Written by Alisha De Fazio
As I sit back, self-isolate during these unprecedented times, I’m left relying on well crafted press releases and imagery (well at least for a few months), of what’s set to hit our shores this year, to marvel at or quietly disapprove.
Today we’re looking at the new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus in Machina unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2020 – an interesting release setting the scene as a juxtaposition of past watching making artisans and inventive modern techniques. A creation guaranteed to astound even the boldest souls and partisans of the idea that life must be lived intensely, passionately and – let’s say it like it is – excessively! Roger Dubuis has always prided itself to be an expressive and contemporary watchmaker. Boasting of an array of daring designs and audacious concepts, the Geneva-based watchmaker has been shaking codes and shattering conventions in the watch world for over twenty years.
Bold statements – yes, but the watch at first glance is a bold and a visually loud timepiece. A rather chaotic skeletonized large flying tourbillion in a proprietary metal may seem like a stereotypical Roger Dubuis timepiece, however the addition of a minute repeater takes a new and unique direction for the brand. Behind 11 o’clock is a transparent disc that has been skilfully blended with a Roman numeral. The disc is marked with the words hours, quarters and minutes that turn as the repeater chimes at the respective intervals – if you need a visual reminder, this feature is great for you. To achieve this, the watchmakers have enriched this second visual indication with the minute repeater’s main feeler-spindle system, which requires mechanically seeking information on the time before striking it.
As a homage to the world of music (like the watch’s name suggests) the repeater chimes an ominous sound which again might amuse some. Impressed or do you need more? Roger Dubuis has chosen to tune its minute repeater to the sound of the tritone, the famous “Diabolus in Musica” chord outlawed in medieval religious music, and found, for example, in Camille Saint-Saëns’s symphonic poem, Danse Macabre. This primordial dissonance is also the secret key to all clever and complex melodic harmony, music being the art that has chosen Time as a backdrop against which to weave its spells and govern the laws of beauty. Tuned here to C and G flat, its tones are enhanced by the nobility of the materials through which they resound, offering listeners an enchantingly sensory experience.
An interesting feature is the second functional indicator which is in the form of a lever placed between 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock. It instantly lets the wearer know whether the watch is in “manual winding” or “time setting” position, for the simple reason that you don’t accidentally change the time while the minute repeater is activated; which could potentially damage the movement.
Finally, one other function has been developed to make life easier for the user. This is the minute repeater’s pushpiece, which has been embellished with a mechanism called “all or nothing”. Only allowing the minute repeater to be triggered if the pusher has been fully and completely pressed, this second safety feature prevents the mechanism from being triggered or providing merely a partial indication of time.
The Machina holds a patented material – CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM a powder to metal sintered material process formed into the 45mm case. The material gives the case, bezel, crown and caseback better resistance to wear and tear than stainless steel – a big tick for most of us who can’t stand the scratches and scuffs on our beloved timepieces.
Unlike other Roger Dubuis Tourbillons which are highly skeletonised with more hollow pockets within the design – the Machina appears layered and highly dense. Layers of what seems to criss-cross web like bridges, which may appear chaotic, slightly over done, obscuring one another, which makes it quite challenging to appreciate the workings underneath. Even if you are a Roger Dubius fan, personally I find that this watch from imagery at least (And it may be a different story in the flesh) might not showcase the exceptional detail that RD fans are familiar with.
Case: Skeletonized, Ø45 mm, case, bezel and crown CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM (® in the USA). Case back CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM (® in the USA) with sapphire crystal and anti-reflective treatment.
Thickness: 16.8 mm
Dial: Double surface flange with engraved minute track, transfered texts. Polished hour markers filled with SLN.
Water resistance: 3 BAR (30 m)
Strap: Interchangeable 3D calf leather strap
Buckle: Interchangeable titanium cover with titanium triple folding buckle
Calibre: RD0107 caliber, minute repeater and single flying tourbillon
Production: Unique series 1 of 1
Mechanical automatic with minute repeater and single flying tourbillon
Features: Minute repeater and single flying tourbillon Functions: Hours, Minutes, Minute repeater, function indicator, chiming indicator
Decorations: circular-grained or trued-up or shot-blasted or Cotes de Genève and NAC coated bridges and plate
Number of parts: 558 components Jewels: 54 rubis
Diameter: 14 3⁄4’’’
Thickness: 10 mm
Frequency: 3 Hz (21’600 vph) Power-reserve: 60 hours