Manufacture Roger Dubuis has a well-established reputation for springing surprises in many guises, and its contemporary take on the legend of the Round Table is no exception. For a first interpretation unveiled in 2013, the designers of the Geneva-based Manufacture presented a 28-piece limited edition distinguished by its boldness and steeped in history. The noble figures appeared seated around an enamel and decal reproduction of the Tudor green and cream painted English Oak Round Table made for Henry VIII and placed in the Grand Hall of his castle at Winchester. For 2015, a stunning new 28-piece iteration available exclusively from Roger Dubuis boutiques features the 12 exquisitely engraved and sculpted bronze knights positioned around a precious black jade dial. Masterfully engraved and laden with symbolism, this fresh expression of the Round Table legend adds even further weight tothe evocative power of the piece.
In this standout model, the motto of the mythical knights, ‘Courage and generosity’ reflects the Roger Dubuis approach to its craft.
A noble legacy of aesthetic inspiration
Legend has it that Merlin declared: «around this table, the bravest knights will gather as equals. They will set forth in search ofadventure, righting wrongs, protecting the weak and humbling the proud». Thus began the adventures, as the 12 Knights took the oath of allegiance to King Arthur, swearing to spare no effort, overcome any obstacle and return triumphant.
From the Middle Ages to the modern day, the universality of the legend of the Wizard and the Knights of the Round Table has remained popular. King Arthur valiantly defends his realm from his enemies and all the action takes place essentially in the mythical forest of Brocéliande.
The best, the noblest and the purest of men are at his side in combat, companions whose strength of arm is equalled only by their strength of character. The story of their exploits has marked history and eloquently honoured the cardinal values of strength and respect.
These are much the same aspirations that motivate Manufacture Roger Dubuis in its ongoing desire to make people dream andits quest for its own particular Holy Grail: the uncompromising excellence epitomised in its 100% Poinçon de Genève certification.
Product Design Director Lionel Favre explains: “In this standout model, the motto of the mythical knights, ‘Courage and generosity’ reflects the Roger Dubuis approach to its craft. It is nobly represented by the artists and watchmakers working in close collaboration to create an alliance of both traditions.
The sum of this precision and craftsmanship consists of detail that is so fine and intricate it can only be appreciated when examined through a jeweller’s eyepiece.”
Superlative technical sophistication
Within this exquisite art piece, the relentless pursuit of excellence of Roger Dubuis and the knights of the Geneva Manufacture is once again expressed through a subtle combination of craftsmanship and complex construction representing an authentic technical prowess. Creating the elaborate, intricately crafted dial alone called for ten full months of development, research and trials.
Here, in a stunning display of miniaturisation and precision, the 12 figures representing the legendary Knights of the Round Table with their swords form a perfect circle replacing traditional hour-markers. This breathtaking miniaturisation, the work of highly skilled passionate artisans, produces 12 completely individual knights, each one only 6.5 mm tall and unique in its own right, representing one of the legendary figures. Requiring a day of work to make a single knight, each consists of a three-idimensional casting in bronze with finely sculpted, handfinished details, including three-dimensional micro-engraving. In contrast to the gold figures used on the original knights, this is the first time that bronze has been used for micro-engraving. Despite the need to manage the additional complexity, the slight patina of the bronze accentuates the contrasts of this unique masterpiece. As one might expect with such a degree of extraordinary complexity and sophistication, it takes an entire day to micro-engrave one knight and an entire month to make just two dials. The satin white gold circular flange surrounding the centre of the dial is engraved and patinated. Great skill and patience were needed to obtain the cobblestone paving effect.
Excalibur Knights of the Round Table II: A powerful symbolism
The decision to craft the Round Table in black jade came with its own set of complications in the domain of engraving. The results were well worth it however, with the stark contrasts achieved through the use of a brand-new engraving technique that produced a smooth finish with its own very particular set of nuances – and all without breaking this very delicate material.
An etheric bodyguard and stone of protection, black jade represents power, wisdom and selfcontrol. It is regarded as speaking to financial and social prudence, guarding against people projecting anger and aggression. A facilitator of honest self-evaluation, it is believed to help absorb and transform unhealthy and destructive emotions.
Impeccable mechanical reliability
Nestled inside the 45mm white gold case beats the same valiant heart as the first edition of this masterwork, mechanical selfwinding Calibre RD821 with its comfortable 48-hour power reserve. Like all Roger Dubuis timepieces, all 172 components of this calibre are hand-finished and stamped with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, a guarantee of exclusivity, origin, expertise, performance and durability entirely worthy of the brave knights of old
Proclaiming a proud lineage
Like the first edition, and emphasising the artistic DNA of this unique timepiece, the plain gold caseback developed by Roger Dubuis’ master craftsmen bears the solemn oath proclaimed by Merlin, engraved in a circle that echoes the one formed by the fabled figures appearing on the dial.
Framing a blue-lacquered coat of arms adorned with golden crowns, the reverse of the timepiece completes this vibrant tribute to the bravery of the Knights of the Round Table.
Boldness and steadfastness. Courage and generosity. Strength and respect. Fearlessness, rigour and discipline. These are precisely the kind of values with which Manufacture Roger Dubuis senses a natural kinship spanning the ages and which naturally find their place at the Round Table of enduring horological excellence.