Not anyone can wear a Roger Dubuis watch. Their designs are not what you would call conventional. They require a strong personality to pull them off — a potent blend of sensuality and confidence, with a big helping of irreverence and a taste for the dramatic.

Not everyone can wear a Roger Dubuis watch. That’s all right — there aren’t enough of them to go around anyway. This is what happens when all your watches are built to the exacting standards of the Geneva Seal; production tends to be kind of limited for obvious reasons.

This coming Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Roger Dubuis are doubling down on this message of audacity and exclusivity with their “Dare to be Rare” motto and a cadre of novelties that are emphatically about standing out from the crowd.

The Excalibur Quatuor was first introduced to the public at the 2013 SIHH and still remains the world’s only wristwatch with four balances engineered to deliver unprecedented levels of chronometric precision. We’ve seen it in red gold, in DLC-coated titanium and in monobloc silicon so far, and 2017 will bring us a version in cobalt-chrome alloy.

This may not sound too exciting, but the chemical composition of the case material is by far the least interesting thing about it. That said, if metallurgy is not really your thing, you might want to skip the next paragraph.

The alloy undergoes a patented process known as the Micro-Melt powder metallurgy process. The pre-formed alloy is melted and refined in a furnace under a state of vacuum, then forced through a stream of high-pressure inert gas, which dissipates the melted alloy into extremely fine metal alloy powder of high chemical purity and homogeneity. The powder is further screened to separate it by particle size. The powder is blended according to strict ratios depending on the desired properties of the end result, and subsequently poured into canisters which are subject to hot isostatic pressing. The hot isostatic process reduces porosity and increases density, so the metal powder is a compact solid when retrieved from the canister. After a bit of hot-working, it’s ready to be machined for its final purpose.

Essentially what you’re left with, after this process, is an alloy that is stronger, harder, tougher, more homogenous (and therefore more ductile), higher in purity and with an exceptionally clean microstructure compared to the initial cast alloy. Given all this, it’s much more difficult to machine, but that just means it’s as just as durable as the movement within. The cal. RD101 of the Quatuor has four hearts to stand up to any amount of bashing that you might care to inflict upon it — surely it’s only appropriate that its case can do the same.

The openworked movement has always been a mainstay of Roger Dubuis watchmaking, being an articulation of both design and technical expertise.

The 2015 SIHH brought us the Excalibur Spider, featuring a movement and case that were both openworked. Often we hear about watches that seamlessly transition between movement and case, but the Excalibur Spider does it better than most.

January will bring us a new model of the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic, with the signature star-motif movement and micro-rotor haloed by bright blue accents. Despite the invasion of blue in both these pre-SIHH reveals, the spirit of Roger Dubuis still pulses magma-hot beneath these cool cerulean hues — both the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt and the new Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic feature red stitching on their blue leather straps and hints of red elsewhere on the watch.

Only the last pre-SIHH timepiece stands alone in shades of midnight. The feminine timepieces of Roger Dubuis have been a particular fascination of mine ever since the Velvet made its debut at the 2012 SIHH. The feminine Excaliburs have usually played supporting roles to the more design-forward Velvet, with its occasionally baroque ornamentation. Not this time, as a 36mm-diameter Excalibur steps out in DLC-coated titanium with a blue sunray-brushed dial, a bezel set with blue sapphires and a blue alligator leather strap. In the Roger Dubuis universe, at least, the smaller, gem-set timepieces are as assertive as their larger brethren.

Roger Dubuis have also given us a sneak preview of their booth concept for the 2017 SIHH, and though it seems unlikely that they could top the glamorous red-carpet set of 2016 or the eagle-blazoned hall of 2012, we get the feeling that next year’s booth promises to be positively volcanic (watch out for the seismic aftershocks). Not everyone or anyone can wear a Roger Dubuis watch, but for those who can — hang on for the ride of your life.

Tech Specs: Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt ®

Case: Ø48 mm, Cobalt Chrome case, bezel, case back and crown, MicroMelt® process. Crystal sapphire case back
Thickness: 18.38 mm
Dial: Blue PVD coated dial with red and white printed minute track, Blue PVD coated flange, Rhodium plated indexes, hands in white gold with red tips, power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock
Water Resistance: 5 BAR (50 m)
Strap: Blue alligator strap with red stitches
Clasp: Titanium grade 5 folding clasp
Calibre: Hand-wound calibre, RD101
Production: 8 pieces
Certification: Poinçon de Genève

Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic

Case: Skeleton case, Ø45 mm, Titanium DLC case, Titanium grade 5 bezel and case back, Bezel decorated with black vulcanized rubber, Titanium DLC crown vulcanized with red rubber, Titanium container vulcanized with red rubber
Thickness: 14.02 mm
Dial: Skeleton upper- ange varnished in mat black, Blue varnished lower- ange with minute-track printed in white, Skeleton hands in black PVD coated gold with red tips lled with SLN, titanium screws with SLN
Water Resistance: 5 BAR (50 m)
Strap: Black rubber strap with blue leather inlay and red stitching
Clasp: Titanium grade 5 adjustable double folding clasp
Calibre: Automatic Skeleton with micro-rotor, RD820SQ
Production: 88 pieces
Certification:
Poinçon de Genève

Excalibur 36

Case: Ø36 mm, Titanium DLC case and bezel, Bezel set with 48 blue sapphires for approx. 1.5 ct.
Thickness: 9.80 mm
Dial: Sunburst dial coated with blue PVD, Rhodium plated and printed indexes, Snailed small seconds counter at 6 o’clock coated with blue PVD, Small seconds counter ring rhodium plated,White gold hands polished and satin-brushed
Water Resistance: 5 BAR (50 m)
Strap: Blue alligator strap
Clasp: Titanium DLC adjustable folding clasp
Calibre: Self-winding calibre, RD830
Production: 28 pieces

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