dubuis and Dias’ first two collections, it would be beneficial to take a closer look at a specific watch from each of the two lines. The Roger Dubuis Sympathie Chronograph, S34 56 0, in white gold, is an excellent example of Carlos and Roger’s combined work. The pillow-shaped case has a creamy silver mixed with light beige color, reminiscent of the last spots of twilight as it mixes with the faint rays of the early sun on the horizon. This watch is a limited edition timepiece, with only 28 individual pieces in existence. The Sympathie S34 has an off-white, gloss dial with Breguet numerals and black-printing. Delicate, white gold feuille hands, along with matching blue hands for the 30-minute register and chronograph, are encased in a crystal dome of anti-reflective sapphire glass. The movement of the watch can be seen through the sapphire case-back, which has exquisite detailing including a 21-jewel, straight-line lever escapement, a swan-neck micrometer regulator, and a self-compensating Breguet balance-spring. The luminescent white gold case features a stepped-bevel and elongated, polished lugs. A rich, dark blue leather strap from alligator skin weaves its way through an 18-Karat white gold deployant buckle, and like all Dubuis watches, bears a “Poinçon de Genève” as a final, official finishing touch.
Now let us take a look at one of the fine watches from the Hommage collection, the Roger Dubuis Hommage Chronograph Monopoussoir in white gold. This watch is a very elegant, yet understated timepiece from the Swiss-Portuguese team — one that recalls the great hand-work and artistry of Genevan watchmakers of the past, but that is modern and relevant to today’s fashions as well. The round case is made of white gold, so it has the same creamy silver/light beige mix that was seen in the Sympathie Chronograph S34. Like the aforementioned watch, only 28 pieces of this particular watch were produced, making it a very exclusive and limited edition timepiece. The Hommage Monopoussoir has a matte-black dial with Breguet numerals and white-printing (the color combination here is the exact reverse of the Sympathie S34). Polished, white gold feuille hands, slightly skeleton in style, mark the hour and minute, along with smaller hands for the 30-minute register and chronograph, are encased in a crystal dome of anti-reflective sapphire glass. The movement of the watch can be seen through the engraved sapphire case-back, which has exquisite detailing including a 21-jewel, straight-line lever escapement, a swan-neck micrometer regulator, and a self-compensating Breguet balance-spring. The case has a very distinct, finished look with a stepped concave bezel and polished lugs. A light brown leather strap can be secured around the wrist with a white gold tang buckle and a Palladium deployant clasp. Each Hommage Monopoussoir has been chronometer-graded at the Besançon Observatory in France in order to test and assure the accuracy of the watch. And, just like the Sympathie S34 and like all Dubuis watches, this watch bears a “Poinçon de Genève” as a final, official finishing touch, attesting to the excellence in craftsmanship, reliability, accuracy, and long-lasting nature of the watch.
Sympathie and Hommage - Not Your Average Men
While both the Sympathie S34 and the Hommage Monopoussoir share some similar attributes, they are also uniquely different in their own ways. Each of these timepieces stand out and have exceptional details that differentiate them from one other. Two separate types of men could be seen wearing these watches, each with a distinct personality and way of life. Let’s let our minds run free for a moment, letting ourselves imagine what kind of man would wear the watches above. A variety of images are conjured up — a young doctor on his way to the office, an investment banker advising a client, an economics professor lecturing to his students, or a litigator before a judge at the courthouse.
The Hommage Monopoussoir might be worn by Edward, the successful and industrious Vice President of Finance at one of the big four accounting firms in New York. Edward is about 40-50 years old. He has a wife named Catherine, and two children — a son named Blake, and a daughter named Ainsley. Edward enjoys golfing, a good cigar over a glass of whiskey, and spending time at the family’s summer house in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Edward spends a lot of time at work, where he manages about 30-40 employees. He also travels a lot for work, attending many important business meetings and discussing financial matters related to the company. Edward needs a strong, reliable watch that he can depend on no matter where he is in the world, no matter the time, place, or the company he’s with. His watch should exude class, sophistication, masculinity, and the traditional — yet open-minded — values that he possesses. The Dubuis Hommage Chronograph Monopoussoir is a perfect fit for Edward, as it conveys the image that a man like him should have: strong, resilient, accurate, reliable, and built for success.
