2015, Year of the Astral Skeleton
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Astral Skeleton The new fantasy World of Roger Dubuis. The Pioneer of contemporary skeletons.
Roger Dubuis, the only Manufacture to practice a 100% Poinçon de Genève principle, has found in the skeleton a perfect showcase for the outstanding expertise embodied by this prestigious quality hallmark that is a guarantee of exclusivity, origin, expertise, performance and durability.
Having firmly established itself as the pioneer of contemporary skeleton calibres and a specialist in architectural and technical mechanics, in 2015 Manufacture Roger Dubuis is celebrating its ‘year of the skeleton’ with a charismatic line-up of Excalibur models.
Simultaneously delivering powerful reinterpretations of equally trailblazing know-how in its other signature realms of expertise – the micro-rotor and the flying tourbillon – these creations extend or extrapolate the unique Astral Skeleton concept in dazzling new ways.
Each also reveals another facet of a proven capacity to appeal in daringly unconventional ways to a wide spectrum of individuals – from outdoor enthusiasts to timepiece lovers fascinated with technical sophistication and/or innovative designs, as well as women drawn to jewellery creations with a (quite literally in this case!) unique twist.
With its Technical Skeleton models, under the code name Excalibur Spider, Manufacture Roger Dubuis takes things to the next level by also skeletonising the case and even the hands and flange of these timepieces, well as by combining what are generally regarded as diametrically opposite materials in the World Premiere Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon with gem-set rubber bezel.
For those with a taste for watchmaking traditions expressed in modern ways, Manufacture Roger Dubuis offers a new generation of skeleton movements with its Excalibur Automatic Skeleton models: the first of their kind with the micro-rotor, as and naturally featuring the inimitable ‘star’ signature.
Women are never far from the preoccupations of Manufacture Roger Dubuis, which acknowledges their love of jewellery models graced with innovative designs, splendid gemstones and… Creative Skeleton movements.
Inspired by the Arthurian legends and the mysterious Brocéliande forest, the appealing and undeniably eye-catching Creative Skeleton Brocéliande model is part of a poetic trilogy that it set to weave its own unique spell.
At the SIHH 2015, Manufacture Roger Dubuis stages another scenographic surprise designed to stun and intrigue visitors at the exclusive annual watch show.
Inspired by an eclectic range of sources including fashion, architecture, painting, sculpture and film-making, the new Roger Dubuis World embodies a dreamlike fantasy world powerfully evoking the Manufacture’s theme of the year: skeleton-work and its multiple interpretations in nature, art and watchmaking.
Visitors to the SIHH 2015 are once again in- vited to step into its incredible universe of architecture and technical mechanics.
On the road to this SIHH 2015, technical sophistication once again met unconventional brand staging in a new digital ‘countdown’ that follows on from the experienced offered last year.
The “GoodbyeCuckoo, #HelloExtraordinary” campaign preceding the SIHH 2014 became a YouTube case study, appeared in the “Limitless Creativity” film showcased at the YouTube Brandcast Paris, won third place in the Brand Content category at the Grand Prix Stratégies /Amaury Médias du luxe 2014 (France); while Facebook Hong Kong is also set to conduct a case study after the campaign was featured in the run-up to Watches&Wonders 2014.
2015, Year of the Astral Skeleton
The Astral Gateway: a unique digital campaign
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon
Never one to rest on laurels of any kind, be they technical, aesthetic, or cyber-based, Manufacture Roger Dubuis presented a new digital teasing campaign dubbed “The Astral Gateway” composed of seven short thril- ling films and a final ‘revelation’ film. 7+1= 8, a universally symbolic number that appears in the limited editions chosen for many Roger Dubuis collections.
Picking up the Astral Skeleton theme, the films focused on the idea of people looking for their lucky star, and a new episode was
unveiled every day of the week of January 12 through 18, leading up to this year’s edi- tion of the SIHH.
Each episode opened a new door towards the next…all the way through to the revelation on the January 19 opening day of the Roger Dubuis World at the Salon itself. There, a surprise awaits visitors, who will for the first time be offered Oculus glasses enabling them to enjoy a sensorial 3D experience at the heart of the Astral Skeleton: “The Astral Skeleton Experience”.
