The keeper of the story of the Excalibur Spider Unique Series minute repeater is none other than the brand’s product strategy director, Gregory Bruttin. Because if it weren’t for him sticking to his guns to insist that Roger Dubuis should go ahead to create this timepiece, this timepiece would never have been.
“The minute repeater is a very important complication for Roger Dubuis,” Bruttin begins. “In fact, it was a very important complication for Mr Dubuis himself. Its mastery is an integral part of our legitimacy in the world of high watchmaking. This is why it was important that we should continue to practice executing the complication, but in a way that would make sense for the brand we are today.”
When Roger Dubuis was established back in 1997, one of the key launches was a minute repeater. Later in 2005, when the Excalibur collection was launched, one of the key references announced was a minute repeater.
But to think of the minute repeater in the watchmaking language that Roger Dubuis has developed for itself today, it is — to put it subtly — counterintuitive. So why produce such a timepiece, and as a unique piece?
“The story of the Excalibur Spider Unique Series minute repeater is quite a funny one,” recounts Bruttin. “I was with my team after a trip in Asia, sharing about wanting to do a very modern interpretation of the minute repeater.
“We knew that we wanted it to be an Excalibur Spider and that we wanted it have a carbon case. Once the initial designs were done, I took the drawings to show to some people I know who would be brutally honest with their thoughts about what I was going to show them.
“Because to put a minute repeater in a carbon case — sure this has been done by some others in the industry before — but to do so in an aesthetic that is as aggressive as the Spider, I really wondered what people would have to say about it. Lo and behold, everyone whom I showed the drawings to, basically said to me, ‘you are stupid, no one is going to be interested in this.’
“I said thank you to everyone for their feedback. Because yes, no one in the industry would take on such a mash-up; it didn’t make sense at all. It’s not for everyone. But for the Roger Dubuis enthusiast, those individuals who are in search of the extraordinary and completely counterintuitive, this is it.”
The Excalibur Spider Unique Series minute repeater is a 47mm carbon case timepiece powered by the RD107 caliber made automatic using 2 micro rotors. Bruttin explains that by opting for two smaller rotors, the intention here was to create an unobstructed view of the gongs and hammers of the minute repeater complication, through the case back.
On the front of the watch you have the hour and minute hands and the unmistakable minute-Tourbillon of Roger Dubuis’. Bruttin says that the team behind the watch put in a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure that this is a timepiece that a wearer would unapologetically be able to wear as a daily beater and not baby it, or worse, leave it in a safe only to see the light of day on special occasions.
Some of the more tangible measures taken to make the watch a daily wear piece are safety features incorporated into the watch’s crown. The function that the crown is engaged in at any given time when manipulating it, is indicated at 3 o’clock between its winding and time setting modes.
Other indicators include the one at 10 o’clock, which is the striking indicator serving to observe the watch while this mechanism is in operation. Lastly, the All or Nothing indicator, at 8 o’clock shows whether the minute repeater trigger is pressed in far enough to activate the striking mechanism.
Now, going back to the name of the watch: Excalibur Spider Unique Series, it is called a series because under this umbrella Roger Dubuis is planning to create some bonkers timepieces, such as the minute repeater, that aren’t exactly commissioned pieces and are completely devoid of commercial pressures; only with the most progressive Roger Dubuis customer in mind.
For efforts such as these, the point of success can be defined in considering whether or not the brand struggles to find this unique buyer they have in mind. On that note, Bruttin shares that while at launch we got to see the Excalibur Spider Unique Series minute repeater with the green accents, the one that was actually intended was one with red accents. The reason why they had to switch to the green version was because a Roger Dubuis customer had already spoken for the red one.
Self-winding RD107 Caliber with twin micro-rotors; hours and minutes; flying minute tourbillon; minute repeater; function selector at 3 o’clock, chiming indicator at 10 o’clock, “All or Nothing” indicator at 8 o’clock; 72-hour power reserve
47mm in SMC carbon; water resistant to 50m
Black rubber base and black RubberTech inlay with titanium black DLC, adjustable folding buckle