Roger Dubuis watches are instantly recognisable for their bold and often futuristic looking designs. However, the brand is not just style without substance. Behind their modern, avant-garde aesthetic is classic Genevan workmanship.
Roger Dubuis, founder of his namesake brand, started his watchmaking career in the 1950s at Longines. He was employed there for nearly a decade and quickly developed a gift for working with complicated watches. From Longines, he moved on to Patek Philippe’s high complications workshop. He remained with the illustrious Genevan brand for fourteen years. Then, he set out on his own and established a repair workshop in the 1980s, serving collectors and auction houses as well as watch manufacturers. During this time, Dubuis made an important connection with a man named Carlos Dias. Dias was a businessman and watch designer who had recently immigrated to Switzerland from Portugal. Soon, the two decided to go into business together, and in 1995, the manufacturer Roger Dubuis was born.
Dubuis and Dias perfectly complimented each other, and their duality is reflected in their watches. Dubuis was understated and old school, while Dias was exuberant and spirited. With their forces combined, they created a brand of watches with the classic technical ingenuity of a brand like Patek Philippe and a distinctly contemporary flair. A year after establishing the brand, they debuted their first two collections: Sympathie and Hommage. Drawing from Dubuis’ work at Patek Philippe, the collections focused on integrating complications not only as functional mechanisms but also as an art form. Using techniques like skeletonization, the brand integrated the watch’s micro-mechanical beauty into the design, resulting in styles that are daring and eye-catching.
As the years went by, the Roger Dubuis brand grew in popularity and size. They expanded into strategic partnerships, namely within the automobile industry. Motorsports was a perfect match for the watchmaker. Both share an inclination toward interesting and impeccable styling backed by mechanical precision. Roger Dubuis first partnered with the racing tire manufacturer Pirelli in early 2017 followed by a collaboration with the car design studio Italdesign a few months later. In the fall of 2017, they added yet a third partnership with the famed Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini.
Roger Dubuis’ work with Lamborghini has been a true marriage of philosophies. Many consider both brands to be free spirits among their respective industry colleagues. They each seek to take a fun, modern, and disruptive approach to a more traditional product, one that directly speaks to the up and coming generation of buyers and collectors. One of the duo’s latest collaborations epitomises the aggressive styling and mechanical prowess of both brands: the Excalibur Huracán Performante.
The Excalibur Huracán Performante is inspired by Lamborghini’s Squadra Corse and the Lamborghini Huracán LP640-4 Performante Coupe. The sports car builds upon the design of the standard Huracán with subtle yet important modifications, each of which Lamborghini has redesigned for maximum performance. The construction of the Excalibur Huracán Performante reflects these design principles. It features a more understated look than the collaboration’s previous Excalibur Aventador S model, drawing visual cues and shapes from the automobile. Most notable is the use of various forms of the hexagon. On the Lamborghini Huracán Performante, one of the standout features is the half-hexagon on the louvered air intakes. Roger Dubuis has taken care to incorporate miniature versions of this shape in the openwork dial of the Excalibur Huracán Performante. In addition, the watch features a new crown that emulates racing nuts on supercar wheels, a twin-barrel ‘energy tank,’ and a multi-material ‘spoiler’, which is used for the decorative open worked bridges. The timepiece’s strap reflects the car’s design as well. It comes equipped with a rubber inlay featuring the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo™ R tire-pattern, creating a perfect hold on the wrist.
While the attention to detail of the design is undoubtedly impressive, the Excalibur Huracan Performante is equally remarkable under the hood. It houses a brand new caliberspecifically designed for this watch. The RD630 automatic movement comes equipped with a 12° inclined balance wheel representing the Lamborghini’s signature calibre. When viewed through the model’s transparent caseback, the circular weight of the movement echoes the design of the wheel rims in Lamborghini’s Huracán family.
At first glance, brands like Roger Dubuis or Lamborghini may simply seem flashy, loud, and extravagant. Certainly, their style is not for everyone. Both companies have carefully cultivated a very specific aesthetic that speaks to a niche group of people. But regardless of whether you are a fan of their designs, it is crucial to recognize what lies underneath the exterior. There is undeniable mechanical substance behind both brands.