What is perhaps most admirable about Roger Dubuis in this season, is that while a lot of the watch industry is still in a state of figuring out how to navigate out of this slump, Roger Dubuis is already making tracks for the future and further.

How? Unbeknownst to many, Roger Dubuis junkies today — lovers of the brand’s sense of high-drama, Poinçon de Genève swinging haute horlogerie — are intriguingly younger than ever before.

While here in Singapore for post-SIHH market visits, Mr. Edouard Cottin the maison’s International Sales Director, explained this saying, “I think we talk to more and more clients, to whom the industry isn’t generally used to speaking with. When I am at our brand’s dinners and other events, the bulk of the crowd there is young people.

“I would even go so far as to say these people are usually millennials between the twenty-five and thirty-five age range. They’re not the ‘new-money’ sort. I’m talking about entrepreneurs and just very driven, forward thinking individuals; young people who have no desire to wear the watches of their fathers’ era.”

And this attention that this new breed of collectors is giving to the brand has not gone unanswered. Says Edouard, “We do a lot to talk to these people and keep them engaged. For example, we’re very active on the digital front. In fact, this year our biggest announcement at SIHH was done the night before the fair kicked off completely on our digital front.”

The announcement made was, of course, of the partnership that the brand’s forged with Pirelli, the world’s one and only F1 tire manufacturer. Roger Dubuis is very purposefully getting itself involved in a universe outside of its own so that 1) they might bring fresh watchmaking stories to their existing collectors — because often times the watch-nuts are also car-nuts — and 2) so they might attract an audience, which might not be familiar with the watchmaker otherwise.

“This breed of watch lovers,” says Edouard, “don’t base their interest in how old the heritage of a watchmaker is. Rather they are interested in genuine, forward thinking innovators who execute their craft to the highest standards of watchmaking, without being boring.

“We will actually deepen our involvement in the automotive universe over the next two to three years with new partners around every corner to help us write fresh new stories to base our watchmaking on.” And this Roger Dubuis is already doing. Just over the past week, at the Geneva International Motor Show, the brand made the announcement of their new partnership with Italdesign, along with which a new watch was, too, unveiled to commemorate Italdesign’s, Italdesign Automobili Speciali.

But make no mistakes about it, it’s not only the business and visibility aspects of the brand where Roger Dubuis is riding a new wave. In terms of its watchmaking there are, in fact, two new examples to attest to how the brand is pushing itself ever further.

Italdesign Automobili Speciali
Italdesign Automobili Speciali
Roger Dubuis
Italdesign Automobili Speciali

First, there was the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt® announced at the close of 2016. This watch brought cobalt-chrome alloy into watchmaking, which has been used to create the case of this new Quatuor by means of a metallurgy technique known as Micro-Melt.

The second piece that must be mentioned is the Excalibur Spider Carbon. Roger Dubuis’ use of carbon fiber in realizing the familiar Excalibur Spider here is extensive. The space age material is even used to create the watch’s delicate skeleton movement. Hence, why the movement has this honeycomb baseplate rather than the sheer space we’re used to seeing with the Excalibur star motif. And, mind you, this movement, too, is finished to highest of standards. As confirmed by Edouard during our conversation, the Excalibur Spider Carbon has been awarded the Poinçon de Genève, and, therefore, stands today as the only carbon fiber movement to bear this seal of high quality watchmaking.

What does all of this amount to? Essentially, a two-pronged winning formula. First that, instead of wallowing in the present financial state of the industry, Roger Dubuis is already doing great things to engage its customers of tomorrow. And secondly, the brand’s managed to showcase that even with its present business motives it is continuing to push its watchmaking reach with forward thinking watches such as the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt® and the Excalibur Spider Carbon.

Roger Dubuis

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