Last year, Roger Dubuis introduced their first carbon-case watch, and this year for SIHH 2017 we see them push the use of carbon even further. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Carbon Spider watch adds the first ever carbon movement plate, bridges, and tourbillon upper cage to be made entirely in carbon. This very light case and mainplate combination not only strips away weight but enhances performance, resulting in a very cool-looking black and red (hence, “Spider”) watch that is emblematic of Roger Dubuis’ commitment to stripped down horological performance that doesn’t give up an aggressive attitude just because it’s technically “minimalist.”
Since I typically prefer a strict dedication to conservative design, there was an initial hurdle in my appreciation of what makes Roger Dubuis watches so special. However, I have come around. Roger Dubuis’ dedication to continuously pushing the boundaries of their creativity through their use of materials is hard to deny, no matter what you think of the aesthetics. The automotive-inspired honeycomb pattern on the dial creates a little cohesion by creating a spider web effect (even though it’s a “honeycomb” pattern) throughout the dial that looks very cool. After all, a clean shot of some arm hair would kind of take away from the piece, right?
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Carbon Spider watch has a 45mm case that wears well considering its diameter and 14.02mm thickness. It’s something I am wary of any time case sizes move past the 44mm range, but as we can see here, so much of the on-wrist experience comes from the lightweight materials used. The crown, caseback, and inner ring on the dial are made of titanium and vulcanized rubber, with the bezel featuring red lacquer for that vivid color. Oddly enough, it was the bezel that initially pulled me in but the dial is really where all the action is.
The honeycomb configuration I mentioned earlier is definitely a sight to behold and this pushes way beyond the usual, everyday skeletonized design approach. The multiple layers are highly defined and definitely over-the-top in the best way possible. It’s a dial that keeps you looking closer and closer as you discover exciting new nuances with every glance. The red accents we saw throughout the bezel continue along the minute track, and the skeleton hands in black PVD-coated gold with those red tips aggressively punctuate the dial’s serious complexity and leave the tourbillon cage proud and open for all to see.
Now, on to the movement. Beating within the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Carbon Spider watch is the hand-wound caliber RD509SQ. Continuing the carbon theme, the movement features a multi-layer carbon plate, bridges, and tourbillon upper cage that matches the honeycomb decor above. What’s even more interesting about the material here is Roger Dubuis’ use of T700 carbon, which is a particularly rigid type of carbon that results in 8% less porosity than other types of carbon and a 30% reduction of weight facilitating the rotation of the upper tourbillon cage.
The manual-wind movement is made of 179 parts with 19 jewels and measures at 16mm wide and a slim 4.28mm thick. It operates at 21,600vph (3Hz) and due to the lightweight nature of the carbon used to build it, power reserve is increased to 70 hours.
Taking a quick step back outside of the mesmerizing movement, we can even see the thick multi-layer carbon work throughout the lugs as well. They integrate perfectly with the black rubber strap, which has a red Rubber-Tech fabric-like inlay and red stitching throughout. It usually takes a lot for me to warm up to a rubber strap, but I can’t see a watch this bold and exciting on anything else. Besides, it works so well with the titanium DLC crown in the same matching red vulcanized rubber theme.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Carbon Spider demonstrates the brand’s commitment to slicing and dicing away at cases, movements, as well as the established norms in watchmaking and use of materials. Even if the style isn’t for you, it’s almost impossible not to recognize that Roger Dubuis is making unique, well-thought-out, cohesive, and inspired watches like this one that have two or three colors applied to a skeletonized dial and movement without once falling into being uninteresting, minimalistic in a dull sense, or trying too hard to grab attention. Even as someone that finds himself perfectly content with the archetypal dive watch on most occasions, I have to say that my esteem for Roger Dubuis is once again raised by this watch. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Carbon Spider is limited to 28 pieces and is priced at 180,000 CHF. rogerdubuis.comKeep up with all our pre-, post-, and live SIHH 2017 coverage here and on your favorite social media channels with #SIHHABTW!