Why is ‘skeleton’ inspiration so pervasive and varied? Skeleton work is a recurrent theme in the natural world evidenced in countless ways, including star-studded constellations.
In turn reflected in a wealth of human endeavours such as bridges, cathedrals, ornamental friezes, maps, labyrinths and even tattoos, skeleton-work is all about fascinating geometrical motifs often carrying powerful metaphorical connotations.
Why has the term ‘skeleton’ taken on a specific meaning in watchmaking as a whole? In the realm of horology, skeleton-work expresses a blend of technical refinement and artistry that generally involves paring functional movement components down to an absolute minimum.
Why can Manufacture Roger Dubuis be regarded as a ‘pioneer of contemporary skeletons’? In its own inimitable way, Roger Dubuis has given a typically unconventional twist to this principle, raising it to the rank of a contemporary art form.
This approach promotes transparency, enhances visibility and forms sculptural effects that highlight the unique beauty of these sophisticated mechanisms as the ultimate expression of the Poinçon de Genève.
Why 2015? In 2005, Manufacture Roger Dubuis introduced its first traditional skeleton movement, followed by its first contemporary and ladies’ skeleton models in 2008, and by the iconic RD01SQ Double Flying Tourbillon Skeleton tourbillon in 2009.
The latter has remained unmatched ever since and is instantly recognisable among watch lovers and industry observers.
Manufacture Roger Dubuis has now reached an astonishing degree of maturity in this field that meant the time was right to up the ante even further. It notably felt ready to raise the stakes by pushing its own limits and those of the watch industry in applying the skeleton principle beyond the movement to the watch exterior: the case, flange and hands.
Why choose the Excalibur collection to host the skeleton theme? Doubtless because its legendary connotations and its memorable design codes, including a round case, fluted bezel and triple lugs, have made it the emblem of a subtly offbeat, unconventional and unexpected approach to watchmaking.
Its iconic stature among Roger Dubuis models enables it to provide the perfect framework for exploring bold new technical and architectural skeleton constructions.
Why distinguish between Technical, Automatic and Creative Skeletons? Each of these epithets refers to highly specific and distinct interpretations of the over-arching Astral Skeleton theme introduced this year by Manufacture Roger Dubuis.
To gain a better understanding of how they apply to the skeleton ‘families’ introduced at the SIHH 2015 and doubtless destined to welcome new members in the future, the best way is to view them in context, as expressed through the 2015 range of exciting new releases.
And finally, why refer to the overall Roger Dubuis skeleton calibre conceptas the Astral Skeleton? The short, philosophical answer is because the Manufacture has always been committed to reaching for the horological stars.
The more technical reason is because this is the term that most aptly sums up the Roger Dubuis approach to skeleton movements. Stars and constellations are the ‘stellar’ (pun definitely intended) inspiration behind its work in this field, and it is high time for them to shine as brightly as they deserve, as explained in a little more detail below.
2015, Year of the Astral Skeleton in seven leading questions
The iconic signature of Roger Dubuis skeletons: the star shape
2015, Year of the Astral Skeleton interpreted in Three Stellar variations
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon
Having pioneered and perfected the art of crafting contemporary skeleton calibres, Manufacture Roger Dubuis now steps things up yet another notch for 2015 by introducing its aptly named Excalibur Spider concept, comprising fresh expressions of its decidedly different interpretations. All are very much in sync with its unconventional aesthetic take on skeleton-work.
When asked to elaborate on the significance of the word Spider in Excalibur Spider, R&D and Watchmaking Director Gregory Bruttin likes to evoke “the patient, meticulous and inventive nature of the work done by this resourceful arachnid as it daily spins its web in ever more novel and intricate patterns, reinventing its craft and constantly adapting it to new situations.
That is very much how we at Manufacture Roger Dubuis approach our own task, and in this new collection, we have taken our existing and acknowledged skeleton-work expertise and applied it to whole new areas of the watch.”
