Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon

Angus Davies discusses the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon, recently launched at SIHH 2015. The open-worked watch is a bold design, showcasing an open-worked movement, case and flange.

This detailed review of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon includes live images and specification details.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I find it fascinating how a small insect found in a bathroom can evoke absolute fear. While spiders in some parts of the world may be venomous, those encountered in my native England are innocuous.

A friend of mine morphs from a perfectly normal, sane male, to a quivering wreck on seeing a spider move across his lounge carpet. I have barely been able to disguise my amusement as I have witnessed him scream like an eight year old girl with knotted ringlets and a determined mother wielding a fine-toothed comb.

Spiders provoke a disproportionate reaction in some individuals which is difficult to understand.

Surprisingly, Roger Dubuis, the Genevan-based haute horlogerie brand, has chosen to reference the emotive insect on one its newest models, recently launched at SIHH 2015. The choice of nomen appears a little contentious, but then again, Roger Dubuis has always provoked strong reactions with its bravely styled watches.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Many of the larger, mainstream watch brands choose to employ a safe approach to new product development, ensuring the majority of would-be buyers can identify with the design language employed. Roger Dubuis is different.

The luxury maison is relatively small compared with some of its siblings within Richemont. The altitudinous pricing alone precludes many individuals from considering acquisition. Roger Dubuis is aiming for a small group of super-affluent buyers who seek avant-garde aesthetics and no-compromise construction.

Technical prowess

Although the Swiss brand’s styling may polarise opinion, the technical prowess of the company is beyond reproach. All of the watches produced by Roger Dubuis carry the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, fulfilling the onerous criteria this standard requires.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Roger Dubuis has made the double flying tourbillon a point of differentiation. Each tourbillon makes one rotation per minute. The two tourbilllons are linked with a differential and collaborate synergistically to accord a high degree of accuracy.

Beyond the functionality the double flying tourbillon provides, is the fascinating spectacle of two whirlwinds in motion. The absence of any upper bridges accords the wearer an unhindered view of the mechanical thought processes taking place.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of touring the production facilities at Roger Dubuis and still recall the impressive finishing skills practised in its atelier. The upper surfaces of the ‘Celtic cross’ tourbillon carriages feature peerless mirror polishing, testament to the protracted creation of the movement.

Open-worked movement, case and flange

The Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon also showcases the technical virtuosity of Roger Dubuis. Removing surplus material from a movement requires due consideration of the torsional rigidity provided by the material left behind. The remaining surfaces of the main plate need to be stable and provide firm foundations for the other components to be attached.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Roger Dubuis has launched other skeletonised watches in the past, the first was released in 2005. However, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon takes the concept of open-working to a different level by extending the approach beyond the movement to the case and the flange. The result is a timepiece which is reminiscent of a space frame chassis used in motorsport, but virtually free of any body panels. The resultant design entices the wearer to examine each facet of the watch’s composition.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Modernity is supplied in abundance, courtesy of the titanium and black DLC titanium case. Vivid red aluminium features on the crown and can be seen through the open-worked flange, further enhancing the visual excitement of this timepiece.

Raison d’être

The rationale for the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is not to deliver a long inventory of functions. Indeed, the watch merely displays the hours and minutes. The raison d’être for this watch is to showcase exceptional craftsmanship in combination with thought-provoking design.

With a skeletonised watch, little is hidden from view. The finish of components is of absolute importance to meet the expectations of a discriminating clientele. The finissage of this Roger Dubuis is truly exceptional.

Closing remarks

The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon avoids ‘playing it safe’. The 47 mm case diameter alone may dissuade some prospective clients from succumbing to the model’s charms.

Unlike my friend who has an aversion to spiders, I quite like the industrious insects. This watch is interesting because it does not choose to emulate other timepieces. The bold use of colour delivers a unique and highly emotive appearance which may be loved by some and despised by others. However, I applaud Roger Dubuis for its courage in daring to be different and deliberately avoiding tedious conservatism.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon
  • Reference: RDDBEX0481
  • Case: Titanium and black DLC titanium; diameter 47 mm; height 17.95mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes.
  • Movement: RD01SQ Movement, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz), 28 jewels; power reserve 50 hours; 301 components
  • Strap: Black rubber strap supplied with a titanium folding clasp
  • Limited Edition: 188 pieces

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