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Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

What you see here is a look that for a while now has been synonymous with Roger Dubuis: a large, round case with triple-lug design, a notched bezel and – the party-piece – an excessively skeletonized movement that makes any and all dials completely redundant. Gears, wheels, springs, cams, bridges, jewels, and other structural elements of the movement are exposed as much as possible, in a vast effort to create some serious eye-candy for the watch enthusiast – the kind not turned off by an arguably more flashy design. Making its debut at SIHH 2015 is a new piece that carries on this tradition, with a different approach: the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, the first watch of this kind that does away with the tourbillon and offers this avant-garde aesthetic without the tourbillon’s hefty pricing premium.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

For years on end, the tourbillon has in many ways been considered to be one of the absolute pinnacles of fine watchmaking – despite the fact that many master watchmakers I had the chance to chat with said that other complications, including a “simple” chronograph (when done right), are much more challenging to create from scratch, than a tourbillon. Anyhow, the tourbillon was a must-have for many ultra high-end brands when it came to creating their top-of-the-line models – state of the art materials, top quality finishing, and bespoke movements have been made “complete” with a tourbillon.

Now, very recently, we have been seeing a developing trend where some brands are tuning down their “non plus ultra” models, ridding them from the tourbillon, but leaving all other design elements – which made these pieces great – intact. This allows brands to deliver their trademark models to a (somewhat) wider audience – Richard Mille could arguably be considered to be one of the more successful brands who started offering some of its top references without tourbillons, say, for example, with the “Baby Nadal” and “Baby Bubba” pieces.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton may look familiar: for the untrained eye it looks deceivingly similar to the tourbillon models of the manufacture – although those more familiar with the finer details and mechanisms of watchmaking will spot the key difference right away. At the 8 o’clock position the tourbillon and its spinning cage have been replaced with a balance wheel, secured by skeletonized bridges and a mirror finished plate. The RD820SQ movement comprises 167 components, most of which have been grey rhodium plated to create that familiar, dark, and technical look we have become used to seeing in Roger Dubuis’ similar watches.

The skeletonization includes hollowed-out bridges, the most peculiar of which is the one found at the 4 o’clock position. This large, star-shaped constellation of five bridges hold the massive mainspring barrel in place, while between it and the balance is the swirling arrangement of wheels and purple jewels: the going-train. While there certainly are more affordable ways of showing your friends how a mechanical watch works, I still like the idea of being able to show the exact flow of energy from the barrel, through the going train, to the balance wheel on such a pompously styled watch. Hidden somewhere deep inside this tornado of eye-candy are some very interesting basic watchmaking principles.

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Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

Situated at the top left side of the – non-existent – dial is the micro rotor of the movement: another relatively rare and yet intriguing piece of watch movement design. Some of these pictures do not give away just how thick a piece of a metal it is. Although the micro rotor has been hollowed out (in an effort to make it work better aesthetically with the rest of the movement), it is crafted from a thick piece of metal (likely 18k gold or platinum), so as to give it enough momentum to properly wind the mainspring that supplies 60 hours of power reserve.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Watch To Debut At SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton will come in a 42 millimeter wide pink gold case, rendering this watch more wearable than its “big brothers” in the collections (several of the tourbillon versions were 45 millimeters in diameter). The Excalibur Automatic Skeleton will make its debut at the SIHH 2015 exhibition, and once it hits the stores, it will carry a price tag of $83,200. rogerdubuis.com

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  • Ulysses31

    Really quite nice, apart from the notches in the bezel.

  • All of which proves how irrelevant a tourbillon is. I like this piece and would not be against owning one…imagine the hours wasted through staring mindlessly at the fascinating workings of this watch. 
    A sales lady tried to entice me with a Patek 5180 once but the six figure price and accompanying gold bracelet were really too much. A work of art, nonetheless!

  • Ulysses31 In case they want to add a GMT function later on.   😉

  • thornwood36

    Hows this on hairy wrists ?

  • DangerussArt

    I like this brand (mostly). The signature notched bezel always bothers me. Proprietary straps too, I do like the way the pull off the skeleton motif., and eschew loads of filigree engravings. Plus, I like saying” Rowjare Dewbwee”.

