Up Close with the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton (with Original Photos & Price)

Introduced as its entry-level skeleton watch, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is the brand’s first open-worked timepiece without a tourbillon, offering the signature Roger Dubuis aesthetic but at a more accessible price.

Roger Dubuis‘ most distinctive watches are its skeleton tourbillons with star-shaped movement bridges; that very look is synonymous with the brand. Those watches, however, tend to be expensive; the recently introduced Excalibur Spider Double Tourbillon costs just under US$300,000. Conceived to solve those affordability woes is the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton, unveiled at SIHH 2015 and the first “Astral Skeleton” from Roger Dubuis without a tourbillon. The Excalibur Automatic Skeleton looks like the tourbillon models. In fact from a distance it is easily mistaken for its pricier cousins. The RD820SQ is a self-winding movement that’s been completely skeletonised, with the bridges open-worked in Roger Dubuis’ typical style.

A large star-shaped barrel bridge dominates the dial, while the micro-rotor that winds the mainspring is visible at 11 o’clock. In between the gears of the wheel train are visible, held in place by the narrow arms of the skeletonised bridges.

All the top surfaces of the bridges have been decorated with perlage, or circular graining, while the edges are bevelled and mirror polished. This decoration catches the light at various angles for a pleasing effect that lights up the movement, which is dominated by dark colours.

In fact, the movement is almost monochromatic, with a dark grey ruthenium plating for the bridges. An exception is the gilded balance wheel and shock-absorber spring on the balance cock, providing the only elements of colour on the dial. 

The Geneva Seal hallmark visible at the right edge of the movement

While the dial side of the watch has depth thanks to the arrangement of the gears and bridges, the rear is less compelling because it is essentially a large, flat main plate that has been skeletonised. 

At 42mm in diameter and 11.44mm high, the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is elegantly proportioned. That moderates the extravagant case form, with the wide notched bezel and triple lugs.

The Excalibur Automatic Skeleton is available in rose gold or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium. It starts at US$64,500 or S$84,000 for the DLC titanium model, while the pink gold version costs US$78,000 or S$103,000. And the pink gold model set with a baguette diamond-set bezel is US$110,000 or S$148,000.

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