Quartet in innovation major
Since its much-heralded release in 2013, the Excalibur Quatuor and its “ultimate challenge to compensate for gravity” have consistently fascinated watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs, particularly those fortunate enough to observe its RD101 calibre in action at close quarters. The most immediately noticeable feature of this movement, vividly highlighted here in the Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument, is of course its four sprung balances. Working in pairs to provide immediate compensation for the rate variations caused by the changes in position, this efficient foursome enables the movement to operate at the stunning frequency of 16 Hz and thus ensures an exceptional degree of precision.
In addition, the Roger Dubuis double moon- crescent patented power-reserve display offers a pleasingly intuitive and innovative indication of exactly how much running time is left before the timepiece requires winding. As if that were not enough to make this calibre stand out from its peers, the signature double flying tourbillon introduced by the Manufacture in 2005 had sparked a seven- year research programme leading to the development of five differentials further enhancing the accuracy and reliability of this uniquely sophisticated 590-part calibre.
Adopting the Spider
The exclusive set of technical Excalibur Quatuor characteristics is now given a stunning new expression by means of an unprecedented association with the tentacular Spider concept introduced by Roger Dubuis in 2015.Offering an original and comprehensive interpretation of skeleton- work, a recurrent theme in Nature vividly expressed in the fine threads of a spider’s web, the Excalibur Spider models extend this principle beyond the movement to encompass the case, the inner bezel ring, the hands and even the crown.
After pioneering the realm of contemporary and architectural skeleton movements, the Manufacture is also blazing a trail in the domain of 100% skeletonised watches. Such an approach displays exactly the kind of wholehearted commitment also manifested in the 100% Poinçon de Genève certification of its production. Applying such avant-garde know-how to the watch exterior thus provides the perfect showcase for the superlative quality implied by this choice. When asked to elaborate on the significance of the word Spider in Excalibur Spider, Product Strategy 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.”
Migrating from wrist to pocket
Some would call it making the best of all worlds. Others would regard it as ‘merely’ living up to its multi-syllabled name. The Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument picks up certain unmistakable selected Excalibur design codes, including the edgy fluted bezel and the easy-grip crown.
It benefits from the incredible technical and architectural mechanics of the Quatuor principle by adopting Calibre RD101. Like the Excalibur Spider models unleashed at the 2015 edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie with their high-tech contemporary materials, the Pocket Time Instrument is made of titanium. It also takes on board the Spider concept and even pushes it a notch further than previously by skeleton-working the ‘bow’ serving to protect the 12 o’clock crown. In addition,this typically pocket-watch configuration frees up the sides of the generous 60 mm case, thus further magnifying the openworked effect.
Compared with the Excalibur Quatuor wristwatches, the (naturally cut-out) chapter ring has been shifted towards the exterior of the dial circumference, thereby freeing up even more space for the movement to reveal its fascinating intricacies. This bold and authentic attitude is entirely in keeping with the later part of its name: time instrument.
The perfect paradox: chained or held, yet freer than ever
Conceived as so much more than just a timepiece, this is indeed truly a mechanical objet d’art, a time instrument that is designed to be viewed – and inevitably admired – from all angles. Whether dangling on the end of its firmly clipped contemporary chain that lends a resolutely modern twist to the pocket- watch mystique, or swinging gently from the purpose-built base, the Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument paradoxically enjoys exceptional freedom.
Taking the skeleton theme to its ultimate conclusion, the link construction of the chain echoes the alternating solid and void areas, while the finely crafted base is designed to form an inseparable entity with the watch. Symbolically evoking a device used in watchmaking workshops to measure precision, this beautifully curved and – you guessed it! – openworked holder will find a place of honour in any elegant interior.
Last but not least, this exceptional new creation embodies a fascinating nod to tradition and the initial vocation of the tourbillon in cancelling out the detrimental effects of gravity on pocket watches generally kept in a vertical position. In this instance, the gravity- defying Quatuor technology – magnificently staged by the Spider concept and framed by the iconic Excalibur exterior – finds a natural home in a Pocket Time Instrument. The result is a unique opportunity to view a standout contemporary interpretation of horological excellence viewed through a decidedly modern prism.