High Complication Meets Aggressive Super Cars
Roger Dubuis makes watches that command your attention. The full force of a Roger Dubuis timepiece’s intricate and complex design is felt on impact, their signature labyrinthine dials are immediately recognisable. There’s no question, then, why the Swiss watchmaker teamed up with Italian car brand Lamborghini – known for its equally striking aesthetic – to produce a line of watches. This year, Roger Dubuis unveiled its latest Lamborghini collaboration at SIHH 2019 in Geneva: the Excalibur Huracán collection.
The new range joins a long line of elaborate Roger Dubuis timepieces. Its modern collection, after all, was borne from a desire to make timepieces that were avant-garde in their design; “extravagant, rebellious, elegant” in the company’s own words. For such a relatively young company (especially so when compared to watchmaking veterans like Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Longines, and Blancpain), Roger Dubuis has truly cemented its reputation for assertive design.
Roger Dubuis Path to Watchmaking
In the late 1950s, the company’s founder and namesake, Roger Dubuis, started his career in watchmaking as a repairman for Longines. He later took up a post at Patek Philippe in its high complications workshop, moving on to watchmaking and construction. He stayed at Patek Philippe for 14 years, during which time he honed his talents and mastered the art of watchmaking. Following his departure from the company in 1980, Dubuis set up his own workshop where he performed watch and clock repairs for several different clients, and even started developing his first complication: a perpetual calendar module with retrograde displays.
As a company, Roger Dubuis started to take shape in the following years. At the time, Dubuis the man was working with esteemed complications designer Jean-Marc Wiederrecht on a bi-retrograde perpetual calendar watch for Harry Winston. The two men operated out of Geneva, often frequenting a particular cafe in the city. It was here that Dubuis met his future creative visionary, the man responsible for guiding the company towards its signature brand of exuberance: Carlos Dias. At the time, Dias was a waiter at the cafe who, fortuitously, harboured dreams to start a watch company.
Dubuis X Dias
Over the following years, Dias did his best to convince Dubuis to found his own watchmaking business – and he eventually succeeded. The two launched a commercial partnership in 1995. Originally named Sogem SA (Société Genevoise des Montres) but later changed to Manufacture Roger Dubuis, the company had Dias at the helm as CEO and designer, and Dubuis as the master watchmaker. Their goal was to combine incredible watchmaking with cutting-edge design – and they most certainly succeeded. The original collections were, naturally, impeccably built and included particular aesthetic features that set them apart: the Sympathie model, for example, resembled a cushion with sharp corners.
Launch of the Excalibur
Dubuis remained with the company until his retirement in 2003. Once Dias took over, the brand’s aesthetic became sharper and bolder, evolving into bearing the ornate displays it is now renowned for. The first Excalibur collection was launched in 2005, and it came with an exclusive double tourbillon movement. This marked a special occasion for the brand, with the Excalibur fast-becoming one of its most iconic timepieces. In the following year, Roger Dubuis presented six new movements at SIHH, bringing the company’s total number of proprietary movements to 28.
Two years later, in 2008, Dias sold his stake, and Roger Dubuis joined the Richemont Group, which also counts Officine Panerai, Piaget, A. Lange & Söhne and many more among its brood. Sources cite the impending recession as the reason Dias left the company, but in spite of his departure, his creative vision lived on.
In 2017, Roger Dubuis launched its first collaboration with Lamborghini, introducing a new version of the famed Excalibur called the Aventador S. Sharing a name with the prized Lamborghini coupe, the Aventador S bore equally adventurous features as previous Roger Dubuis models, along with design elements inspired by motorsport. The partnership couldn’t have been a better fit, with the two brands’ aesthetics complementing each other quite perfectly.
2019 Onwards – Cementing It’s Partnership with Lamborghini
Fast-forward to 2019 and Roger Dubuis has released its latest Lamborghini collection containing a pair of distinct watches heavily evocative of motor-racing: the Excalibur Huracán and the Excalibur Huracán Performante. The new Excalibur Huracán range is inspired by Lamborghini Squadra Corse, the car manufacturer’s racing team, and its tyre provider, Pirelli. It is named after the Lamborghini Huracán, one of the brand’s signature car models.
The collection’s tributes to Lamborghini and Pirelli are numerous: the hexagon motifs that appear on each of the watches mirror the honeycomb pattern used throughout the car; numerals are reminiscent of a speedometer; and the bridges resemble the shape of a strut bar, just to name a few. The limited edition Performante takes its motor-racing roots one step further with a fluted crown designed to look like a wheel nut and a strap that includes a rubber inlay with Pirelli’s very own tyre patterns.
Inside the watches, Roger Dubuis’s in-house Caliber RD630 delivers a 12° angle balance escapement with an automatic winding mechanism, developed just for the Lamborghini partnership. The calibre has a twin barrel power supply, which offers a power reserve of 60 hours. Expertly made, this is the first time this movement has been used in a watch.
The naming of the collection pays even more respect to Lamborghini’s rich history of producing vigorous automobiles. Like most other Lamborghini models, the Huracán car is named after a famous bull. Specifically, it’s the name of a legendary Spanish fighting bull from 1879 that was renowned for its powerful attack. It also happens to mean ‘hurricane’ in Spanish and is the name of the Mayan god of wind, storm and fire.
Given the car’s reputation for speed, endurance and power, the name ‘Huracán’ offers an incredibly accurate impression. Moreover, it makes sense that the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán collection bears the same title. With their strapping appearance and robust interiors, the timepieces echo the strength and durability of their almighty namesakes.
We carry Roger Dubuis at Malmaison by The Hour Glass. Just off Orchard Road in the heart of Singapore. Stop by and have a look at a range of Roger Dubuis watches in person.