Just ahead of the Digital Edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021, Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis, tells MONOCHROME about the brand and the new Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – You were literally born inside the world of watchmaking. How did you arrive at your current position as head of Roger Dubuis?
Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis – Well, it’s been a long journey. My family comes from the watch industry. We have been manufacturing components (cases and bracelets) for three generations in Italy and Switzerland. I grew up going to the factory. I have always been amazed by how a piece of raw metal can be converted into a piece of art. Since I was very young, I could see exactly how these things are made, learning how machines work; I was meeting suppliers, clients, attending Baselworld since I was 16. It was fun.
My father sent me to study finance. But after my studies, I thought, ‘okay, watches are in my blood’. I left for Hong Kong, where I started working for what you call a general contractor. I learned a lot, and I spent five amazing years in Asia. When I came back to Europe, I started my own brand, which was pretty successful. I ran it for ten years and then sold it after the 2009 crisis. Then, I joined Tiffany’s after the relationship with Swatch Group was closed and wanted to manage their watch business independently. I started from scratch, and we grew to be more than 100 people. And then I crowned my career at probably the best place I could ever be, which is the leadership of Roger Dubuis. This is really the epitome of my career, not only because of the fantastic timepieces we create but also because of the spirit of the brand. I’ve always been into every possible extreme sport. I am an aerobatic pilot, I skydive, windsurf, I’ve raced cars… And suddenly, I find myself in a place where all my passions are actually part of the brand’s story.
What makes Roger Dubuis watches stand apart?
It’s all about emotions. The timepieces we manufacture convey emotions. These spectacular timepieces are pieces of art that sometimes require years to be designed and produced. And we decided to connect our brand and the brand narrative with two fields of expression. The first one is what we call the ‘adrenaline factor’. It has to do with motorsport and intense emotions. It is about always living life on the edge. The partnerships with Lamborghini and Pirelli encapsulate this. The second territory of expression is what we call ‘expressive singularity’. It has to do with the need to express yourself, with the idea that each of us is different and that each one of us can enjoy and live life to the best. More and more, we are connecting this expressive singularity with contemporary art. It reflects the idea that you can have different perspectives on things.
In a word, Roger Dubuis is about excess but excess in the original etymology of the word. In Latin, excess means ‘going beyond’, getting out of your comfort zone, pushing boundaries… Because excess can also be taken negatively, we use three additional attributes that convey the positivity of the word: pleasure, madness and freedom. We talk to people who really want to enjoy life to the full and have the freedom to express themselves. I love the fact that we are polarizing. That means that you are having an impact, that you do not leave people indifferent. I believe that the best things in life are not for everybody.
Can you tell us about your Watches & Wonders 2021 novelties?
It’s going to be an important year for Roger Dubuis as we have decided to reinvent or reshape an icon conceived in 2005, the Excalibur. We thought it was time for us to update it because it was designed at a different moment, and we are always looking forward. This led us to this idea, which is a very risky one, of reinventing an icon. It is about evolving a design while making sure not to disrupt things completely. It is about turning it into something more contemporary while making sure we are not disconnected from the classical world of Swiss horology.
We chose to use different lines; we eliminated the curves, for example, which was a big part of the baroque approach that Roger Dubuis always had. The case is still oversized but refined. The simple and double tourbillon have the same volume as before, the same thickness, same depth, same width, but in the end, the case looks completely different because of the way we have stretched the lines and eliminated curves. We have worked with all angles and surfaces. The result is much lighter. In my view, it is absolutely stunning. It is clearly a Roger Dubuis. We kept key elements, but everything has been reshaped… and the work didn’t finish with the case. We have completely reworked the movements starting from the double tourbillon. We reworked the gearing and the tourbillon for enhanced performance. But as always, the technique is at the service of the aesthetics.
More details at www.rogerdubuis.com.