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Roger Dubuis hits a perfect note
New Models

Roger Dubuis hits a perfect note

Tuesday, 28 April 2020
By The FHH Journal editors
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The FHH Journal editors

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2 min read

The story of Roger Dubuis cannot be told without reference to the minute repeater. This legacy is once again on display with the Diabolus In Machina, which adds a flying tourbillon to the mix.

Invented at a time when turning on a night light involved much more than flicking a switch, te minute repeater is one of the most challenging complications to achieve. The wearer can check the time using a pushpiece that activates a ring tone with a low pitch for the hours, a high pitch for the minutes, and two tones for the quarter hours. At Roger Dubuis, the watchmaker have not stopped there. First, perched high at 11 o’clock is a disc that has been skilfully blended with a Roman numeral. Marked with the words Hours, Quarters and Minutes, the disc starts to turn as soon as the minute repeater is activated, visually illustrating the time intervals being chimed.

Excalibur Diabolus in Machina © Roger Dubuis
Excalibur Diabolus in Machina © Roger Dubuis

A second functional indicator – in the form of a lever placed between 3 o’clock and 4 o’clock – instantly lets the wearer know whether the watch is in “manual winding” or “time setting” position. This visual safety feature is extremely important as adjusting the watch while the minute repeater is playing can damage the movement. Finally, one other function has been developed to make life easier for the user. This is the minute repeater’s pushpiece, which has been embellished with a mechanism called “all or nothing”. Only allowing the minute repeater to be triggered if the pusher has been fully and completely pressed, this second safety feature prevents the mechanism from being triggered or providing merely a partial indication of time. Roger Dubuis combines this major complication with its famous flying tourbillon, that has been an integral part of the brand’s identity right from the start.

Excalibur Diabolus in Machina © Roger Dubuis
Excalibur Diabolus in Machina © Roger Dubuis

Roger Dubuis has chosen to tune its minute repeater to the sound of the tritone, the famous “Diabolus in Musica” chord outlawed in medieval religious music, and found, for example, in Camille Saint-Saëns’s symphonic poem, Danse Macabre. This primordial dissonance is also the secret key to all clever and complex melodic harmony, music being the art that has chosen Time as a backdrop against which to weave its spells and govern the laws of beauty. Tuned here to C and G flat, its tones are enhanced by the nobility of the materials through which they resound, offering listeners an enchantingly sensory experience.

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