Another day, another extraordinary haute horlogerie press conference, announcing a spectacular launch. Or more. This time it was Roger Dubuis, presenting their latest creation: Excalibur Superbia.

I had the privilege to visit the Roger Dubuis manufacture in late January this year, before the virus broke loose. And I had the pleasure to have a long, relaxed and very informative talk with the very dynamic, focused and driven Roger Dubuis CEO, Mr. Nicola Andreatta. I liked what I heard in January and I liked what I heard this time, when he spoke a little about the brand before the presentation of the new watch.

„A brand”, he said, „is nothing but a promise well delivered. And our promise, at Roger Dubuis, is to show you the most exciting way to experience hyper horology”.

The brand has a new motto: No rules, our game. This, I think, is in line with their recent strategy – to push hard, to be more aggressive, to stand out as l’enfant terrible of Swiss watchmaking.

„We are 100% independent, integrated, based in Geneva and mechanical”, continued Mr. Andreatta, asserting the brand’s credentials, in the quest to crown Roger Dubuis as the master of expressive and contemporary hyper horology.

„On the one hand, we use state-of-the-art technology, with incredible new machines and, on the other, we celebrate the art of watchmaking with skills and crafts that are centuries old. And everything is finished by hand,” said Mr. Andreatta.

To conclude this brand introduction and move on to the new watch, the territories claimed by Roger Dubuis, according to Mr. Andreatta, are strong emotions (adrenaline), expressive singularity, and excess, joined by pleasure, madness and freedom.

Excalibur Superbia is about pride, the father of all sins (as the brand officials admit), which Roger Dubuis seems to rebrand as a virtue. Or at least a quality. In their words, Superbia is about those that feel they can sit on God’s throne.

This is a 45mm case made from P210 white gold – a very expensive type of gold that is enriched with palladium, which makes it much whiter and brighter. There are precious stones everywhere – 600 diamonds and sapphires. Every stone is in the shape of a tetrahedron, or a small pyramid, probably also tending to the pharaoh-like character of the targeted persons.

This is a masculine watch, because of the size – and the size comes because a smaller case could not accommodate the brand-new double flying tourbillon movement, the RD108SQ, inspired by its well-known version launched in 2005, the first double-regulator calibre connected with a differential, built up in volume and adorned with a diamond-set star. This is a big, hefty movement, but Roger Dubuis is preparing a 39mm watch as well.

Until then, as Mr. Andreatta told me, this can also be a feminine watch, since increasingly more women are very interested in mechanisms and in big watches.

As I have said, every stone set on the flange, the bezel, the case and the crown is tetrahedron shaped and assembled with an invisible setting on curved surfaces. The hardest way to set a stone, an invisible setting becomes nearly impossible when required on a curved surface. But, somehow, the gem-setters at Roger Dubuis managed it. They needed some 300 hours to set the case and 120 hours to set the bezel with all the white diamonds and blue sapphires. Three times longer than for a case with baguette stones, for instance.

This is, actually, the part that I liked best about Excalibur Superbia: the gem-setting adventure. Not only did every stone have to be tetrahedron-shaped, the pattern was designed so that all 238 stones featured in the case of the Excalibur Superbia have a different shape and are thus singular. Moreover, the design also demanded that the gem-setters of the manufacture would at times have to deal with the points of six or seven stones meeting simultaneously in the same spot.

Somewhere in the movement, a chilling warning is engraved: Memento mori. Remember that you must die. After all, this watch could be a constant reminder about living your life well.

The price is 920,000 euros and this is a unique piece, but the brand is working on this platform to do other versions (for instance rose gold or a green version).

For the creation of this piece, Roger Dubuis worked with a Japanese artisan, Kaz Shirane – an interior design artist that favours spatial art forms. Mr. Shirane, also present at the press conference, told me that he shares a common vision with Roger Dubuis and that he was very happy to work with them to create an entirely new piece.

„Roger Dubuis and I share the same vision: we create incredible pieces that make people feel they are the protagonists. For me, the Roger Dubuis Superbia watch is like a time machine that can take us to an extraordinary world in an instant. I always want to create such space in my artworks. The elaborate craftsmanship is, of course, absolutely wonderful. But beyond that, what struck me the most is that it is a very artistic piece: its distinctive design catches the light so beautifully and can be noticed even from afar.

I was honoured that my work inspired the design of their new watch. It proves that art has many facets and can open up to new possibilities,” said Mr. Shirane.

To conclude, I am thinking about Dante Alighieri. He defined most of the capital sins as perverse or corrupt versions of love for something or another: lust, gluttony, and greed are all excessive or disordered love of good things; sloth is a deficiency of love; wrath, envy, and pride are perverted love directed toward other’s harm. I guess that, when the end comes, we shall all see if Dante was right.

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