The Roger Dubuis Velvet with amethysts and spinels has an obvious beauty. However, beneath its exquisite physical appearance, there are many inner virtues.
Like many individuals, I am guilty of forming opinions based on misguided preconceptions. As children we are often told, “don’t judge a book by its cover” and yet we continue to do this throughout our lives.
Earlier this year, I made the annual pilgrimage to SIHH in Geneva and attended various functions hosted by the exhibiting brands.
Roger Dubuis kindly invited me to a lavish event, with medieval symbolism congruent with the company’s chosen brand DNA. Indeed, Roger Dubuis often uses symbolism, such as swords and castles, to market their bravely designed luxury timepieces.
I sat in a dungeon-like venue, with an elaborately decorated long table in front of me, lined with other incredulous guests. I don’t think anybody knew what to expect next. Then in one awe-inspiring moment, an eagle soared above our heads, seemingly mere inches above our scalps in an unprecedented display of showmanship. The mood was set for a memorable evening.
Later, I retired to a smaller room for after dinner drinks and chatted to fellow guests. It was here I was introduced to a friend of the brand, Daphne Guinness. I had heard of the famous muse and could not fail to notice her spellbindingly stunning appearance. However, to my shame, I carried a preconceived notion that she would be a diva and a demanding character who craved attention, barking orders to her minions. My prejudgment was to prove “way off the mark”.
I found her to be remarkably grounded, despite being blessed with fame and fortune. She had a soft, caring demeanour which was intoxicating to behold and I fell under the spell of her inquisitive brown eyes and Gaelic charms.
In so many aspects of life we admire the chocolate box prettiness presented, only to find the taste of the confection, once sampled, is less than sweet.
Daphne would appear to have been an astute choice of friend for the Genevan horologer. I have visited their Manufacture in Meyrin and witnessed the exalted craftsmanship exampled within their handsome timepieces.
Roger Dubuis produce some of the finest timepieces in existence. Indeed, they are the only manufacture “to be 100% Poinçon de Genève certified”. The beauty of their watches is not merely external but also housed beneath the graceful lines of their statuesque horological gems.
I was recently asked by a female editor, “If you were a woman, which are the ten watches you would buy?”. I have been thinking about the answer to this question for a few days and compiling my ideas to the well-thumbed notebook which resides on my bedside table. The first timepiece recorded to paper, with a hasty nocturnal scribble, was the Roger Dubuis Velvet with amethysts and spinels.
The black dial is sexy and provocative. It seduces the soul and intoxicates the eyes with its brushed centre, coquettishly toying with light.
Sword-shaped hands repeat the warrior-like symbolism often associated with the Roger Dubuis Excalibur range, yet in this instance, they appear über-feminine courtesy of their silver-coloured faceted form.
The elongated Roman numerals are luxurious and extravagant, their lithe form imparting time with a knowing stare. They are black, but outlined in purple to aid legibility.
Roger Dubuis have created depth with this watch, with a recessed barrel-shaped central area. It once again plays with light, creating alluring areas of brilliance and shade.
Beneath noon, the brand’s nomenclature resides, proudly proclaimed in white capitalised text.
The Black DLC titanium case is set with 46 amethysts (0.74 carats approximately) with the lugs and decor set with 40 spinels (0.50 carats). The gems are perfectly sized and set, harmoniously coalescing in sublime splendour.
Whilst the amethysts and spinels are of uniform appearance, they somehow hypnotise with their faceted form, capturing light and refracting it in a myriad of ways. They resemble the fascinating images I remember as a child with my kaleidoscope clasped between inquisitive hands.
The case diameter is 36 mm, perfectly suited for a feminine wrist.
A black-satin strap presented on a black DLC and steel deployant completes the enticing ensemble.
The RD 681 is a self-winding manufacture movement. The prowess of Roger Dubuis is their ability to create their own calibres in-house. They are vertically integrated, even making their own balance springs.
It is the execution of the RD681 which titillates my horological tastebuds with its fine finishing.
The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif. However, close scrutiny reveals this has been performed to a peerless standard.
The perlage on the mainplate is blemish free. I still recall seeing the hidden surfaces of components with the perlage expertly applied. They will never be seen by the wearer and are only known to the watchmaker, but the maison’s adherence to horological etiquette dictates that fine finissage should still be practised nevertheless.
Special jewels are used, 33 in total, to comply with the onerous standards necessitated to achieve the Poinçon de Genève.
Whilst the watch merely displays hours and minutes, 168 parts feature within, all made to a matchless standard.
There is much intelligence and appeal beneath the bewitching mien of this adorable timepiece. Some may not like its unusual appearance, but I for one am seduced.
To bear the Hallmark of Geneva on its surface, a rigorous set of criteria must be met. Roger Dubuis have repeatedly shown it has the competence to achieve this most arduous feat, courtesy of the adroit artisans who work in its atelier.
I understand the relationship between Daphne and Roger Dubuis. They are both imbued with creativity and evoke a sense of individuality and glamour.
Where there is a disconnect is that Roger Dubuis have marketed the watch as a “Diva” in its promotional material, however, Ms Guinness is anything but.
Daphne’s greatest appeal is the inner beauty she revealed, when I briefly made her acquaintance earlier this year. This is her hallmark and one I will never forget and a trait she shares in common with the gorgeous movement within the Roger Dubuis Velvet with amethysts and spinels.
Model: Roger Dubuis Velvet with amethysts and spinels
Case: Black DLC titanium; diameter 36.00 mm; height 8.74mm; water resistant – 3 Bar (30 metres ); sapphire crystal to front and caseback
Functions: Hours; minutes.
Movement: RD821, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve 48 hours, 168 parts
Strap: Black-satin strap presented on a black DLC and steel 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.