December 15, 2015
by Ariel Adams
For SIHH 2016, Roger Dubuis will unveil a new carbon-cased version of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic 42 Skeleton watch (hands-on here) that was originally introduced at SIHH 2015. One year later, we see a new carbon-cased version which adds an interesting flavor to the Roger Dubuis brand that we haven’t seen yet. I’ll remind you that the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic 42 Skeleton was the first non-tourbillon skeletonized version of the Excalibur watch released by the brand. If you wanted this signature skeletonized look you needed to go full tourbillon, but no longer.
The 2016 Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon (“42” was, seemingly, taken out of the name) continues where its related watches left off last year with a sportier version that will, no doubt, sit lighter on the wrist than a metal-cased version. Carbon is becoming a very appealing material for luxury watch makers, with Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet generally getting credit for making this trend into something high-end watch makers are taking seriously. To my knowledge, this Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon is the first watch from the brand to have a carbon case.
Given the complexity of the Excalibur case and all the little detailed angles (such as on the bezel), I am very interested to see how this case measures up in real life. I further expect significant weight savings compared to the 18k rose gold model but actually not too much compared to the existing DLC-coated black titanium version of the Excalibur Automatic 42 Skeleton that was released last year. The Carbon version will also be black but have a more textured look to the case, of course. You also have a lot of red color elements on the dial for the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon, whereas the DLC black titanium model has a mostly monochromatic dial. In terms of weight, I don’t think the difference between the carbon and titanium case will be that different.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon will be “the” sporty model to have for the real high-end lifestyle experience. At 42mm wide and 12.14mm thick, the Excalibur in this size works really nicely. Water resistance is 30 meters, which isn’t great, but this is only a “sporty” watch, not an actual sports watch.
Inside the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon watch is the in-house made Roger Dubuis caliber RD820SQ automatic which uses a micro-rotor that can be easily seen from the dial side to the top left. The movement, as the non-skeletonized RD820, was originally released in 2005 and continues to be a great workhorse. In skeletonized form, the movement looks really cool finished with a dark tone. Note the delicate perlage decoration on the highly web-like movement bridge surfaces.
The movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a power reserve of 60 hours and is produced from 167 parts. The movement features just the time with hours and minutes and looks amazing when operating on the wrist given all the visual movement. Calibers like this are actually great when trying to learn how a mechanical movement operates because you can literally see everything working in front of you. Given the production effort and processes involved in making the movement as well as where it is made, Roger Dubuis is able to put the coveted Seal of Geneva mark on the movement, like most other Roger Dubuis timepieces.
I have a feeling that I will like the Roger Dubuis Excaliber Automatic Skeleton Carbon watch when we see it in Geneva at SIHH 2016 in January. Roger Dubuis is really focusing on consolidating what they are good at and offering customers looking to spend between $50,000 and $80,000 a lot more bang for their buck than before. With that said, the brand continues to be decidedly niche, offering a bold and avant-garde take on classic Swiss watch making. The Carbon version of the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is not part of a limited edition. Price for this reference RDDBEX0508 Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon is just a bit under the DLC-coated titanium model (making the Carbon model the “entry-level” Excalibur Automatic Skeleton) and is $63,100. rogerdubuis.com