Roger Dubuis’s watches might not be to everyone’s taste but they certainly will get you noticed. This is the brand that put four balance wheels in a watch – the Quatuor (below) – when everyone was showboating with their tourbillons and one that has used mink fur on its straps (above).
It’s safe to say that subtly isn’t a word highlighted in the company manifesto.
Roger Dubuis was set up just 20 years ago by its eponymous founder, a watchmaker previously employed at Patek Philippe to develop complications, and Carlos Dias, formerly a designer at Franck Muller.
Although the watches the brand produces now err on the side of the flamboyant, it wasn’t always the case.
The first watch the young Roger Dubuis created, while he was still a student at the Geneva Watchmaking School, was a very simple, round-cased design displaying hours, minutes and seconds. This very same design became the inspiration for the Hommage collection, which was the first the brand created and the one that was reimagined last year in celebration of Dubuis’s history.
Since then things have gotten slightly more eye-catching.
From the Monte Carlo-inspired Monegasque (above) to the skeletonised craziness of the Excalibur (below), Roger Dubuis’s designs constantly push the horological envelope.
It’s not just the cases that get this kind of attention, the movements do also, which isn’t surprising considering the innovativeness of some of the complications.
All of them are also submitted to the quality hallmark of the Poinçon de Genève – a certificate awarded to timepieces with remarkable finishes and decorative details – due to Dubuis himself being born in Geneva.
The brand’s 20-year history hasn’t all been plain sailing. In 2008 Carlos Dias left without explanation – Dubuis phased himself out of the company in 2003 having reached retirement age – and Dubuis has now been brought back by Richemont, which bought a 60 per cent from Dias in August 2008.
Roger Dubuis may be a young whippersnapper in the watch world, but it is certainly a company making its mark by bringing a little bit of craziness to the table.