The calibres themselves feature the instantly recognisable star shape that are the natural signature of Roger Dubuis’ unique skeleton movements. Moreover, several tips of the star point to hour-markers, once again highlighting an exceptional ability to combine original and visually appealing design effects with clarity, readability and functionality.
In its Technical Skeletons, Roger Dubuis leverages the expertise acquired over the years through its avant-garde movements revealing its own unique vision of this principle.
It now applies the same innovative and creative powers to extending a skeleto- nised approach beyond the move-ment to encompass a skeletonised case, flange and hands. This results in a fresh and novel interpretation of the Manufacture’s characteristic multi-layer approach to watch- making and particularly heightens the distinctive 3D impact.
The skeleton-work external aspects of the watch serve to accentuate the architecture of the movement. Moreover, adopting such
a holistic interpretation of the skeleton principle, including the particularly sophisti- cated and original case construction and the decision to use modern materials such as titanium, ensures an extremely light and pleasant feel on the wrist.
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon As the only Manufacture to offer a Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon, Manufacture Roger Dubuis was ideally equipped to shift into an even higher gear. This is an appropriate way of describing its decision to skeletonise all key aspects of this iconic model channelling the raw power of a race car equipped with a state-of-the-art engine and amazing bodywork.
Creating powerful contrasts with the titanium and black DLC-titanium case, a variety of fiery red aluminium elements on the inner bezel ring, crown and case band highlight the strong, sporty impact that is further reinforced by a variety of colour strap options.
The standout RD01SQ movement powering this 188-piece limited-edition model is displayed to stunning advantage within this multi- level construction composed of case, flange and movement. The resulting 3D effects are reminiscent of contemporary cityscapes – just as one would expect from the specialist of technical and architectural mechanics.
The ultimate skeleton approach: the new Roger Dubuis Spider concept
Exuding this decidedly technical, outdoor and automobile-inspired spirit, and thereby bringing something entirely new to the Excalibur collection, the pushers are made of aluminium, while the rubber strap is fastened by a folding clasp guaranteeing a secure and comfortable fit.
In an entirely novel feature, the counter rings surrounding the double tourbillon as well as the small seconds also feature a speedometer-type design that accentuates the adrenaline-rush, motorsports style of the model.
In a typically Roger Dubuis combination of visual impact and practicality, this configuration also ensures they are seam- lessly integrated into the skeleton work and avoid any design overload. Moreover, to maximise readability by night and day, the tips of the hands and the applied screws on the flange are enhanced with Superluminova.
Gregory Bruttin, R&D & Watchmaking Director
World Premiere Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon with gem-set rubber bezel
Technical, sporty rubber and ‘forever’ precious diamonds. While these two materials might justifiably be considered worlds apart in some respects, they have occasionally been used conjointly on timepieces, such as with a rubber bezel framing a diamond-set dial or other variations.
However, the sheer physical difficulties implied in actually setting the gems on an elastic material such as rubber meant that this had never yet been succes- sfully attempted – until now with this astonishing model that thrives on uniting polar opposites.
The black-treated RD505SQ movement, the DLC-coated titanium case and flange provide a perfect total-black backdrop on which to ‘paint’ the rubber bezel with a stunning line- up of 60 baguette-cut diamonds totalling approximately 2 carats.
On this exclusive 88-piece limited edition, the precious stones are actually set into the rubber moulding over the metal bezel, calling for perfect mastery of the exact thickness and a technique based on plastic deformation.
Two years of research, undertaken by the renowned Geneva-based gem-setting specia- list Pascal Vincent Vaucher, were devoted to this astonishing technical feat and a “Soft Stones in the Sky” patent has been duly registered to protect this groundbreaking development.
Only a brand such as Roger Dubuis (driven by a spirit of technical sophistication combined with a relentless will to explore unconventional expressions of expertise) could have provided such an ideal framework in which to introduce such a stunning technical and aesthetic breakthrough.
The result is a feat of cutting-edge technology and sublime stone-setting that proved unbelievably complex to achieve and yet produces a simply dazzling visual result.
