Sports car prices have been going up over the last few years (along with everything else), and, in this instance, the car is actually priced more than the watch. That is impressive given the roughly $850,000 USD price point of this ultra-high-end Swiss Roger Dubuis timepiece. The 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 automobile that inspired it had a starting price of over $2.6 million, and was limited to only 112 cars. The newer Lamborghini Countach may not be as disruptive as some of the original models, but it is still a highly enviable ride from a brand Roger Dubuis has been working with for a number of years now. One of the latest limited-edition collaborations between the two luxury companies includes this Excalibur Spider reference RDDBEX0988 double flying tourbillon timepiece with a white-colored case produced from mineral composite fiber (MCF).
Reports have been coming back that MCF is a tricky material to work with, so it is unclear if Roger Dubuis will continue with this interesting material in the future, but the concept is sound. Modern trends have high-end complicated watches like the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider (the base model) using lighter-weight materials and those from the words of automotive and other vehicle racing. That has prompted the use of various carbon composite materials that are valued due to their actual use in performance sports, interesting organic textures, lighter weight, and, of course, their exotic-sounding names. Where carbon has issues is with lighter colors because the base material is black. How, then, do you achieve a high-end white-colored watch? One option is white ceramic (zirconium dioxide, for example), but that has issues when it comes to how precisely it can be machined (especially with skeletonized parts) and also long-term durability. (While ceramic is highly scratch resistant, only certain shapes and thicknesses are shock-resistant enough.) Ceramic is also not particularly lightweight.
The quest for white-colored materials that can be cut into the complicated shapes Roger Dubuis Excalibur watches often find themselves in led the Geneva-based team to mineral composite fiber. The material is nice, but I think the search will continue for the perfect white case materials that have the benefits of carbon and other modern composites. The case is also 47mm-wide with a bezel and other parts produced from titanium. The white color on the bezel is applied using lacquer. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal, and the case is water resistant to 50 meters.
One can easily see how complex the case construction must be, including the various materials and many parts that go into it. That intricacy, of course, pales in comparison to that of the caliber RD112 manually wound mechanical double-inclined tourbillon movement, which is designed and produced in-house by Roger Dubuis. The movement is all about visual impressions and technical specs. The two inclined tourbillon systems are connected via a differential system and the 90-degree angle of the tourbillons actually presents more accuracy over time than a horizontally angled one. That said, this is undoubtedly an expensive movement, and much of that cost goes into its architectural look and intricate construction.
The caliber RD112 movement has 72 hours of power reserve, while both of the tourbillons operate at a frequency of 3Hz. The movement comprises 295 parts and has a central bridge architecture designed to evoke the rear window and body section of the Countach car – complete with window slats. While the futuristic, automotive-inspired looks of the RD112 movement aren’t for everyone, it is nevertheless a very impressive mechanical sculpture and further bears the prestigious Seal of Geneva (Poinçon de Genève), which is both an indicator of manufacturing origin and of aesthetics and performance.
The fun red accents on the inner strap and caseback are nice to look at when you take the watch off. You can see that Roger Dubuis has a quick-release mechanism for the bespoke-made strap, which is rather interesting to look at but also admittedly very comfortable to wear. As impractical as this watch is from both a design and cost perspective, it is remarkably comfortable and not difficult to read when telling the time. Brand is an interesting thing to talk about because while this is an official timepiece produced in collaboration with Lamborghini, the car maker’s name does not appear on the watch. Rather, the “Countach” name is printed on the sapphire crystal caseback, with the dial of the watch having only Roger Dubuis branding on it. This might be intentional because of the “car watch curse.”
That is a tongue-in-cheek reference to some of the more aspiring car-branded timepieces that nevertheless didn’t do so well with consumers. One solution to this that may have helped is a bit more restraint with printing brand names all over a watch — which Roger Dubuis can certainly be credited as having done on the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach White Mineral Composite Fiber 47mm timepiece.
While this white MCF and titanium Excalibur Spider Countach timepiece is very cool, it is also very niche and very expensive. I love the aesthetic style Roger Dubuis is going for but feel that the brand doesn’t need to aim so high with the pricing. Maybe just one tourbillon? Or a more simple concept altogether? The idea is that the white case, aggressive futuristic styling, and brand appeal is perhaps a bit more palpable at more down-to-earth prices. No doubt, there are a few people happy to purchase all eight of this limited-edition set, but I can’t help but feel that if this watch cost in the $20,000 – $30,000 USD range, it would help Roger Dubuis expand into that many more markets. If or when that will happen is entirely theoretical at this point. Until then, we have these high-end delicacies to enjoy, and they still cost a bit less than the cars that inspired them. Price for the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach Mineral Composite Fiber 47mm reference RDDBEX0988 is $851,000 USD. Learn more at the Roger Dubuis website.