The Sympathie S34 would be seen on the wrist of Emmett, a young professional, the assistant director of sales at a London-based advertising firm. Emmett is in his late 20s to early 30s. He recently got engaged to his long-term girlfriend Blair, and they’re planning a spring wedding near Wimbledon. Emmett lives in Kensington and enjoys the finer things in life, such as dining out, going to wine tastings, playing tennis, and attending rugby matches with his friends from university. Like Edward, Emmett also spends a lot of time at work, but he enjoys the fast-paced, deadline-driven atmosphere of the advertising world. He’s very good at his job, and if he plays his cards right, he’ll be promoted quite soon. Naturally, Emmett wears a suit and tie to work every day. With that, he pairs a stylish set of black-rimmed designer glasses, and of course his Sympathie S34, which is incredibly versatile and goes with most everything he wears to the office. His Sympathie S34 exudes a cool, confident, and ambitious feel to his attire, and conveys to his colleagues that he can be sophisticated, stylish, and manly at the same time. The untraditional case shape shows that Emmett can be daring and different, perhaps even a bit avant-garde, yet refined and tasteful as well. So, the Dubuis Sympathie Chronograph S34 is just what Emmett needs to complete his look and to put that extreme bit of spark in his stride.
Sympathie and Hommage - The Embodiment of “horloger genevois”
Sympathie and Hommage are the joyful result of a successful collaboration between Dias and Dubuis. The two collections possess all of the features of a watch made by a true “horloger genevois” — from the fine, hand-finished details and expert craftsmanship, to the superior quality materials and sophisticated construction. The watches of these two collections have stood the test of time, showing that traditional watchmaking techniques and true mastery of this craft never go out of style.
By producing these collections, Dias and Dubuis were able to prove that they could blend time-honored techniques with innovation and luxury to create a stand-alone brand in the international watchmaking industry. And by adhering to an extremely demanding level of craftsmanship, they were able to create nearly one-of-a-kind pieces that were able to pass all of the tests and controls necessary for receiving the “Poinçon de Genève” — the ultimate seal of quality in the luxury watchmaking market. With this seal adorning each piece within the Sympathie and Hommage collections, Dias and Dubuis were able to solidify their place next to the likes of well-established firms such as Patek Philippe and Longines, and cemented their identity as a true “horloger genevois”.
Development and Progress - New Collections
After the creation of the Sympathie and Hommage collections, Dubuis and Dias sat down again to collaborate and produce additional collections, such as “Too Much”, “Much More”, and “Follow Me”. Each of these collections was unique in its own way, breaking away from the two earlier lines, and showing the versatility, boldness, and ingenuity of Manufacture Roger Dubuis.
New Collections - “Too Much”
If the consumer takes a look at the “Too Much” line, one will notice that it features a rectangular watch case, taking the pillow-shaped case of the Sympathie collection and blending it with a more traditional elongated square shape. The cases of this line come in a range: white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold. Watch connoisseurs may ask themselves, “Which is the best gold type for me?”, which of course depends on one’s personal preference, skin tone, and wardrobe. Every one has a different style, so it really depends on what works for each person. White gold gives off a more conservative, understated elegance; yellow gold is, and has always been, the most common choice in terms of jewelry and other accessories; and rose gold has a more lustrous tone and pink hue to it, evoking a sunset as it dips below the horizon.