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tour- billon The Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon picks up the signature features of Roger Dubuis skeleton timepieces: the star-shaped design, the tourbillon carriage shaped like a Celtic cross and the high-end finishes including the circular- grained plate of hand-wound Calibre RD505SQ.
Moreover, in keeping with the Manufacture’s determination to push boundaries in all directions, the light yet robust titanium case and flange are also openworked. For those who enjoy striking contrasts, the white rubber strap version vividly highlights the technical titanium of the signature triple lugs.
By thus applying its pioneering know-how in the field of contemporary skeleton calibres to the exterior of its timepieces, Manufacture Roger Dubuis has found an ideal showcase for the superlative quality implied by its 100% Poinçon de Genève certified production.
Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon
Excalibur Automatic Skeleton in pink gold
After a number of standout hand-wound skeleton models, Roger Dubuis proudly introduces the first Automatic Skeleton watch to emerge from the Manufacture. It offers an attractive alternative for mechanical watch enthusiasts with a penchant for elegance who wish to have a handsome and distinguished timepiece on their wrist for some of their more formal professional and private occasions.
Excalibur Automatic Skeleton in pink gold, gem-set pink gold or black DLC-coated versions These models provide an opportunity to reveal the prestigious finishes that earn it 100% Poinçon de Genève certification, since all faces of the 167 parts composing the self- winding RD820SQ movement are individually finished.
The pink gold, gem-set pink gold or black DLC-coated case and bezel frame a spectacular typically Roger Dubuis 3D effect created by raising the famous skeleton ‘star shape’ and playing with the design of the micro-rotor. The latter embodies a classic paradox of the kind that the Manufacture loves to explore, since the weight of a micro-rotor is generally considered a positive aspect and skeletonising it would thus appear counter- intuitive in technical terms.
This element alone thereby serves as a powerful token of the degree of maturity achieved by Roger Dubuis. In 2005, the Manufacture did away with the central rotor while achieving equivalent
winding power; and ten years later, in 2015, it rolls out the first skeletonised automatic Roger Dubuis movement with micro-rotor.
This significant technical accomplishment is typical of a team that acknowledges no limits and is eager to set itself new challenges and then raise the bar even higher.
In doing so, it displays an optimal command of technical and aesthetic parameters, including by lavishing meticulous expertise on the gear wheels and finishes; as well as maintaining the transparency of skeleton-work despite the self-winding train and the micro- rotor, and all the while achieving sufficient winding power.
RD820SQ: Roger Dubuis’ new in-house Automatic Skeleton Calibre
Excalibur Brocéliande: a subtle alliance between refined techniques and sophisticated aesthetics
Manufacture Roger Dubuis has already revealed its unique vision of high-end ladies’ creations through a number of highly distinctive jewellery models, delivering a message of paradoxically timeless yet up-to- the-minute femininity.
Its spectacular Creative Skeletons now apply this proven expertise in innovative, inventive and ingenious jewellery timepieces to the Excalibur range, while also interpreting an unequivocally feminine vision of the skeleton.
Excalibur Brocéliande As visitors to the SIHH 2013 will well remember from the Roger Dubuis World showcased on that occasion, the Excalibur range is inspired by the famous legend of King Arthur, filled with fairytale romance epitomised in the mysterious forest of Brocéliande.
Drawing on these imaginary narratives the designers and movement development engineers of the Manufacture Roger Dubuis have collaborated in unprecedented ways with gem-setting experts in creating a poetic trilogy of creations based on the ivy leaf theme. The first is unveiled at the SIHH 2015.
In a subtle alliance between refined techniques and sophisticated aesthetics, Manufacture Roger Dubuis literally entwines its skeleton-work skills with its instinct for fascinating and original jewellery-inspired creations.
A recurrent theme in the natural world as well as in literature and mythology, ivy is believed to symbolise powerful emotional attachment, as well as faithfulness and eternity. As such, it is an ideal emblem of the com- mitment to honouring women consistently demonstrated by Roger Dubuis.
The Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande powerfully yet delicately evokes the way in which the foliage of this evergreen plant subtly coils around its host in a symbiotic and almost fusional relationship. Decorative jewellery elements are cleverly entwined with the skeleton flying tourbillon movement and the dial, to the point where they become indistinguishable from each other.
