Watches: Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton Collection (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on February 12, 2015

Today, I am delighted to come back to the brand that impressed me most by a mile at this year’s SIHH: Roger Dubuis. I have recently praised the amazingly good-looking Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon in an article featuring our live picturesWatches: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon (+live pics & video) and a video of this modern skeleton timepiece and I now would like to draw your attention to another exciting creation: the “Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton”.

Exit the strongly masculine and extremely powerful 45 mm Excalibur case: these “Automatic Skeleton” timepieces belong to the more elegant and unassuming “Excalibur 42” line. The more restrained dimensions, however, do not mean in any way that we lost the strong Roger Dubuis aesthetic identifiers: the three lugs, notched bezel and sophisticated grooved crown are still here with an amazing blend of satin-brushed and mirror-polished finish.

This exquisite case houses a show that reminds us of the stunning hollowed-out work of the Excalibur 42 Tourbillon Skeleton introduced in 2013. Once again, the Manufacture offers us a sensational display of how contemporary skeleton work can be but for the very first time, it is done on a self-winding calibre and not the usual manually-wound movements.

Indeed, the new “Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton” models are powered by the time-only RD820SQ movement featuring a micro-rotor visible from the dial side! The presence of this oscillating weight, however, does not bring down the transparency of the movement. In pure Roger Dubuis’ style, the watchmakers played with the design of this element to make it part of the star-shaped see-through movement. Indeed, the micro-rotor itself has been skeletonised!

If this seems to make perfectly sense from an aesthetic viewpoint, it appears counter-intuitive to say the least from a technical standpoint. Indeed, moving from a centrally-mounted rotor to a smaller-sized counterpart translates in a loss of inertia and consequently of winding power. To compensate for this reduction in efficiency, most micro-rotors are made of heavy metals like platinum to increase the momentum and rotating power.

Therefore, skeletonising it should in theory reduce its efficiency to the point where it is no longer sufficient to wind the watch. Being able to do so while providing enough energy to accumulate the 60 hours of power reserve proves how technologically advanced this Manufacture is. And, I can assure you that this micro-rotor truly spins like crazy!

While preserving the uncompromising quality necessary to obtain the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, the finishing of this movement is anything but classical. What is left of the movement plate is circular grained and received a charcoal grey rhodium treatment that enhances the modernity. The silver rhodium-coloured gears and trains provide a beautiful contrast and emphasise the different layers of the movement. Treated in the same colour, the micro-rotor also catches our attention on this otherwise all-black construction.

Three renditions of the “Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton” watch have been introduced so far. With a black case in titanium, the Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton Black DLC Titanium is the edgier interpretation and should definitely appeal to a younger clientele than the equally stunning but slightly more conventional Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton Pink Gold model. Lastly, if the mechanical beauty of the RD820SQ calibre is not enough for you, a Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton Diamonds Pink Gold model adds the sparkle of baguette-cut diamonds.

The first model comes with a black alligator strap and the other two are mounted on brown alligator leather. All models are secured by the brand’s luxurious folding buckle in black DLC titanium or pink gold to match the case. Every single aspect of these magnificent models is finished with the utmost care and truly worthy of the Geneva Seal that each timepiece proudly bears on one of its bridges.

The “Excalibur 42 Automatic Skeleton” in black DLC titanium carries a price tag of US$ 63,900 and you will have to pay US$ 83,200 for the pink gold model. This is clearly not on the cheap side but given the quality and mind-blowing beauty, it is well worth every penny.

For more information please visit the Roger Dubuis web site.