In addition to the tuneful complication highlighted in its name and which represents the peak of horological sophistication and refinement, the movement of the Hommage Minute Repeater harbours two other key technical features that have become Roger Dubuis signatures: automatic winding via a distinctive double micro-rotor (interpreted here in a beautifully hand-guilloché pink gold version) ensuring optimal winding performance and enhanced aesthetic appeal; as well as a flying tourbillon in a new carriage guaranteeing optimal inertia, equilibrium and anti-shock protection. Like every single timepiece to emerge from the Manufacture, it naturally bears the Poinçon de Genève as a token of its sterling quality and reliability. Testifying to the importance of this quality hallmark for the Manufacture Roger Dubuis, no less than 328 of the 1,241 hours of manufacturing involved in making the movement are dedicated to meeting the stringent Poinçon de Genève criteria.
Fascinating sounds, sights and textures
Born in an era when electric lighting and luminescent markings were yet to be invented, striking watches provided an audible means of telling the time in the dark. The minute repeater mechanism in particular chimes three different sounds: the hours on a low tone, minutes on a high tone, and quarter hours on alternating high and low tones. While our high-tech age means it has of course outgrown its initial utilitarian purpose, this supreme horological complication has come to epitomise the poetic and whimsical beauty of mechanical timekeeping – as well as a delightful blend of visual, auditory and even tactile pleasures.
In the Hommage Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic, Manufacture Roger Dubuis showcases gongs designed to improve the quality of the chime thanks to a combination of new ergonomics with rectangular rather than the usual round gongs, as well as new materials. On an auditory level, the development of a dedicated centrifugal- force striking dissipator optimises inertia and effectively controls the speed of the chime so as to ensure a long, clear chime that is pleasing to the ear and free of any disturbing sounds. As the R&D and Watchmaking Director Gregory Bruttin likes to explain, this technical feature resembles the effect of an ice-skater spinning relatively slowly with outstretched arms implying a wider rotation axis, and then picking up speed to a dizzying extent as the arms are brought close to the body and the rotation axis narrows.
On a visual level, the Hommage Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic bears the distinctive traits of the Hommage collection. For the watch exterior, these include leaf-type hands, a sunray guilloché motif, Roman numerals, a concave bezel and broad inner bezel ring, a limited-edition number engraved on the case side, as well as a polished/satin-brushed finish on the case middle and lugs. For the movement, the Hommage codes notably feature a multi-layered movement creating a fascinating 3D effect. The spectacular minute repeater is not covered by a dial, thus providing a clear view of the parts in motion when the striking mechanism is in operation. The RD104 movement, which may also be admired through a sapphire crystal pane fitted in the case-back, offers a highly original and expressive asymmetrical effect that sets it apart and recalls the natural beauty of the human face and its inherent dissymmetry.
Manufacture Roger Dubuis treats connoisseurs to a wealth of aesthetic delights bathed in the warm glow of pink gold radiating from the case, lugs, crown, as well as the matching plating on the central dial and the surrounding visible mainplate of in-house Calibre RD104.This colour choice creates a pleasing and elegant contrast with the gleaming grey of the minute markings and the hand-applied Roman numerals on the chapter ring, the company logo and the tourbillon, while particularly highlighting the strategically bared minute repeater mechanism. Likewise, the multiple dial levels, along with the range of decorative techniques used – from the distinctive sunray hand-guilloché motif in the dial centre (echoed on the two micro-rotors visible through the back), to the circular satin-finish on the chapter ring, and the circular graining on the movement mainplate – all contribute to imbuing this creation with a definite sense of depth, relief and volume. They also bring a diversity and contrast that undeniably enhance both its readability and its aesthetic appeal.
And last but not least, the wearer’s sense of touch is also flattered, with the ribbed crown ensuring a better grip while also offsetting the satin-brushed case middle and the broad polished bezel that is a hallmark of the Hommage collection. The decision to activate the striking mechanism via a traditional repeater slide, rather than a pushbutton as is generally used these days to guarantee water resistance, avoids any hole in the side of case and procures an inimitably smooth look and feel – while nonetheless ensuring the movement is duly sealed off from dust and water.
The best of all worlds
In addition to the now statutory Poinçon de Genève without which no Manufacture Roger Dubuis timepiece is complete, the Hommage Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic proudly bears Mr Roger Dubuis’ signature metallised in a pink gold colour on the case-back sapphire crystal pane.
Issued in a 20-piece limited edition to celebrate Manufacture Roger Dubuis’ 20th anniversary, this standout creation offers fresh proof of how approaching horology from its own inimitable angle enables the Manufacture to embrace past, present and future within models exuding the truly timeless charm of Incredible Mechanics.