Naming no names, but not all watch collaborations make a great deal of sense. What about Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini? Announcing the birth of their latest love-child, the Excalibur Huracán Performante, Roger Dubuis says that the watch maison and the Lamborghini racing team are both “firmly committed to cutting-edge performance, ferocious groundbreaking technology and super-sleek aesthetics”. That may well be true, but there is something rarer that unites Lamborghini and Roger Dubuis — they were both upstarts who took one look at the very top of an established luxury industry and thought, you know what, I fancy a piece of that.
Supercar giant Lamborghini may now be owned by sensible VW, with a range that is grown-up enough to include an SUV, but turn back the clock to 1963 and things were very different. According to motoring folklore, the story went something like this: Italian tractor maker complains about his Ferrari; Enzo Ferrari says something rude about people who make tractors; the customer, a Mr Lamborghini, decides to get even.
When watchmaker Mr Roger Dubuis got together with designer Carlos Dias in 1995, they may not have had the same motivations as Lamborghini, but they had the same sky-high confidence to aim squarely for the very top of the market and not give a damn about what the established players thought.
The two companies share a deep determination to do things their own way, rather than imitate the competition. Lamborghini, for example, was not founded to be involved in motorsport — that came long after its creator’s time.
Mr Lamborghini just wanted to make road cars like nobody else. And in just over a decade, he had made the Miura and the Countach, to this day two of the most striking, best-loved cars in automotive history.
In the same way, Roger Dubuis has never tried to be like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet. There have been slightly more traditional-looking Roger Dubuis watches along the way, but the brand has been built on its boldly engineered look — angular and recognisable from a long way off. Roger Dubuis forged its own path, combining its strong design with the very highest standards of watchmaking.
The Excalibur Huracán Performante has a brand new RD630 engine — sorry, movement — visible through the signature open-worked dial, and the watch is full of car cues, including a new crown inspired by the racing nuts on supercar wheels, and an alcantara strap complete with a rubber inlay featuring the design from a Pirelli racing tyre.
Now that Roger Dubuis is an established company well into its 20s, its upstart days are also in the past. But judging by the cars and watches they continue to make, both Lamborghini and Roger Dubuis prefer to retain that spirit of the outsider. They refuse to fit in, and do things their own way — long may that continue.
Roger Dubuis manufacture Calibre RD630 automatic movement; 4 Hz; 60-hour power reserve
45mm titanium; water-resistant to 50m
Bi-material with black rubber base and Alcantara inlay