Roger Dubuis Introduces the Excalibur Dragon Monotourbillon

A stylised dragon on the skeleton movement.

The latest iteration of Roger Dubuis’ signature model is the Excalibur Dragon Monotourbillon. A limited edition conceived for the Chinese Lunar Near Year, the watch features an stylised dragon composed of 27 brass plates that integrate the mythical creature into the bridges of the open-worked movement.

Initial thoughts

Best known for ultra-contemporary, open-worked calibres, Roger Dubuis (RD) specialises in extravagant designs, including the recent Knights of the Round Table. The Excalibur Dragon Monotourbillion is a prime example of what the brand does best. In contrast to most dragon-themed watches that are either traditional or whimsical, the Excalibur Dragon portrays the dragon in a modern, almost abstract manner.

Although the watch is big and bold, attention has been paid to the finer details. The movement is open-worked in typical RD fashion and finished to Poinçon de Genève standards, which means bevelled edges, chambered flanks, and polished pins, amongst other things. And while the pronounced styling might not be for everyone, the Excalibur Dragon is actually more wearable than the typical complicated RD watch. At 42 mm in diameter and a bit over 12 mm high, it is moderately sized relative to much of the brand’s offerings.

At CHF195,000, the Excalibur Dragon sits in between its most obvious comparables on the price spectrum, more affordable than Richard Mille and pricier than Hublot. The movement inside is arguably better executed than those of its rivals, though RD doesn’t have the cachet of Richard Mille or the strong design codes of Hublot.

In fact, the movement finishing is arguably more comparable to Vacheron Constantin, which similarly uses movements that bear the Poinçon de Genève (otherwise known as the Geneva Seal), although the diverging designs mean that each probably appeals to an entirely different audience.

The only omission is the case back, which has a dragon motif on the sapphire crystal in metallised print. This feels a bit too plain for an otherwise well executed watch.

The brass dragon

The dragon on the dial is made up of 27 brass plates, each decorated with black lacquer on the flanks and pink gold plated on top. The individual pieces are inlaid onto the movement bridges on 25 different levels, each position at different angles to give the dragon a three-dimensional aspect. The dragon replaces the usual star-shaped bridge that defines most RD tourbillons, and fills up the negative space on the expansive dial.

Because the movement is skeletonised, the watch has no actual dial. Instead Super-Luminova-filled hour markers are mounted on a brass flange, with each index echoing the v-shaped notches on the bezel, a key design element of the Excalibur line. Continuing the styling to the case, the open-worked pink gold hour and minute hands are satin-brushed and filled with black Super-Luminova.

The pink gold case is 42 mm wide in diameter and 12.62 mm high, large but more wearable than many RD complications. Accented by wide, polished bevels, the triple lugs are curved down for better wearability. The case has a water-resistance rating of 100 m – unusual for a skeleton tourbillon – along with a screw-down crown protected by the angular crown guards that continue the sculpted lines of the lugs.

The skeletonised RD512SQ movement offers a full, unobstructed view of most of its moving parts, most notably of the “Monotourbillon”, which is RD’s label for its flying tourbillon. Shaped like a Celtic cross, the tourbillon’s lower cage is made of non-magnetic titanium, while the upper cage is mirror-polished cobalt-chrome. Thanks to an visible, large mainspring, the manually-wound movement has a long power reserve of 72 hours.

A dragon motif is printed on the rear sapphire crystal

Key facts and price

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Dragon Monotourbillon
Ref. RDDBEX1111

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.62 mm
Material: Rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: RD512SQ
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and flying monotourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Calfskin strap with deployment clasp

Limited edition: 28 pieces
Availability: At Roger Dubuis boutiques only
Price: CHF195,000 (excluding taxes)

For more information, visit


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Franck Muller Adds Manga Dragons to the Cintrée Curvex

Not your typical dragon-themed watch.

Now best known for its extravagant and occasionally provocative timepieces, Franck Muller tapped on a Japanese artist who specialises in manga-style paintings for the Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition. This collaboration, which will only be available at the brand’s stores in Asia, transforms the mythical beast into a playful character with doll-like features typical of Ryoko Kaneta’s work, with 12 dragons on a turquoise dial bearing the brand’s signature oversized Arabic numerals. 

Initial thoughts

Unlike most dragon-themed watches that take themselves seriously, the Cintrée Curvex dragon edition leaves behind the traditional, regal portrayal of the creature as seen in Parmigiani’s automaton clock or the recent Breguet Classique. Instead it’s a fun timepiece that blends the trademark Franck Muller style with contemporary Asian art and a trendy colour palette.

A look through Ms Kaneta’s portfolio shows her aesthetic has been successfully ported over onto the watch, with the dragon characters sharing the manga-doll appearance of her characters. Unlike most character-theme collaborations that feature bold figures at the dial’s centre, the manga dragons are integrated into the numerals, evoking the traditional concept of dragons navigating through the clouds. That said, I would have liked Ms Kaneta to add her touch to the branding on the dial for a more complete visual makeover.

With a price of around US$13,400, this limited edition is somewhat pricey for a time-only watch with a basic movement, but it is line with Franck Muller’s usual pricing. That said, the aesthetic has a very-current appeal, and the distribution is limited, which helps rationalise the price.

A playful Cintrée Curvex 

Ms Kaneta take on the Cintrée Curvex design itself apart from most dragon-themed timepieces with its subtle playfulness. Her art reflects her dual interests in Japanese pop culture and traditional East Asian ideas, which is also illustrated in the “dragons” on the dial. Depicted as doll-like characters, the dragons embrace the popular chibi style prevalent in Japanese anime and manga. Similar characters are found in most artworks of the millennial artist, making them a key part of her style.

The dragon characters on the dial are printed in black, white, and aqua blue lacquer, and positioned around each of the Arabic numerals. According to the brand, this motif was meant to convey a whimsical hide-and-seek effect, which required 12 layers of lacquer for the entire dial. Other design elements specific to this release is the turquoise finish on the radial, stamped guilloché as well as the artist’s name replacing the customary “CURVEX” inscription at six.

Except for the dial, the watch is identical to the compact Cintrée Curvex 3850, with its distinctive tonneau-shaped case and spade hands. One of several sizes intended for ladies, the 3850 case measures 32 mm by 45 mm and stands 9.35 mm high. Inside is the FM 2536-SC, an in-house movement with a bi-directional winding system and a relatively short 42-hour power reserve.

Key facts and price

Franck Muller Cintrée Curvex Ryoko Kaneta Dragon Limited Edition

Diameter: 45 mm by 32 mm
Height: 9.35 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: 500 pieces
Only at Franck Muller boutiques and retailers in Asia
Price: 18,000 Singapore dollars including 9% tax (equivalent to around US$13,400)

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