Roger Dubuis has developed serious connections with the automotive world. Yet, for quite a while now, the brand’s collections did not include a chronograph, the quintessential motor racing complication. This is all the more surprising as Roger Dubuis has a substantial history when it comes to chronographs – from their early, classic Lemania-based chronographs to the more recent calibre RD580 or RD680. On the occasion of the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2023, Roger Dubuis unveils the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, a model inspired by supercar engineering and infused with what the brand calls hyper horology: bold, expressive and technical watchmaking!
The new flyback chronograph calibre RD780 is a concentrate of the brand’s expertise: a bold design supported by high-end technical options and expert craftsmanship. In characteristic Roger Dubuis style, the mechanics had to be exposed to become an integral part of the design. The RD780 is a rare example of a dial-side chronograph mechanism. Its compelling, tri-dimensional and symmetric architecture reveals its intricacies to the wearer, in particular its column wheel or slightly tilted balance wheel. Reminding of strut bars, the centre bridge forms an additional automotive-inspired visual signature.
Taking a look at the main technical options, we have an integrated architecture, with a column wheel and a vertical clutch. The latter is the prevalent choice for most modern chronographs, as widely recognized as technically superior. Similar to the systems found in automobiles, the coupling is vertical and by friction. The theoretical advantage is that unlike for a horizontal clutch, there are no teeth to engage or disengage, which may cause the jump of the chronograph second hand when the teeth mesh.
This new chronograph movement also integrates innovative features – with two patent applications filed. The first relates to the clutch/brake mechanism with a system dubbed SBS for Second Braking System that aims at bringing extra stability to the chronograph seconds hand and decreasing flicker. The brake is mounted directly on one of the two arms working in tandem to engage/disengage the vertical clutch. When the chronograph is stopped the two arms lift the clutch to disengage it from turning, and simultaneously the brake prevents the seconds hand from moving.
The second relates to the minute display. Just like for the Monovortex Split Seconds Chronograph presented earlier this year, the chronograph’s elapsed minutes can be read thanks to an original indication the brand calls 120° RMC. This smart solution relies on three satellite hands bearing the 0,1and 2 ten digits rotate to allow you to read the units. The variable inertia balance wheel features 4 adjustment weights and a flat hairspring. As said it is slightly tilted by 12°. Some of the escapement components are in diamond-coated silicon. The frequency is 4 Hz while the twin barrels can store 72 hours of operation.
Last, a usual Roger Dubuis feature, the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph bears the Geneva seal which means that you are getting high-grade finishing. The main plate and bridges are circular-grained and sandblasted. Visible via the exhibition case back, the 5-arm rotor evokes the rims of a sports car rims.
Introduced in 2015, the Excalibur Spider is an even bolder version of the Excalibur case. The design has been slightly reworked for this new chronograph. The 45mm case is made of lightweight carbon with a ceramic bezel with sporty red markings. It is extensively openworked starting with the trademark triple lugs. The combination of dynamic lines, different surface levels and notches further enhance the multi-dimensional feel. The large black DLC titanium crown features a red lacquered ring. The chronograph pushers offer a truly tactile feel.
At the periphery of the movement, the two-level flange allows to read the different time indications. The first inner ring features the minute track and tachymeter. The second ring has screw-like hour markers rhodium plated and filled with SLN. The hour and minute hands’ tips are also filled with luminescent material while the chronograph second hand is red.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph comes on a sporty black notched rubber strap with a pattern inspired by tyre marks. Both the strap and the triple folding clasp are fitted with a quick-release mechanism that allows you to change your strap in seconds with no tools.
Like all Roger Dubuis, the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph will evoke strong opinions. It makes a bold statement in many respects, from its dimensions to its materials, finishings and colours. If there is indeed a lot going on, the RD 780 calibre architecture is beautiful and the finishing is compelling. If you are looking for something unique and have a weakness for expressive watches and sports cars, I can only recommend that you go hands-on with the model, if only to check it out in person. The price is set at CHF 91,200 (excl. taxes) or EUR 110,000 (incl. taxes).
For more details, please visit www.rogerdubuis.com