The pieces in the Too Much collection vary in many ways, such as: the numeral style, types of hands, strap color, and functions. For example, the Roger Dubuis Too Much T31 steps away from the more traditional mold of other Dubuis watches and boldly steps out into the limelight. Like a Hollywood movie star, the watch is flirtatious and fun, and it has a big personality. This piece sports a pink-magenta crocodile skin strap, a big pink heart and teardrop adorning the dial, and a yellow gold case encrusted with semi-precious stones. One can imagine a feisty young woman, let’s call her Taylor, or “T” for short (as her friends call her), black leather jacket, white t-shirt, low-cut skinny jeans, and killer gold pumps, hopping onto the back of her hot-pink Vespa, and speeding away down Rodeo Drive. Blonde hair blowing in the breeze, black Ray-bans on, and the California sun glinting off her Too Much T31 as she makes her way down the palm tree lined avenue.
New Collections - “Much More”
The “Much More” collection took the same shape used in the Too Much line, but turned the case and dial in a perpendicular direction, thus creating a piece that spanned the whole wrist. The cases of this line also come in a choice of white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold. A whole range of styles can be seen in this collection — such as the whimsical and colorful Much More Large LE, which features the image of a ship sailing out into the ocean, with the mighty Taj Mahal and part of the Asian continent in the foreground. Big red Roman numerals adorn the dial, along with blue steel hour and minute hands. Another interesting feature of this watch is that it’s automatic, which gives it a slightly more modern feel when placed in juxtaposition with another piece from this collection, the Much More M3298. The Much More M3298 draws on the more traditional watch styles of the past — paying homage to Geneva watchmakers of an earlier century. The sleek lines of this white gold, manual winding watch, are paired with a silver dial, black lettering, and steel blue hands. The crisp, strong features of this watch radiate a confident masculinity, and prove that simplicity can also be elegant.
New Collections - “Follow Me”
The “Follow Me” collection was built on the boldness and creativity of the earlier two lines, and took an even larger step forward, bringing cross-shaped and jewel-encrusted cased pieces to the world of luxury watchmaking. Dubuis and Dias really stepped in a new direction with the construction of this collection, blending handcrafted techniques and quality materials, with a nod to the future and the more colorful world that we live in. The timepieces in this line are full of life and joie de vivre, encouraging the wearer to go forward and to fully embrace the day.
All of the watches produced in the “Too Much”, “Much More”, and “Follow Me” collections have received the prestigious “Poinçon de Genève”, reiterating Manufacture Roger Dubuis’ status as a true “horloger genevois” and placing it in the same league as other Swiss luxury watch firms.
The Millennium Calls - A New Home
With the ringing in of the new millennium, Dubuis and Dias had a lot to celebrate. Their business was moving up and up and expanding at a rapid pace. This growth called for a new home, a new center for the company, a place that would show the brand’s strength and dedication to making top of the line products. With that in mind, a magnificent and modern glass building was constructed in Meyrin, a suburb of Geneva, in 2001.
A New Watch Line is Born
Following on the heels of the newly built headquarters for Manufacture Roger Dubuis, a new and incredibly innovate collection is released, the Excalibur collection. From day one, this line sets a new standard for the company, bringing luxury watch design and technical mastery to a whole new level. All of the watches in this collection fuse complexity with elegance, and classic techniques with bold innovation, showing Manufacture Roger Dubuis’ commitment to its clients as well as the Genevan watchmaking tradition. Every Excalibur timepiece is filled with the expertise and fine craftsmanship that Dubuis learned during his earlier years in Geneva. The old and the new have been seamlessly combined in the Excalibur collection, reminding the wearer that the great watchmaking practices of the past are not, nor will they ever, be forgotten.
Watch aficionados are familiar with the groundbreaking pieces of this collection, such as the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, the Excalibur Skeleton Flying Tourbillon, and the Excalibur Spider Pirelli. All three of these watches are skeletonized and possess a micro-motor, allowing the wearer to see all of the internal mechanisms and movements of the piece, which depending on the watch, range from 167-179. The metal components of each watch are pared down in order to remove any excess material, thus providing a smooth and incredibly streamlined functioning of the piece. Manufacture Roger Dubuis has always been committed to building complex watches — those that are constructed with an eye for detail and precision. The engineering that goes into each watch requires hundreds of hours of work.
