Watches: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon (+live pics & video)

By Thierry Ané on January 27, 2015

With the SIHH just behind us, we may not have the perspective yet to determine whether it was a good year or just an average one. I am already convinced, though, that in terms of originality of the products, it was definitely not an exceptional vintage. Everywhere, the new timepieces were beautifully crafted yet lacked this little sparkle to get jaded watch enthusiasts like me really excited. Everywhere, except at the Roger Dubuis booth that is!

Indeed, this amazing Manufacture with all their production certified by the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva offered a breathtaking demonstration of their immense Fine Watchmaking expertise and sensational aesthetic sense. I was absolutely in awe of last year’s “Hommage” collection and the splendid hand-made guilloché work executed directly on the mainplate of the movements. I truly could not see what they would be able to achieve for an encore. I was wrong: I was absolutely blown away by all the timepieces unveiled this year under the theme of the “Year of Astral Skeleton”.

I am still slowly recovering from the huge horological shock I experienced in front of so much mechanical beauty! Having this entire stunning collection on the table in front of me was definitely the kind of watchmaking experience I will not forget soon. Every single piece was a work of art and I will present each and every one of them in the forthcoming weeks with live pictures. My only problem is to decide in which order I should discuss these beauties as I honestly struggle to determine my favourites.

I will therefore start today with a very Haute Horlogerie model with a strong sporty look that places Roger Dubuis as the unique competitor of the Richard Mille laid-back style. The watch in question was on the brand’s posters all over Geneva and I am sure many a journalist arriving from the airport at the beginning of the week must have mistook it for one of Mille’s diver models at first sight. Looking closely, though, the new Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is nothing but pure Roger Dubuis DNA!

What better symbol of Roger Dubuis’ incredible watchmaking knowhow than the “Double Flying Tourbillon”? Several versions of this exquisite complication have been introduced over the years. For instance, one can mention the Excalibur Retrograde Minutes Double Flying Tourbillon that bears all the design codes of this renowned Manufacture or the Double Flying Tourbillon Skeleton that already experimented with skeletonising.

This year’s Spider iteration limited to just 188 pieces comes in an imposing 47 mm case crafted in titanium with a black DLC treatment. Faithful to its “Excalibur” origin, it presents the characteristic three lugs and notched bezel that have made the success of this line but with a definitely sportier and more contemporary vibe than with the gold versions.

This visually powerful frame houses the in-house RD01SQ calibre with the two flying one-minute tourbillons at 4:30 and 7:30 featuring carriages in the shape of a Celtic cross. This manually-wound marvel has been expertly skeletonised with what is left of the mainplate spreading in star shape from above the barrel. The lace-like movement plate is circular grained and received a charcoal grey rhodium treatment that enhances its modernity. From the front or back, every element displays the superlative finishing of a timepiece stamped with the “Poinçon de Genève”.

What makes it resolutely different from previous offers from this prestigious brand is the contrast that the red aluminium ring underneath the skeleton flange brings to this otherwise all-black timepiece. This strong touch of colour is picked up by the crown and entirely changes the visual identity of this amazing watch. To bring an even bolder and sportier appeal to the ensemble, a red aluminium container visible from the hollowed out case band surrounds the movement.

This is strengthened by the choice of rubber for the strap secured by a black DLC titanium folding buckle. Here, let me mention another incredibly good idea: the brand offers the possibility to buy this rubber strap in classic black colour but also in flashier red, white or blue versions. Although I would certainly prefer the black one on the long run, I would love to wear the watch with a more distinctive strap for a holiday!

From every angle, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is an absolute stunner and I was heartbroken when I had to take it off my wrist! If I had to choose only one watch from this Geneva Week, this is it! We all knew Roger Dubuis was able to manufacture exceptional timepieces from a mechanical standpoint. We also knew they were able to provide a strong and distinctive luxurious look. This year, they have brilliantly shown that their design team is also at ease with a sportier style. Brilliant!

For more information please visit the Roger Dubuis web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: