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.
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.
Key facts and price
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Dragon Monotourbillon
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.62 mm
Material: Rose gold
Water resistance: 100 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and flying monotourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
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 RogerDubuis.com.
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