Watches: Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton

By Thierry Ané on January 6, 2015

I have always been and always will be a huge fan of the “Excalibur” line! I find something interesting, almost intriguing in the “La Monégasque” case and I was truly blown away by the beauty of the “Hommage” collection introduced last year but if I have to choose, nothing comes close to the “Excalibur”!

Ah, this highly distinctive notched bezel, these unique three horns for the bracelet attachment, this large grooved crown, those slender Roman numerals… and most of all this commanding presence on the wrist! If I needed to have only one watch and be happy with that, it could very well be an “Excalibur”…

When there is something so beautiful and masculine and you suddenly hear that the brand has decided to downsize it into the “Excalibur 42”, the first reaction is utter misunderstanding and panic: has Roger Dubuis also given up to the current fad towards minuscule watches?

Regular readers of Watch Agora know how I appreciate normal-sized watches (ie., 44 mm and above) and won’t have any trouble understanding my initial frustration…

… However, if there is a brand that has managed to take an icon and re-invent it in a smaller size with the same emotional content, it is undoubtedly Roger Dubuis with the “Excalibur 42” line. I say it in all honesty: I am the biggest fan of this “Excalibur 42” collection and somehow, I think I like it even more than the original “Excalibur”. Imagine that!

The great "Excalibur 42 Automatic" model with small seconds launched in 2012 is simply perfect for all occasions. I particularly love it in pink gold with a magnificent dark grey brushed sunray dial. I am equally crazy about the two-hand limited series with rare dials (Lapis Lazuli, Mother-of-Pearl, and Onyx) released that same year.

In 2013, I was delighted to witness the launch of an "Excalibur 42 Chronograph". I particularly love the two boutique editions: stainless steel and blue dial or pink gold and brown brushed sunray dial.

The only thing that was missing in this stunning line was the Roger Dubuis technical craziness. To name but a few, I am talking about models like the Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon, the Retrograde Minutes Double Flying Tourbillon, the Double Flying Tourbillon Skeleton, the Flying Tourbillon Monopusher Chronograph, or the Quatuor.

The Excalibur 42 Tourbillon Skeleton, the "big sister" of the new Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton

The unveiling of the “Excalibur 42 Tourbillon Skeleton” in pink gold or white gold was thus a good sign that extraordinary achievements were to be expected in this streamlined collection. The in-house RD505SQ calibre summarises what this brand is all about: sensational technical achievements with unparalleled design.

Few skeleton watches, if any, offer such a degree of transparency paired with such a modern architecture. The movement is bared down to a minimum in a very contemporary almost industrial-like style and the end-result is pure light!

Just like with the “Excalibur” case, when you have achieved such a degree of perfection, it seems suicidal to try and best it. But is a work of art ever finished? Roger Dubuis’s answer is no as they were able to push this skeleton concept one step further by creating the Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton.

The watch that will be officially presented during the SIHH is also a skeleton model but this time with an automatic winding system. The challenge here is that adding an oscillating weight is bound to reduce the transparency and therefore wipe out the skeletonising effort!

Well, as a matter of fact, it does not! Obviously, the brand used its signature micro-rotor winding system but the watchmaking team was also able to incorporate it into the construction of the RD820SQ movement in a way that it becomes almost unnoticeable and does not alter the transparency in any way.

Look at how the micro-rotor placed at 11 o’clock merges in the overall design. It has been hollowed out to let the light go through which is no small feat considering that such a work reduces its inertia (remember that the inertia of a micro-rotor is already smaller than that of a centrally-mounted oscillating weight). Here, this amazing COSC-certified calibre bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva remains capable of storing 60 hours of energy!

The version presented here is in pink gold with brown alligator strap but I am pretty sure we will also see a white gold alternative with black alligator during the Geneva exhibition. I will obviously come back on these amazing timepieces and the rest of the Roger Dubuis 2015 collection during the SIHH with our live material.

For more information please visit the Roger Dubuis web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: