Angus Davies reviews the Roger Dubuis La Monegasque Automatic, a watch from the haute horlogerie brand based in Geneva, that bears the prestigious Poinçon de Genève.
Once a year the great and the good descend on the principality of Monaco. Large luxury yachts nestle in the harbours as the beautiful people contemplate a weekend of excitement, the “Grand Prix de Monaco”. It is the ultimate motorsport event and the pinnacle of the Formula One season.
Cars fused of hi-tech materials drive on public roads at voracious velocity, negotiating safety barriers with millimetric precision.
The air is a blend off octane rich vapour and a cacophony of sound resonating off gleaming residences reaching to the heavens.
I once had the good fortune to steer my humble rental car on the track a few days proceeding the race event. I negotiated the chicanes of the “Swimming Pool”, around the sharp right hander of “La Rascasse”, right at “Anthony Noghès”, across the starting grid and yet another right turn at “Saint Devote. However, it is the ascent past the Beau Rivage Hotel, via the left handed corner past the designer boutiques at Massenet, which brings you to the epicentre of glamour and sophistication, Casino Square.
After the crowds disperse, Casino Square remains indelibly linked to the high life. As you sit at the Café de Paris, sipping espresso al fresco, a parade of exotic sports cars saunter past. They are piloted by sartorially attired eligible beaus, catching the gaze of statuesque super-model types reservedly nibbling on the lettuce feast in front of them, quietly appraising potential suitors.
Adjacent the Café de Paris is the iconic Casino Royale. There is no neon or garish garnish on this majestic building. Inside a strict dress code sets the tone. Jacket and tie are prerequisites, no beatnik mode tolerated.
It is the glamour of the Monegasque expressed in its nomenclature and the symbolism of gambling with imagery of a roulette wheel on the promotional material which defines the character of this latest watch from Roger Dubuis. La Monegasque Automatic personifies a daring persona with its unconventional design and confident character.
The centre of the dial is grey with a satin sunburst design. Double indices punctuate the hours, with the exception of the area occupied by the subsidiary seconds and the Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock.
Charcoal Satiné circulaire surrounds the centre of the dial with Arabic numerals in a contemporary font indicating the hours with the exception of the aforementioned 12 o’clock, where the Roger Dubuis name proudly resides.
The chapter ring is in black, with Arabic numerals marking the hours in Times Roman with white text. At the most northerly position on the chapter ring, “60” is depicted in red offering visual interest on a dial otherwise restricted to a monochrome pallet.
The dauphine shaped hands impart time cleanly and add a slightly retro feel to the otherwise contemporary appearance.
The stainless steel case compliments the dial colour and provides a metaphor for strength and masculinity.
The bezel is brushed steel and contrasts with the highly polished surfaces which feature on the other planes of the case.
The diameter of the case is 42mm, perfectly judged, offering both legibility and comfort to its wearer.
Roger Dubuis have earned a magnificent reputation for its movements. What is quite remarkable with Roger Dubuis, is the ascendancy of the brand in its relatively short life, to being considered one of the finest houses of haute horology. It was only founded in 1995, acquired by Richemont in 2008 and is now much sought after by the cognoscenti.
The movement is in-house, a manufacture movement. Domiciled in the Canton of Genève, Roger Dubuis has pursued the highest level of finissage and achieved the ultimate indication of quality, the Geneva Seal, sometimes referred to as the Poinçon de Genève.
Prospective purchasers should take comfort that this level of finishing is the epitome of perfection. Circular graining on the plate, Côtes de Genève on the bridges, 33 jewels beautifully set and all crafted by hand are testament to the skill of the artisans who work for this wonderful brand.
The rotor bears the words “Manufacture Roger Dubuis”, with the Genevan Seal proudly proclaimed. This is no small feat and should not be underestimated. It is the peak of perfection.
Monegasque is a name given to the fortunate few who reside in this principality on the Côte d’Azur.
The symbolism associated with the selected vocabulary promoting the watch is interesting. Words include “daring”, “elegance”, “strength”, “swagger” and “modernity”. All of them seem apt and have congruence with the character this watch personifies.
Playing the high stakes game of roulette, gamblers may wonder whether to gamble on red or black, odds or evens, but the safe money is on Roger Dubuis. There is no gamble with the Monegasque it will provide faultless service and impart pleasure to the wearer for many years to come.
Model: Roger Dubuis La Monegasque Automatic
Case: stainless steel; 42.00 mm diameter; 9.51 mmheight; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.