Swiss luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis is known for its unique designs and groundbreaking innovations in both material and mechanics. All of Roger Dubuis’ creations have been granted the prestigious Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Seal). At this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, Roger Dubuis unveiled a series of luxury mechanical timepieces dedicated to women connoisseurs and collectors. We caught up with the brand's CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué to talk about the appeal of Roger Dubuis’ bold and ultra luxurious creations.
Read on for our verdict of Roger Dubuis' 2016 novelties here.
Gregory Bruttin, the mastermind behind Roger Dubuis' groundbreaking innovations such as the Quatuor balanciers, has spent a challenging yet fruitful year developing an entire collection of women's mechanical watches.
"It's been a most challenging year for me," says the brand's product strategy director. "Developing women's watches requires an entirely different mindset from men's. We delve more into the emotional part of the product. The feeling that a timepiece evokes is as important as its technical aspects."
Roger Dubuis' latest collection was inspired by haute couture - its creativity, quality, innovation and luxury were vividly demonstrated at its booth at this year's SIHH. The space was transformed to resemble a starry red carpet, while gown-clad models flashed megawatt beams at flashlights.
The collection includes new updates of the maison's iconic women's watch, the Velvet, in five variations: Blossom Velvet, Velvet Secret Heart, Black Velvet, Velvet by Massaro - Rita and Velvet Ribbon Haute Joaillerie. All the Poinçon de Geneve-bearing timepieces feature mechanical calibres. Many models come in a limited offering of no more than 88 pieces.
"We believe women love mechanical watches too. It's important for us to offer watches with a real beating heart. The women's watch segment is very important for us," Bruttin says.
Roger Dubuis' collaboration with couture shoemaker Massaro probably interprets the haute couture theme most directly. The result is a subtle white gold piece featuring brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, decor and lugs matched with a pleated leather gold strap co-designed by Massaro. It is limited to only 88 pieces.
Bruttin and his team work painstakingly to create movements for women's pieces. The Velvet Secret Heart, for example, features the self-wound RD821B calibre, boasting a bi-retrograde jumping date function in perfect harmony with the signature tonneau dial shape of the Velvet model.
"We wanted to launch a feminine complication. The easy way was to create a moon phase but we wanted to offer something different," Bruttin says.
The bi-retrograde calendar is also the brand founder's favourite movement. From the early days of the maison, Roger Dubuis has been a pioneer in perfecting the complication.
The aesthetics and finishing are perfect, ensuring the elegance and splendour of the Velvet Secret Heart.
Two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds totalling about 1.4ct adorn the bezel and inner bezel ring. The double-retrograde date indication outlines the curve of the dial, intricately achieving a fully integrated harmony. The timepiece is available with a 36mm white gold dial and limited to only eight pieces.
The other variation of the piece comes without diamonds on the outer bezel or the double-retrograde calendar function.
Three unique pieces of Blossom Velvet also adopt the elegant stone setting on the bezel and inner bezel ring, and the lugs and barrel on the dial. They all feature a grand feu enamel dial embellished with exquisite enamel flowers dotted by diamonds.
The unique pieces come in three combinations: pink gold with mauve enamel dial, white gold with blue dial enamel dial, and pink gold with black enamel dial. About 3.5 ct of diamonds are set on each one.
This year's offerings also address collectors looking for even more creative and eccentric picks. The Velvet Ribbon Haute Joaillerie, for example, features 631 diamonds totalling 52.7ct. Its dial is fully paved with baguette-cut diamonds, while emerald-cut diamonds adorn the strap. It is limited to eight pieces.
If the high-jewellery pieces answer to traditionalists and purists, the Black Velvet is something for the more adventurous. The piece features an ultralight carbon dial accentuated by white Roman numerals. The clasp is treated with diamond-like carbon. Its bezel and decor are set with eye-catching Paraiba tourmalines.