Take The Excalibur Skeleton Flying Tourbillon for example - 700 hours of work are needed in order to craft it into a finished piece. This watch has a flying tourbillon, an iconic feature of many watches produced at Manufacture Roger Dubuis. Developed in the 18th century by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, flying tourbillons were created in order to counteract gravity’s natural effect on a watch’s movements. These days, flying tourbillons are more commonly used to demonstrate a watchmaking firm’s technical abilities, as these specific components are very intricate and time-consuming to construct.
Pirelli Tires and Manufacture Roger Dubuis came together and collaborated on a new watch, bringing the Excalibur Spider Pirelli to the market. The timepiece blends titanium and rubber to create an innovative and sporty timepiece. This watch is unique in that it is 100% skeletonized and has a strap made out of real Pirelli racing tires — two features which set it apart from any other watch currently on the market. The Excalibur Spider Pirelli limited edition series feature red, orange, or blue highlights against a black background, adding a bit or pop of color to one’s wardrobe. This watch is perfect for car enthusiasts, for people like “Gérard”, a full-time investment banker and part-time sommelier. Gérard lives in Lyon, is in his late 30s/early 40s, and has a great job in the financial world. He enjoys good wine, sunsets on the French Riviera, and attending the Grand Prix car race held in Le Mans every year. As a child, Gérard dreamt of being a professional race car driver, but eventually gave it up for the comfortable (and less dangerous) lifestyle of the banking industry. He still loves a good race, the excitement of it all, and often jets off to foreign cities around the world to watch his favorite drivers in action. Gérard’s go-to look is a pair of khakis and a white dress shirt with a navy blue blazer over it. His Excalibur Spider Pirelli takes him back to all the races he’s been to, reminds him of all the excitement and energy of the drivers, and adds just that extra bit of adrenaline to get him through the day. And in the end, Gérard never really has to give up his car racing dream — with this watch on, he’s right there at the forefront of the action, behind the wheel, revving his engine, and ready to go.
Monaco - A New Line Debuts
2011 turned out to be a very productive and prosperous year for Manufacture Roger Dubuis. The luxurious beaches and old world charm of the Principality of Monaco attracted the watch firm, where they released a new collection called “La Monégasque”. The world famous Monte-Carlo Casino, an impressive and ornately decorated structure blending the Beaux-Arts and Art Nouveau styles inspired Manufacture Roger Dubuis in the creation of this line. The watches of this collection reflect the opulence and luxuriousness of Monte Carlo, aspects of which can be seen in the colors, materials, and fine attention to detail. Monaco, a compact and wealthy nation, boasts high-end luxury shops, stunning sunsets by the Mediterranean, and the 2nd highest GDP in the world. A rich history and strong royal heritage have made Monaco a glamorous place and playground for those of the upper echelons of society. In this vane, the country was a natural choice and source of inspiration for the La Monégasque collection, which continues to exude grandeur and a sense of noble origins to this day.
One of the pieces which has drawn a lot of attention is the La Monégasque Flying Tourbillon in Rose Gold (Roger Dubuis RDDBMG0010). This watch is a glorious blend of colors which play off of each other delightfully — rose gold surrounding a luminescent silver dial painted with white, gray, and black lettering — cool, dignified sophistication with a touch of warmth. Rose gold hands, as well as a rose gold/silver flying tourbillon adorn the face of the watch. A lustrous sapphire crystal arches over the dial, allowing the wearer to watch the finite movements of the flying tourbillon.
The turquoise-blue waters of the Mediterranean brush up against the soft, white sand beaches of the Côte d’Azur, and provide a stunning place for locals and visitors to rest. Along the exclusive beaches at La Rose des Vents or the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, the La Monégasque Flying Tourbillon pops in and out of view, rays of warm, summer light glinting off of its face. Sunbathers lounge beneath brightly colored umbrellas, and sip cool, refreshing cocktails as the waves roll in. The rose gold hands of the La Monégasque tick quietly, marking time as the sun lowers in the sky, and in harmony with the peaceful ebb and flow of the crystal blue sea.
