Hear ye, hear ye! Roger Dubuis is introducing two new timepieces during Watches & Wonders 2022 – the Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon, and the Excalibur Monobalancier. The former represents the first time Roger Dubuis is pairing its signature Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table motif with a tourbillon, while the latter introduces a new-and-improved self-winding caliber to the company’s flagship Excalibur collection.
It’s a bit hard to believe this is the first time we’re seeing Roger Dubuis add a tourbillon to the Knights of the Round Table series. This brand is positively fixated on tourbillons. The new Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon doesn’t disappoint, featuring a central tourby smack-dab in the middle of the “table,” plus 12 knight figures sculpted from pink gold and representing each hour of the day. The manual-wind caliber RD115 inside is the very first central tourbillon movement created by Roger Dubuis.
This is the eighth edition of the Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table, a series that dates back to 2013. Time is shown on the watch via a pair of gold markers that utilize a double-disc rotating system to circle around the tourbillon and indicate passing hours and minutes. Murano glass is used to form the translucent purple blocks that appear around the tourbillon, as well as on the double-surfaced flange. The three o’clock crown has two different modes for winding and setting. A pusher at two o’clock that’s set flush against the 45mm pink gold case can be used to switch between the two; when the pusher is engaged, a small red marker pops up that indicates the watch can now be adjusted.
The Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon is a limited release of eight watches that serves as a halo product for Roger Dubuis as a whole, showcasing the company’s capabilities in highly technical watchmaking and artistic decoration. The new Excalibur Monobalancier, on the other hand, is a mainline release that enters serial production, while also highlighting Roger Dubuis’ technical bona fides.
Featuring a skeleton dial and the company’s trademark star-shaped bridge, the new Excalibur Monobalancier is highlighted by the introduction of the self-winding micro-rotor caliber RD720SQ. The movement has a 72-hour power reserve, with a pink-gold and tungsten micro-rotor that Roger Dubuis states has been optimized to reduce the effect of shocks and vibrations. Roger Dubuis also says the balance wheel inertia has been doubled in order to improve the stability of the movement. Along those same lines, the design of the escape wheel is new and more efficient, due to the use of diamond-coated silicon and the introduction of a new lubrication material and updated diamond-coated silicon pallet stones that can be easily adjusted.
The Excalibur Monobalancier also features an updated 42mm case in Roger Dubuis’ patented EON GOLD alloy, an improved type of 5N gold that is “more resistant to tarnishing when exposed to extreme conditions,” per the company. The sharply notched fluted bezel carries over from previous Excalibur watches, while the case has been primarily sand-blasted but retains a few polished angles.
At launch, the new-for-2022 Excalibur Monobalancier is available in two editions, both in EON gold. One example comes paired with an embossed black calfskin strap, while the second example features 60 round-cut diamonds set on the bezel and an embossed purple calfskin leather strap.
Roger Dubuis likes to describe its specific watchmaking niche as “Hyper Horology.” It’s a pretty apt classification – everything the high-tech, high-mech company does today is intent on pushing boundaries, in aesthetics, in technical details, and in wearability. And the Knights of the Round Table Monotourbillon and Excalibur Monobalancier perpetuate that narrative.
I’m generally not one to back away from boundary-pushing watches, but I’ve often found the current era of Roger Dubuis watchmaking to be a bit difficult to appreciate. I think it’s the clash between the very-of-this-moment, 21st-century watchmaking on display through the skeletonized dials, and the often baroque aesthetics (notched bezels, literal Arthurian knights running around, etc.). It can be a bit hard to approach.
What’s undeniable, however – despite any personal qualms – is the absolute quality of watchmaking and artistic handcraft that’s on display in any Roger Dubuis watch. Did you know that every Dubuis timepiece, including these latest releases, receives the Geneva Seal (Poinçon de Genève)? It’s only one of the most prestigious certifications in watchmaking and one that very few of Roger Dubuis’ contemporaries continue to pursue. (Cartier, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin, and Louis Vuitton are a few of the remaining brands that regularly release watches certified by the Geneva Seal.)
And then there’s the impressive decoration present on the Roger Dubuis Knights of the Round Table. I imagine owning one of these watches would be incredibly rewarding. Each of these 12 figures are sculpted by hand and feature a knight with a different pose and demeanor – you could spend hours on hours studying the details present on each knight with a loupe in one hand, and perhaps a sheathed sword in the other.