Roger Dubuis hosted a one-of-a-kind experience for the UK press this morning, sharing its SIHH 2015 novelties in London’s Sky Garden, the capital’s highest public garden where outstanding views rivaled the timepieces on display.
There, I had pleasure of re-discovering the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon, which caught our eye when it was released earlier this year at SIHH. But most of all, I finally got my hands on the brand’s new Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon, one of the most innovative designs launched this year, by Roger Dubuis and otherwise.
According to the brand, the gem-set rubber bezel took almost two years to develop. Led by renowned Geneva-based gem-setting specialist Pascal Vincent Vaucher, the technique codenamed “Soft Stones in the Sky” at Roger Dubuis, is subject to a registered patent.
It’s no secret that particular patent is shared with another Swiss watch brand, Ulysse Nardin, who unveiled another rubber bezel complete with diamonds when it launched its latest Marine Perpetual only months after Roger Dubuis’ novelty.
If the double launch created some confusion over the patent, since the brands are direct competitors, they showcase very different takes on the technique, the later presenting a much more colorful watch combining a different set of functions.
Meanwhile, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon has Roger Dubuis written all over it, with the diamonds enhancing the iconic cut of the brand’s bezel. The watch also features a resolutely modern flying tourbillon at 7.30 o’clock as well as a highly skeletonized dial revealing the in-house RD505SQ movement.
While pulling off a diamond watch is an art that continues to elude me, I could also greatly appreciate what the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon does for men. I found that setting diamonds on black rubber gives it a very masculine edge, much more than on a rose gold bezel. If ever I could pull the look off, it would be with this particular watch.
Personal goals aside, this diamond-set bezel successfully takes on a larger issue in the watchmaking industry. Whether we were meant to discover the diamond-set rubber bezel in one, or two different designs, is neither here nor there. What is does however, is offer a rare challenge to Hublot’s well-mastered “fusion of elements.” And I expect to see more brands take on that challenge in the future.
The Roger Dubuis Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon is limited to 88 pieces, priced at
£ 132,000 or approximately $ 200,000.