In May 2017, Roger Dubuis launched two new versions of its self-winding wristwatch homage to tyre manufacturer Pirelli. Referencing the collaboration the brand’s CEO, Jean-Marc Pontroue, says: “The Excalibur Spider Pirelli models embody our slogan ‘dare to be rare’ perfectly. Our partnership with Pirelli solidifies Roger Dubuis’ automobile-inspired spirit.”

Launched at this year’s SIHH, Roger Dubuis’ Pirelli collection initially comprised the manually-wound, 47mm Excalibur Spider Pirelli Double Flying Tourbillon and the 45mm, Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton with micro-rotor. While the Automatic Skeleton was produced in a limited edition of 88 pieces, only eight examples of the Double Tourbillon were made.

A common thread between the two timepieces is the striking blue accents throughout, a reference to the colour code used by Formula 1 and its tyre supplier Pirelli to indicate a racing tyre’s suitability for different weather and track conditions. The blue found on the watches introduced at SIHH represents “full wet” tyres. Intended for use in heavy rain, they are capable of “dispers[ing] up to 65 liters of water per second at full speed”.

The brand’s CEO, Jean-Marc Pontroue
The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton

In a further nod to F1 and Pirelli, the supplied strap’s underside bears the tread pattern of a Pirelli Cinturato tyre, while the center inlay of the watch strap is made from the rubber of a tyre used on the car that won the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Due to associations with another brand, Roger Dubuis is unable to reference the car or the driver, but any petrolhead will immediately identify Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes from the description.

As well as the automotive design cues (not to mention the 365-compnent, Poinçon de Genève, RD1055SQ movement), owners of the Double Tourbillon version of the watch are granted a “money can’t buy high adrenaline experience: a two-day VIP programme organised by Pireilli at a motorsport event.” Owners of the Automatic Skeleton, on the other hand, can “enjoy the privilege of being invited to high-end local Pirelli events”.

The new versions of the Pirelli Automatic Skeleton, launched during the RD-sponsored Run to Monaco rally, differ from their predecessor on a purely aesthetic level with the accent colour changing from blue to either yellow or red. In F1 tyre-colour code, yellow represents the most commonly used “soft” slick tyre, while red is a “supersoft” slick tyre used in cooler conditions or for winding circuits. The straps found on these watches have been produced using the same race-winning tyres as their predecessors and, as is the norm with Roger Dubuis, both new watches have again been produced in a limited run of 88 pieces each.

The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton
The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton
The Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton

On The Run

The Run to Monaco itself was first held in 2012 as a sociable and enjoyable way of travelling to Monaco for the principality’s Grand Prix. It comprises a small group of like-minded individuals driving supercars through France over the few days before the big race. Participants make the journey along a pre-planned route, stopping off for lunch, dinner and entertainment before finally attending the Monaco GP. Such a memorable trip does, however, come at a cost – €47,000 plus fuel to be exact.

The Run has several sister events, including a Run to Yas in 2013 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the upcoming Run to Palio for the Palio di Siena horse race. Roger Dubuis has acted as one of The Run to …’s partners for the past three years now, currently supporting the rally alongside the Financial Times, Laurent-Perrier and super-yacht broker and leaser Y.CO.

The Run to Monaco 2017
The Run to Monaco 2017
The Run to Monaco 2017

Pedal To The Metal

The Run to Monaco completed a busy first-half of 2017 for Roger Dubuis. One which saw the the opening of a new London boutique – the brand’s first dedicated store in the UK – in Harrods’ Fine Watch Room. Helen David, Chief Merchant Officer at Harrods, said of the newly opened boutique: “It is an exciting time for Roger Dubuis and Harrods, the brand already attracts huge demand within our Fine Watch Room. Our customers are very excited by the novelty Roger Dubuis proposes, with significant demand for the Excalibur collection.”

Whilst March’s Geneva Motor Show provided the backdrop for another new auto-inclined partnership, this time with Italdesign. The collaboration saw the release of the Excaliber Spider Italdesign Edition – a skeletonised flying tourbillon produced in an 8-piece limited edition. In reference to Italdesign, the watch features the Italain Tricolore throughout. Founded by renowned designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani in 1968 – and initially named Studi Italiani Realizzazione Prototipi S.p.A – the company specialises in automobile design. Working with household names such as Ferrari, Volkswagen, BMW, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Fiat on the likes of the GG50, Golf, M1, 18/3 Chiron, Brera and Panda.

Pontroué states: “Roger Dubuis and Italdesign share a conviction for design and performance. The Excalibur Spider Italdesign Edition is the perfect embodiment of this and we look forward to reaching new pinnacles of shared design and engineering achievement in the future.”

It’s certainly been an exciting start to the year for Roger Dubuis, and with rumours of another partnership due to be announced in September it’s surely full speed ahead for the manufacture.

The Run to Monaco 2017
The Run to Monaco 2017

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