The doors of the Monte-Carlo Casino open onto an imposing entry hall lined with marble floors and rose colored Corinthian columns. A rich, gilded ceiling, reminiscent of the grand opera houses of Europe, rises above, welcoming visitors. A distinguished man in a tuxedo strolls past, waving to his female companion at the roulette table. As he places his hand around her, the warm rose gold of his La Monégasque comes into view. Then it can be seen up in the air as he raises his arms in joy - the woman beside him has won a round — and he wraps his arms around her in a congratulatory embrace.
Whether by the radiant sea or inside the opulent halls of the casino, the watches of the La Monégasque collection fit in perfectly with the luxurious lifestyle in Monaco. Purchase a watch from this line and you can take a piece of the Riviera home with you.
Glamor Within Reach
Around the same time that the La Monégasque line came out, a new collection, entitled “Velvet”, hit the market. A glamorous and seductive collection, reflecting both the grandeur of the past and the modernity of modern engineering, set a new standard for the luxury watch industry.
Each Velvet timepiece has a minimum of 64 white diamonds set around a white gold or pink gold case. The dials come in a ride array of colors: silver, blue, white, black, and an exquisite mother-of-pearl option, as well as a vibrant and vivid choice of alligator, pleated, or satin straps in a rich selection of colors as well. All of the pieces in this collection are water resistant, possess self-winding mechanical calibers, and have anywhere from 172-183 components inside. The watches of the Velvet line combine mechanical complexity and bold design to bring a level of unparalleled glamor to the owner of each watch.
Take Valentina for example. She’s a young, powerful woman in the world of public relations. As a top level exec in the PR industry, she’s always on the go, running from meeting to press conference to event opening, representing clients at every turn. She needs to have a strong presence and to make an impression, to really stand out, which is guaranteed with her new Blossom Velvet Blue - White Gold timepiece from the Velvet collection. A limited edition watch with 100 brilliant-set diamonds, white gold, and mother-of-pearl dial overlaid with a delicate floral motif makes this a real conversation piece. From the painted flowers and leaves, to the satin-finished strap, varying hues of blue are used in this watch, which really bring out Valentina’s eyes. The timepiece is both feminine and strong at the same time, decidedly colorful and meant to get people talking. This kind of watch is just what Valentina needs, as she wants to make a statement when she enters a room. She wants to convey the type of confident, powerful woman she is, and this watch certainly does just that.
Ingenuity and Progress
Time moves forward, and Manufacture Roger Dubuis looks to the future for its next line of watches. Designers and engineers work together to create a cutting-edge new watch called the Excalibur Quatuor, the world’s first silicon timepiece with four sprung balances, which enters the market in 2013. The Excalibur Quatuor is an exquisite piece of engineering, bringing the trends of the future to the present in a one of a kind watch. The Excalibur Quatuor is an extremely exclusive watch — only 8 of them were made — and the amount of time that went into each one far exceeded that of any of the other collections created by Manufacture Roger Dubuis. A total of 3,120 hours was invested into each Excalibur Quatuor: 2,400 of those hours were devoted to manufacturing, and 720 were dedicated to fulfilling all of the requirements and testing needed to receive the “Poinçon de Genève”, a mark of quality and superior craftsmanship that all Dubuis watches are proud to bear. Some incredibly unique aspects of the Excalibur Quatuor are its multi-layered carbon case (60% lighter than traditional gold cases), and its Quatuor RD101 caliber, an extremely complex piece of machinery that helps offset the natural effects of gravity, allowing each mechanism and movement in the watch to function smoothly and properly each time. The Quatuor RD101 is so advanced that it can instantly right earth’s gravitational pull on the watch, something which takes a tourbillon much longer (about a minute) to do. The result is a more streamlined, more exact, and more finessed piece designed for flawless results.
