The Roger Excallibur World Time is a piece unique, created to mark the first anniveray of Harrods’ prestigious Fine Watch Room. Angus Davies reviews this exceptional watch from the Genevan haute horlogerie brand.
Louis Cottier developed the first world time watch in 1931. The timepiece allowed the wearer to simultaneously see the “home time” and “local time”. This was an ideal complication for the seasoned traveller or the businessman conducting trade in two time zones.
Roger Dubuis have created a unique world time watch for the iconic store, Harrods.
Harrods are celebrating the first anniversary of their prestigious Fine Watch Room being inaugurated. This is a premier destination for admirers of haute horology. There are few places in the world which can surpass the extensive array of horological marques on offer.
To celebrate this landmark in Harrods’ illustrious history, the company has commissioned several unique pieces. A recent visit to the prestigious SalonQP event in London allowed me to familiarise myself with several of the horological wonders exclusive to the famed department store which dominates the streetscape of upscale Knightsbridge.
Several unique models caught my eye. However, a recent visit to the Roger Dubuis atelier on the outskirts of Geneva compelled me to focus on a decadently wonderful piece bearing their name.
I have long been an admirer of the ground-breaking designs of Roger Dubuis. The brand is relatively young in watchmaking terms, being formed in 1995. Yet, in its short history it has established itself as a manufacture par excellence. All of its timepieces bear the Poinçon de Genève. I can’t recall another watch brand who can make a similar claim.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur World Time has been an established model for some time. But, this is no regular version, if there is such a thing with Roger Dubuis. This is a one-off.
Sword-shaped hands for hours and minutes, sit with the warrior-like persona of the range. They are presented in 18-carat pink gold, perfectly matching the richly indulgent case.
The dial is presented in black with a sunburst motif.
Roman numerals denote the hours. They are depicted in white within the centre of the dial and extend outwards, changing to gold near the periphery.
The white section of the numerals is omitted between 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock. This area is reserved for two vertically elongated apertures. These gold framed windows reveal two city discs. This is where Roger Dubuis plays its poking winning Royal Flush. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur World Time has three time zones not the usual two, normally found on fine watches.
Roger Dubuis have taken an elevated complication and then lifted it still further to another level. I don’t know why I am surprised. This is a brand famous for its double flying skeleton tourbillon. They never cease to push the horological performance envelope at the atelier residing near the state of the art research facility, CERN.
Towards the centre of the dial are two subdials. Each of these features a red triangle, pointing to the adjacent city on the disc wheel. Moreover, the subdials show the hours in the specified time zone courtesy of a long hand. A short hand is used to indicate day or night.
Roger Dubuis have personalised this watch unlike any other world timer I have ever seen. View the right city disk, depicted adjacent the crown, and you will find the name, “Harrods” presented in their legendary green hue. This has to be the ultimate watch for any discerning shopper.
It is a certain type of person who purchases a Roger Dubuis. They seek horological excellence, respectful of traditional Swiss craftsmanship. But, they also seek modernity and individual design. A Roger Dubuis client is an innovator. They are a leader not a horological lamb succumbing to the branding followed by the masses.
The design language is bold and extrovert. The shape is brave treading an individual path not the well-worn route frequented by the populous.
I like the styling of the Excalibur line of watches. They suit my gregarious, fun-loving nature. I use this phrase carefully, because this is not a frivolous offering. This is a serious watch and the clear result of patient endeavour.
A 45.00 mm case provides a substantial footprint on the wearer’s wrist. It is well-judged and compatible with the intended character of the timepiece.
The castellated bezel is highly polished. It provides pleasing contrast with the satin brushed horizontal surface of the crown guard.
The crown guard is multi-faceted. Its construction is involved and complex. However, study the models within the Roger Dubuis collection and it becomes evident. This company does not seek expedience at the expense of excellence. Yet, perfection is the fruit of patient endeavour as any master of terroir will attest.
A date corrector features on the westerly aspect of the case, on the satin brushed caseband. It is designed to be operated by inserting the corner of a credit card. A simple user-friendly idea. It is eminently logical to any seasoned shopper.
The caseback features a sapphire crystal to indulge the wearer with a view of the peerless RD1448 movement.
Another detail which is worthy of mention is the three lug strap attachment. It is sympathetic with the character of the watch, personifying strength and brave design.
There are few manufactures in the world which can surpass the mastery of movements like Roger Dubuis.
Traditions are respectfully observed with in-house gestation of expertly bevelled and polished components.
Close examination of the RD1448 movement reveals Côtes de Genève motif on the bridges. The watch is self-winding courtesy of an aristocratic rotor presented in gold with italicised inscription.
The plate is magnificently decorated with circular graining.
Unlike the majority of watch companies including the majority of manufactures, they even make their own balance springs in a secret room within the factory to their own special recipe.
Approximately every two weeks, inspectors visit the atelier. They audit the production facilities. All working practices will be appraised and checked against the 12-point criteria which allows Roger Dubuis to use the Poinçon de Genève on its watches.
The quality conferred by the Hallmark of Geneva is onerous to achieve but delectable to the cognoscenti who savour every nuance of its fragrant bouquet and ambrosial flavour.
It takes 624 hours of manufacturing to create the RD1448 movement including 187 devoted to the Hallmark of Geneva.
The result of 405 parts, including 69 jewels, expertly crafted by some of the finest talent within the Swiss watchmaking industry, is a stupendously sublime causatum.
In my relationship, I am the high-maintenance partner. My wife, does not shop with the same voracious appetite as I. My navigating aisles in boutiques would confer Olympic medals if the IOC would consider shopping a worthy sporting discipline.
Roger Dubuis have crafted a very special timepiece which would perfectly suit my needs for consuming luxury goods made without compromise. However, wherever my wanderlust took me, I could always look at the dial of this watch and be reminded of the haven of high living which is forever England, Harrods.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur World Time is an outstanding timepiece, conferring power and masculinity with its exuberant design. Yet, beneath its handsome lines, mechanical prowess confers quality and mechanical perfection born through the relentless obsession with excellence.
Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur World Time – piece unique Harrods
Reference: piece unique Harrods
Case: 18-carat pink gold; diameter 45.00 mm; height 15.95 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
Functions: Hours; minutes for local time; 2nd and 3rd time zones shown on two subdials with day / night indication.
Movement: RD1448, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 69 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
Strap: Black alligator strap with 18-carat pink gold deployant.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.