  • Fraser Petrick

    The Dubuis, and other elegant, complicated (skeletonized) watches are like Mozart vs Satie; ie., cleverness vs simplicity. Personally, I look to simplicity every time: I’m a simpleton.. I can admire Mozart, but he doesn’t sing to me. Dollars aside I could never wear a watch such as the one here reviewed, though I respect the designers. I see such a timepiece as a curiosity and nothing more, something for inside a cabinet or a safety deposit box. For me a watch has to be tool and a friend at the same time. Mozart has too many notes; Satie, just enough.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Chaz_Hen The same saleslady once asked me if I had been working out since the last time I had been to her emporium. I bought  three Pateks,  two Richard Milles and  a whopping Hublot  from her immediately.

  • Jimxxx

    I’d like it much better in white gold or platinum.

  • Fraser Petrick Chaz_Hen So you’re a Mandarin speaker, eh? Cool. How’s that Yoo-Blo holding up?

  • captaina16

    Absolutely fascinating, I spend hours in doctor’s offices and I could utilize the time staring at this work of art. Of course the price is obscene. I cannot and would spend this amount for any watch. Beautiful for the eye to behold but impossible (for me) to own.

  • 5803822

    The R Dubois Notches always look like a bad case of dehydration – other than that –  interesting set up, nice size, but makes one wonder why something so apparently mechanicly *simple” could justify such an astronomic price  – I agree, as previously mentioned here , gold doesn’t seem to be the appropriate material for a skeleton piece.- iridium would be nice

  • Zeitblom

    5803822 One is always told that iridium is ”brittle”, so that might be risky. Never having had the privilege of dropping a piece of iridium on the floor, I cannot however say whether iridium is *that* brittle. However, I do like the way you think. Of course iridium is hard to work with, but whether it is completely impossible to make a watch out of it I do not know. Anyone?  Of course an iridium watch would be extremely heavy, boo hoo.

  • Love the micro-rotor!  An automatic adds to the ludic aspect of a skelotonized watch, for it allows the owner to cause the gears to move… much like a crib mobile.

  • I see the bezel is not getting a lot of love, but i like the look, and think it works just find. This is a brand i do enjoy, and this is a great watch. Couldn’t agree more that it’ll likely look better in a white metal. 

    And, to be clear, I wouldn’t get a view of my wrist through this? The movement sits on top of a mirrored plate? +10 points.

  • Ulysses31

    SuperStrapper I think it is transparent like other similar Roger Dubuis pieces.

  • bichondaddy

    Well….I love looking at the movement….the mini-rotor is really cool…..and wish they would have supplied a video showing how the movement was designed and put together.  Now the case design…..uuuhhhhhh…the notches in the case…what’s up with that????  Did an ex-Invicta designer infiltrate the Roger Dubuis design team????  Just wondering…?   And the price…well…it is what it is…!! 

    That being said….I could spend hours just admiring one on my wrist….!

  • Ulysses31 That would be my assumption, but this quote from the article piqued my interest:

    “…spinning cage have been replaced with a balance wheel, secured by skeletonized bridges and a mirror finished plate.”

    I don;t see any specific ‘plate’, and these marketing images help nothing, with the white background, so I thought maybe they meant the whole movement rests on a plate to eliminate the see-though visibility that always pushes me away from heavily skeltonized watches.

  • David Bredan

    SuperStrapper Ulysses31 Mirror finishing on metal parts is the result of a special polishing technique. The component I was referring to here is that X-shaped part to the top left from the balance wheel ( on the image here: http://ablogtowatch.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Roger-Dubuis-Excalibur%E2%80%93Automatic-Skeleton%E2%80%933.jpg ). Having a reflective rear plate behind the entire movement sounds really interesting though, I wonder how that would work out in practice! Maybe some similarly extravagant brand will come up with something like that.

  • On this blog alone I think I’ve mentioned how that would be an interesting ides probably 5 or more times. At this point, if someone does it, I might have to sue for theft of intellectual property.

  • Altug

    Amazing engineering, terrible design. Too bad.

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