Manufacture Roger Dubuis knows that function and form go hand in hand, that style and design are also intrinsic features of each piece they create. Improved functionality doesn’t mean that style has to take to take a backseat, nor does it mean that Manufacture Roger Dubuis has forfeited the elegant, bold features that have made their watches unique and stand out among the competition. The Excalibur Quatuor has been designed with a black carbon and red skeleton dial embellished with 18-Karat white gold hands topped with red tips. A black leather strap with red stitching and a black titanium clasp complete the look. The look of the watch is both futuristic and confident. One can imagine the likes of Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent, strong male archetypes, wearing the Excalibur Quatuor. Or perhaps even Everett, a real estate developer in Singapore, as he glides through the streets of the city in his sleek, black Porsche. Hands on the wheel as he makes his way home at night after a busy, but productive business meeting. The bright city lights reflect off the polished black surface of the car, and the Porsche hums quietly as he drives away from the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s most luxurious hotel and lifestyle destination. Bits of moonlight cascade into the car, illuminating the dial of Everett’s Excalibur Quatuor. He grips the wheel and glances at his watch, and a broad, confident smile spreads across his face as the city lights fade into the distance.
Acquisition - The Start of a New Era
A few years after the debut of the Excalibur Quatuor, Manufacture Roger Dubuis experiences some big changes. Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods holding company, acquires Manufacture Roger Dubuis in 2016, taking over full control and ownership of the firm. Since 2016, the change has brought about growth, continued prosperity for the company, and the creation of a wildly provocative and exciting new line in collaboration with Lamborghini, the Lamborghini Squadra Corse Collection.
The Lamborghini Squadra Corse Collection is a hybrid line of watches, intertwining the speed and adrenaline of a high-end sports car and the luxury and age-old traditions of a handcrafted Swiss watch. The timepieces in this collection fuse the physical features of Lamborghini sports cars with the elegance of Dubuis watches, mixing gold with anthracite, rhodium, rubber, and carbon. The Excalibur Huracán Performante, one of the watches in this line, sports an RD630 Automatic 12° Balance, a feature which was created specifically for this collection. The RD630 Automatic 12° Balance helps regulate the movements of the watch, and has a twin barrel power supply, which provides a 60-hour power reserve. In line with the world of sports cars and racing, the RD630 has been designed to resemble a super car wheel rim. The color palette of the Excalibur Huracán Performante is very masculine and athletic — steel gray, black, white, and yellow — like a race car making its last lap at the Le Mans Grand Prix. The complexity of this timepiece is shown by the 233 components of its caliber, some of which can be seen on the skeleton dial adorning the watch.
The Lamborghini Squadra Corse Collection appeals to those who appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship of fine Swiss watches, and those who are filled with the energy and excitement of the on the edge world of car racing. The timepieces in this line have a modern, sporty twist to them, which adds a level of bravado to the already strong Excalibur Collection. One can imagine Paolo, a corporate lawyer in Rome, hopping into his steel grey Lamborghini after a long, busy day at the office. White chinos and an off-white Ralph Lauren dress shirt, paired with a navy blue blazer and black belt. Slick backed brown locks with a side part, brown-rimmed tinted sunglasses, and a suntanned, olive complexion to die for. Paolo is a fun, adventure-seeking guy who likes the thrill of zooming through Rome in his Lamborghini — zigzagging through the small, cobblestoned streets, and racing around such monuments as the Colosseum and the Forum Romano. Paolo also likes the elegance and quality of high-end, luxury products. His Excalibur Huracán Performante is the perfect racing partner for him as he speeds around his hometown, the eternal city of Rome.
An Exciting Future
As we enter the second decade of the new millennium, Manufacture Roger Dubuis will continue to grow, thrive, and adapt to the ever changing demands of the world. Regardless of what may come, those at Manufacture Roger Dubuis will remain loyal to the standards and traditions that they have followed from day one. Manufacture Roger Dubuis will boldly face the challenges of tomorrow, while continuing to produce unparalleled timepieces bearing the “Poinçon de Genève” seal on them. Manufacture Roger Dubuis: a true “horloger genevois” in every sense of the word — then, now, and always.