Newly presented, five years in the making - this is the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor. Looks different, is different. It is slightly industrial, thoroughly mechanical, and totally magnificent in every way, and although the SIHH 2013 presentations to the press have only just started, it could well be the star of the show.
It is confounding, is it not that the tricky, complex Tourbillon is in fact not a "complication" at all, merely a resolution to the problem of timekeeping accuracy, originally devised for the upright stance of the waistcoat-confined pocketwatch. It has, however, come to represent the skills of the watchmaker, such is the degree of difficulty of its construction and assembly. A Tourbillon will compensate for gravity, making its fine adjustments over 60 seconds. At Roger Dubuis, Gregory Bruttin and his team have a new solution, a movement which makes its adjustments instantaneously.
The Excalibur Quatuor features four visible balance wheels each at an angle of 45 degrees, working in pairs to achieve immediate rate adjustments regardless of the position of the timepiece. Five differentials link the balances to the gear train. Each balance operates at 4Hz, resulting in an astonishing rate of 16Hz, a rate so fast that the hours and minutes almost become subordinate to the animation occuring in the wings. Even the power reserve indication is new technology, taking the form of a dual crescent shape. Five years of research and development were invested in the creation of the Roger Dubuis Manufacture Calibre RD0101 which comprises of 590 components.
Through the caseback is a panorama which is definitive of Haute Horlogerie anatomy. A chance to view the depth, the micro-mechanics, the science of watchmaking, the wizardry and the exquisite. A movement more than worthy of its Geneva Seal stamp of approval, and the exemplary finishing which it demands.
Such a timepiece is technical in the extreme, but there is also beauty to behold in the arrangement of such an extraordinary compendium of forms. Face-on the clover-leaf outline is expressive and quite delicate, anthracite contrasts with a white minute track and pink gold adds both luxury and warmth and of course, the notched Excalibur bezel provides a chunky, manly frame.
I wrote last week about the re-kindling of the Roger Dubuis brand in the hands of Richemont. For those who were disapproving and unsure if the extravagance and spirit of such a previously independent watchmaking company could be maintained under such a large corporate umbrella, perhaps the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor should provide an answer. Fear not, the drama is back.
More information and specs at the Roger Dubuis website here.
More Roger Dubuis? Allow me to educate you with my SIHH 2013 preview here.