Roger Dubuis specializes in tourbillons, the most traditional of watchmaking complications, but its dedication to convention ends there. The brand’s real aim is to buck old-school watchmaking by inviting its customers to experience what it calls “hyper-horology.” The Excalibur Spider Tourbillon, its signature model, is case in point. The large proportions, openworked movement with its signature star-shaped bridge, and often wild color schemes position the tourbillon firmly in this century. Its latest, the Excalibur Spider Pirelli Monotourbillon, celebrates the 150th anniversary of its partner of five years, the Italian race-car tire maker Pirelli. As if to outdo previous color statements, it comes with three “kits” that allow you to change the colors of the bezel, crown and strap.
Cased entirely in white, it’s the first to come with three extra livery change packages. The colors—oro (gold), silver and red—are the official hues of Pirelli’s 150th anniversary. On the strap, they echo the form of the distinctive pattern of curved lines on the Cinturato line of Pirelli tires, and the inside of the strap features the Pirelli motto: “Power is nothing without control.” A quick-release system means the strap can be changed out in three seconds—not so coincidentally, the same amount of time it takes to change a tire during an F1 pit stop.
Another modern touch is the application of lume to an extent more commonly seen on everyday sports watches than on high complications. The bezel, logo and hour markers are coated with Super-LumiNova, and the strap, made with something called Superbiwinova, actually glows in the dark. It is made using a vulcanization process in which Super-LumiNova is melted directly inside the rubber inlay of the strap so that it is blended directly into the material.
The case is made of a white mineral composite fiber (MCF), a silica material developed by Roger Dubuis. The brand says it is 13% lighter than other carbons, which allows the case to be big without the heaviness of a large watch weighing down the wrist—this one is a hefty 45mm. The sturdy structure of MCF enables the creation of intricate designs, including skeletonization, another Roger Dubuis specialty.
The movement is the caliber RD508SQ a 60-second flying tourbillon with a 60-hour power reserve. The power reserve indicator is designed as a fuel gauge, and the tourbillon is positioned at 7 o’clock, a brand signature.
Like all Roger Dubuis watches, the Excalibur Spider Pirelli is finished to Poinçon de Genève standards, representing a high standard in finishing. Of the 20 million watches produced in Switzerland each year, only 24,000 bear the Hallmark of Geneva. It guarantees the watch’s mechanical movement has been assembled, cased and adjusted in the Swiss Canton of Geneva, and that each component of the movement is individually finished and decorated by hand. Every watch—not just one of a batch—is individually tested and certified in order to guarantee its smooth running, water resistance and precision. The finishing process is not just aesthetic: it makes the watch run better, reducing friction and ensuring exceptional durability. Roger Dubuis says it takes 40 percent longer to produce watches made to Poinçon de Genève standards.
And that’s the kind of mark of excellency one would expect for a $185,000 tourbillon limited to just eight pieces worldwide.