Offering a magical blend of jewellery and watchmaking expertise housed in an Excalibur case, the subtle gem-setting of the leaves ensures that they are all different, while the vines actually embrace the interior of the calibre, interlaced with its bridges.
The skeleton inspiration for this ultra-feminine interpretation is drawn from the delicate lattice-work serving to support ivy as it softly and seductively winds its way along walls or fences.
Sketch of the Excalibur Brocéliande
Through an intricate and complex process, the exterior and the skeleton-work move- ment combine to create a 3D impact an acknowledged Roger Dubuis speciality that takes on special significance here in that it involves intimate cooperation between two very different professions.
As Product Design Director Lionel Favre, who clearly nurtures a passion for these Creative Skeletons, points out: “Jewellers and skeleton-work specialists indeed rarely enjoy such an outstanding opportunity for dialogue and interaction, marrying a world entirely dedicated to beauty and precious gems, with a highly technical form of expertise involving 100th of a micron precision.
This unprecedented collaboration involves eye-watering complexity and a degree of finesse that proves a daunting challenge when working with such tiny motifs.
The decorative elements are artfully added to the movement without disturbing its operation, implying extremely delicate assembly within such a small volume.”
In this enticingly eye-catching creation issued in an approx. 3.44-carat, 28-piece limited edition graced with a flamboyant red strap, the set pink gold case with gem-set bezel, lugs and flange frames matching red foliage composed of semi-precious stones in autumnal colours, dotted along slender gold wire ivy branches delicately set with diamonds.
The overall multi-layered 3D impact is further enhanced by the slimmer bezel and flange set with a double rank of brilliant cut diamonds, while a rose-cut diamond set on the crown lends a delightful finishing touch.
The Roger Dubuis World at SIHH 2015
The Astral Skeleton at the heart of the Roger Dubuis World The SIHH 2015 brings another irresistible invitation to enter the incredible world of Roger Dubuis, pioneer of contemporary skeleton calibres, specialist in architec- tural and technical mechanics.
Once upon a time in the constellation of Horologia… For the SIHH 2015, Manufacture Roger Dubuis stages another scenographic surprise designed to stun and intrigue visitors at the exclusive annual watch show.
Inspired by an eclectic range of sources including fashion, architecture, painting,
sculpture and film-making, the Roger Dubuis World embodies a dreamlike fantasy world powerfully evoking the Manufacture’s theme of the year: skeleton-work and its multiple interpretations in nature, art and watchmaking.
An acknowledged pioneer in the field of contemporary skeleton calibres, notably with its ground-breaking signature Double Tourbillon Skeleton movement, the Manufacture Roger Dubuis invites visitors to the SIHH 2015 to step into its incredible universe of architecture and technical mechanics.
Transposing the ultra-miniaturised scale of its iconic skeleton movement into a monumental structure embodying the quintessence of the Maison is exactly the kind of challenge that its Creative Director, Alvaro Maggini, thrives on. Ask him how he would best describe the new Roger Dubuis World, and this incorrigible enthusiast naturally evokes a variety of vivid metaphors, among which the predominant ones are resolutely celestial.
“People entering the Roger Dubuis World at the SIHH 2015 will feel as if they are being drawn into a mesmerising constellation where they will be given a unique opportunity to grasp the mysteries of the Roger Dubuis ‘stars’: its skeleton calibres.
They will experience a sense of being allowed to glimpse exceptional secrets with an undeniably cosmic dimension as they witness the opening and closing of an ‘eye’ that at once protects the Manufacture while paradoxically revealing its mecha- nical enigmas…”
Reaching for the horological stars This year, embracing the incredible world of Roger Dubuis could also be compared to entering an enchanted, legendary
Arthurian forest with spreading branches subtly evoking the world of the Excalibur line which will be firmly in the spotlight in 2015; about discovering an extraordinary tentacular creature as if released from its cage; or observing a UFO that has alighted on the watchmaking planet with a mission to draw the gaze upwards and outwards across the vast expanses of horological space…
The entire intricate and gigantic structure of the Roger Dubuis world revealed at the SIHH 2015 instils an atmosphere of awed contemplation. Rubber meets metal, while curves and powerful lines meet the roundness of an eye opening and shutting like a window onto very the soul of horology.
