Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt
Excalibur, the iconic and deliberately extravagant Roger Dubuis collection – with its signature blend of technical excellence and powerful design – is set to rock the watchmaking world as never before at the SIHH 2017. And like any upcoming quake, premonitory tremors are rippling across the landscape. A sneak peek at three of them…
When it comes to progressive complications, the hand-wound 590-part RD101 Quatuor movement – beating at a frequency of 16 Hz (115,200 vph) with its four sprung balances and five differentials – is as progressive as they get… Not to mention outstandingly fast and efficient, since it achieves instantaneously what the tourbillon takes a full minute to accomplish – namely compensating for the rate variations caused by the effects of gravity on a watch.
2017 will see it welcome its very own disruptive material: cobalt chrome.
This high-performance cobalt chrome alloy clothing the 48 mm-diameter case, bezel, case-back and crown is produced using the extremely exclusive MicroMelt® technology that represents just 0.1% of worldwide metallurgy.
Widely associated with aeronautics and astronomy, this process involves melting and atomizing the alloy into a fine powder by introducing the molten metal to a high-pressure stream of gas using a dedicated vacuum induction melting gas atomization unit.
This powder is then blended and screened to a controlled diameter, poured into canisters that are sealed and subjected to hot isotsatic pressing to achieve full denseness, before being hot-worked to produce hot-rolled bars and then processed to finished size.
As well as the improved chemical homogeneity of this material, Roger Dubuis naturally appreciates the fact that it enables the creation of specific alloys (such as metal and non-metal) that other techniques do not permit, as well as resulting in controlled porosity that in turn ensures stabilized alloy quality.
However, as always in making such technical and aesthetic choices, the Manufacture adopts this state-of-the-art material with watch wearers firmly in mind, since it is 100% biocompatible, extremely corrosion-resistant thanks to the spontaneous formation of a passive protective film, as well as outstandingly durable thanks to its multiphase structure and the precipitation of carbides.
In this bold, fresh interpretation of the Excalibur Quatuor, the gleaming cobalt chrome makes a pleasing contrast with the blue PVD-coated movement barrel cage and bridges, as well as the dial, hour-marker and alligator leather strap.
Dynamic red and white accents are provided by the printed speedometer-style minute track, the white gold skeleton hands with SuperLumiNova-filled red tips, as well as the red strap stitching.
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic
Synonymous with the contemporary outdoor, automobile-inspired vibe embodied in the Roger Dubuis ‘Technical Skeletons’, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic is a fresh blue/black/red expression of the talent and ingenuity deployed by the ‘pioneer of contemporary skeletons’, showcasing its ability to raise this workmanship to the rank of a contemporary art form.
Leveraging the expertise acquired over the years through its avant-garde movements revealing its own unique vision of this principle, the generous 45 mm titanium case is interpreted according to the Spider concept that extends skeletonisation beyond the movement to include the case, flange and hands.
Enhancing visibility and promoting transparency, this principle forms powerful architectural and sculptural effects that highlight the unique beauty of these sophisticated mechanisms. The original case construction and the use of ‘disruptive materials’ such as titanium also serve to ensure a super-light and pleasing feel on the wrist.
In this new Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic version, cool colour contrasts are the keynote, achieved by DLC treatment of the case, and crown, vulcanised rubber details on the bezel, crown and container, along with red accents provided by the ring, crown, hand tips and strap stitching.
The theme of contrasts is also expressed through finishing textures, notably including polished chamfers and satin-brushed sides. To ensure optimal readability by night and day, the applied screws on the flange as well as the tips of the hands sweeping across the dial are enhanced with Superluminova.
The multi-material strap with its black rubber base and blue calf leather inlay is secured by a DLC-treated titanium folding buckle. This ruggedly handsome model is driven by Calibre RD820SQ – which in 2015 became the first Roger Dubuis automatic skeleton movement.
It typifies all that is bold and beautiful about the in-house practice of open working the
parts of the calibre before assembling them, rather than the common practice of skeleton working a pre-existent movement.
All faces of its 167 components are meticulously hand-crafted in accordance with the stringent quality criteria and prestigious finishing governing the “Poinçon de Genève” certification.
The design and height of the famous Roger Dubuis micro-rotor – a first in a skeletonised automatic Roger Dubuis movement – effectively enhance the spectacular 3D effect favoured by the Manufacture, as does the raised position of the signature Astral Skeleton decor.
It offers a fresh interpretation of the distinctive multi-layer approach to watchmaking. Typifying the blend of formal aesthetics and useful functionality adopted by the Maison, the instantly recognisable star shape features tips pointing to hour-markers, thereby enhancing both clarity and legibility.
Issued in an 88-piece limited edition, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic is a vibrant microcosm of the traditions, innovation and expertise cultivated and perpetually enriched by the specialist of technical and architectural mechanics.
Like the electric blue lava bursting from certain volcanoes, the Excalibur Essential 36 Automatic appears with an arrestingly beautiful black DLC-treated titanium case topped by a bezel set with 48 blue sapphires. Simultaneously evoking fire and ice, the sparkling gems reflect and accentuate the cool gleam of the blue PVD-coated dial with its shimmering sun-brushed finish.
This elegant smaller-sized interpretation of the Excalibur carries the collection’s trademark fluted bezel and triple lugs, together with the radiating Roman numerals. The latter are deliciously “interrupted” by an ever-useful small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, complete with a discreet yet legible date display. The versatile 36 mm diameter makes it suitable for both masculine and feminine wrists, and there is sure to be a gender mix among the lucky few who will grab their piece of this 28-piece limited edition.
It is equipped with the RD830 calibre featuring a 22K pink gold rotor that may be admired in action through the transparent sapphire crystal case-back and ensures a 48-hour power reserve. Setting a perfectly elegant finishing touch, the matching blue alligator leather strap is fitted with DLCtreated titanium folding buckle.
Flaming neon lights create a fascinating ‘seismic collision’ interpretation of the infinity mirror.
Ready to rumble
As the SIHH 2017 looms on the horizon, these three code-breaking, convention-blasting Excalibur models exemplify the iconoclastic approach that is all about deconstruction – splitting, fissures, ruptures and diversion – as a prelude to generating new aesthetic and technical life.