Roger Dubuis Turns to “Ice and Fire” for the Knights of the Round Table

An artisanal dial possibly inspired by a famous novel.

Now the signature watch of Roger Dubuis’ modern-day offerings, the Knights of the Round Table “Titanium Damascus” is inspired by the Arthurian fable. The latest edition is centred on the theme of “ice and fire” – the reference to Game of Thrones is unmissable – and is surprisingly artisanal despite the ultra-contemporary aesthetic.

Decorated with blue Murano glass and Limoges porcelain, the dial has 12 knights around a frozen lake – a miniature diorama depicting the knights confronting imminent peril emerging from the waters’ depths – and a case made of a pattern-welded titanium alloy.

Initial thoughts

The “ice and fire” edition is no doubt catered for a niche audience – and at 45 mm few can wear it easily – but still has a unique appeal. Moreover, it departs from the modern, skeletonised style that’s characteristic of the brand’s automotive-inspired timepieces. It merges artisanal decoration and modern watchmaking – it is big and bold but boasts unexpectedly intricate detailing. The watch encapsulates the Roger Dubuis “hyper horology” ethos in both design and construction, while the dial and movement (which is hallmarked with the Poincon de Geneve) stay faithful to traditional watchmaking and decoration.

This Knights of the Round Table is priced at approximately US$374,000, putting it in the same price range as other editions in the series. It is also priced similarly to comparably extravagant watches from the likes of Jacob & Co., but this arguably distinguishes itself by virtue of the craftsmanship in its execution.

An Arthurian winter landscape

Launched a decade ago, the Knights of the Round Table series has become a hallmark of the Geneva brand. The watches all share a dial bearing miniature figures inspired the Arthurian legend with 12 knights at a round table that serve as hour markers. Over the years, the brand has debuted several iterations of the concept, from an edition with Celtic-inspired aesthetic to a futuristic take with polygonal knights.

The focal point are the dozen intricately-detailed knights circling the dial, standing around an ice-covered lake with its surface cracking, the knights are portrayed as ready to do battle with the evil beneath. 

Each knight is a micro-sculpture standing just 6 mm high, cast individually in 18k rose gold using moulds created from 3D scans of resin prototypes. Once cast, each figure is hand engraved, resulting in a unique pose and attire for every figure. In all, the knights require three days of work to complete.

The periphery and base of the dial is transparent blue glass created using the Murano method. According to Roger Dubuis, obtaining the right shade of blue required nearly six months of research and development. The glass also forms the base of the protruding ice blocks, each of which is topped with white biscuit porcelain from Limoges to simulate the cracked lake surface.

The Knights of the Round Table retains the brand’s distinctive, triple-lug 45 mm Excalibur case with its recognisable notched bezel and crown.

Described as “Titanium Damascus”, the case material is similar to Timascus, a popular alloy for high-end custom knives. It is essentially a combination of two titanium alloys patterned welded together and then acid etched, resulting in a wood grain appearance derived from the different properties of each alloy. As a consequence of the titanium case, the watch is lighter than past editions of the same model in precious metals.

The bezel, on the other hand, is a single-alloy titanium and polished. It sits on the raised sapphire crystal, creating a narrow window below the bezel and around the dial. And the crown is also titanium, but inlaid with blue Murano glass.

Inside is the in-house cal. RD 821, an automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. It’s fitted with a rotor open worked to form a geometric motif that’s inspired by Gothic stained glass windows.

Key facts and price

Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table “Titanium Damascus
Ref. RDDBEX1058

Diameter: 45 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium Damascus
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. RD821
Functions: Hour and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Leather strap with folding clasp 

Limited edition: 28 pieces
Availability: At Roger Dubuis boutiques only
Price: 503,000 Singapore dollars (equivalent to US$374,000)

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