The integrated display windows recall the circular shape of timepiece dials. Everything about this unique stage-setting is an invitation to revel in the poetry of the senses.
The play on shapes and colours, on the materials with a variety of finishes and textures, both reflects and transcends the beauty of mechanical complexity.
Close up on the star
Alvaro Maggini, Creative Director of Roger Dubuis
The Skeleton inspirations behind inspirational skeletons Skeleton-work is a recurrent motif with an abundance of manifestations in the natural world, which are in turn picked up by artists around the globe.
An integral part of the human psyche, it speaks of bone structure, of a framework governed by a blend of fascinating geometry, of the innate order underlying apparently random patterns of intricately intermeshing, interlocking elements.
At once terrestrial, maritime, celestial, the all- pervasive skeleton-work theme is evidenced in the organic mysteries of forests or the gossamer threads of a spider’s web; in the lacework of coral reefs; and in the heavens above with their star-studded constellations.
Many human endeavours naturally reflect the leitmotif of skeleton-working, and it is doubtless no coincidence that it often appears in constructions conveying powerful metaphorical connotations.
Iron girder bridges thus connect one place to another and offer people a chance to literally and figuratively “cross over to the other side”.
Romanesque churches with their semi- circular arches, or gothic cathedrals with their towering columns, ribbed vaults, mosaic-patterned floors and stained-glass windows, all invite visitors to explore the horizontal and vertical dimensions of life.
Figurative or ornamental patterns on borders and friezes pick up this theme, as do the maps that enable us to get our bearings; as well as the labyrinths that encourage us to lose ourselves amid a maze of possibilities…
More and more individuals these days are even deciding to bear the motif quite literally in their flesh, in the form of ever more complex openworked and geometrical tattoos. It is thus no coincidence that skeleton-work should play such a key role in the field of watchmaking, the art of time measurement with its earthly and cosmic ramifications.
And even less so that it should inspire the Manufacture Roger Dubuis to view it from its own unique angle. A perspective vividly demonstrated in its unmistakably distinctive skeleton timepieces as well as in the actual showcasing of these timepieces in the Roger Dubuis World at the SIHH 2015.
The inveterate curiosity cultivated by the brand’s Creative Director, Alvaro Maggini, has led him to explore the skeleton theme and its many echoes and reflections in the work of leading artistic figures in a wide variety of fields.
The non-exhaustive list includes architects Steven Holl, whose highly geometrical work showcases the power of triangles and stars, along with Daniel Libeskind and his sophisticated organic designs infused with complex emotions and ideas; fashion designers Iris van Herpen with her innovative use of materials and edgy, futuristic creations and Gareth Pugh through his experiments with form and volume; sculptor and artist Benoit Lemercier with what Wallpaper magazine has described as his “profoundly physical art: a paradigm of left brain/right brain synergy”; painter and art theoretician Kasimir Malevitch, the pioneer of geometric abstract art; as well as film-maker extraordinaire Tim Burton, with his inimitable fantasy world that has captured imaginations the world over.
Roger Dubuis has been at the forefront of contemporary Haute Horlogerie since 1995. Its audacious creations, firmly anchored in the 21st century, bear the mark of all the savoir-faire and expertise of the finest watchmaking mechanisms combined with powerful and daring designs. Boldness and extravagance are the brand’s signatures, and determination its engine.
The Roger Dubuis collections La Monégasque, Excalibur, Pulsion Velvet, and Hommage are distributed worldwide through an exclusive sales network and boutiques. The quest for excellence, the long search for the right gesture, the development of unique skills are all constants of the Geneva-based Swiss Maison.
The fully integrated Manufacture Roger Dubuis is the only watchmaker in the world to have all of its precious timepieces embossed with the Poinçon de Genève, a guarantee of finest craftsmanship.