Roger Dubuis (Est. 1995 – ) In the centuries old watch making trade, founders of firms with histories of nearly a century or more are, unsurprisingly, often said to be pioneers. Founders of firms of a more recent vintage are often called, “avant garde, “eccentric,” and occasionally “oddball.” While those latter terms have been associated with the firm, Roger Dubuis, they can obscure the brand’s heritage.
Roger Dubuis began his career in 1950 as a complication engineer who became a master in the watchmaking field. After fourteen years of developing complications for Patek Philippe, he opened his own shop in 1980. There he performed repairs and restorations and also accepted commissions to design new complications for other major brands.
In 1993, Carlos Dias, a collector of wrist watches as well as a watch expert, founded his company and called it SOGEM. By then, Dias was already known as a visionary with a keen sense of style who earned that reputation while working for Franck Muller. In 1995, the two men joined forces to create the Roger Dubuis brand of men and women’s luxury watches and established their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The collaboration between the two men was inspired when they first met. From the beginning, the ambition of the Roger Dubuis brand was virtually ordained to become a top-level, fully integrated manufacture. In 1999, after four years of development, the firm introduced its first models that were fully designed and developed in-house.
In 2001, the brand established its industrial complex and watch manufacture on the outskirts of Geneva and named it, Meyrin. This light and airy building, designed in an avant-garde style, housed almost all watchmaking trades as well as the Roger Dubuis headquarters.
By 2005, the brand had built a full cycle manufacture that was responsible for the company’s final assembly of its watches as well as with the production of all the components and details of movements including the balance settings.
Five hundred employees work in the Roger Dubuis manufacture that produces only 2000 watches per year. The high quality of the watches is achieved through careful treatment of the movement’s details. Watchmakers work on a single item for almost three months. The brand’s tourbillons and other watch movements are marked with the Geneva Seal.
In an astonishingly short time, the brand achieved its goal of striking a fine balance between traditional watchmaking expertise and avant‑garde design. The brand’s bold creations are rich in conceptual creativity and mechanical detail and use only the finest watch mechanisms.
Roger Dubuis utilizes the popular approach to business in the exclusive watch world. It charges high prices while offering a low supply of models. Limited edition pieces with their aggressive sense of style and nearly unmatched watchmaking proficiency have been the ingredients that created and assured Roger Dubuis’ success.
Roger Dubuis watches are produced in collections named Hommage, Simpathie, MuchMore, TooMuch, FollowMe, GoldenSquare, Excalibur, EasyDiver, and KingSquare. The collections are inspired by four different worlds: Player, Warrior, Venturer, and Diva. La Monegasque for the Player, Excalibur for the Warrior, Pulsion for the Venturer, and Velvet for the Diva.
Drawing inspiration from Monte Carlo, the La Monégasque collection’s distinctive feature is its unique shape that highlights refined, elegant lines. With its watchmaking codes rooted in tradition, La Monégasque signifies audacity and excellence.
The keynotes of the Excalibur collection are technical excellence and powerful design. In extravagant expressions of style and watchmaking expertise, this line takes fine watchmaking to lofty horizons.
The Pulsion collection is technical, powerful and, dynamic. Its screwed crystal and lack of a crown make it a combination of dynamism and strength expected from watches built for action while simultaneously employing the visible complexity of contemporary watchmaking.
Velvet watches, the divas of watchmaking, attract attention by their allure. They feature split-level stylized dials, figures and appliques that converge at the center, decorated clasps; and the part-circle, part-barrel-shape of trompe-l’oeil cases.
In the Hommage line, the brand pays tribute to its founding father, Roger Dubuis. This exclusive collection is marketed to fine watchmaking enthusiasts and meets the required specifications of a prestigious precision instrument.
The Historic collections comprises KingSquare that features an imposing square case and EasyDiver with watches designed for sports enthusiasts.
In 1999, the brand supplemented its original lines with the launch of the TooMuch and MuchMore collections some of whose pieces boast enamel decoration.
By 2005, the firm completed construction of a second building that served to regroup the 500 employees in a single 14,500 square-meter site. The 120 machines of its micromechanical engineering workshops could now produce the entire range of parts for proprietary Roger Dubuis movements. By fully verticalizing its state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, the brand proved its status as an authentic Manufacture.
In April 2006, the brand presented six new movements at Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), three of them for the first time. They were fitted mainly in the latest Excalibur models and brought the number of manufactured movements to 28, each of which was hallmarked with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, known more commonly as the Geneva Seal.
In August 2008, the Richemont Group acquired 60% of Roger Dubuis, SA. Richemont, based in Geneva, and also owners of the Cartier and Piaget watch brands, said the acquisition was a private transaction with Carlos Dias, chief executable officer and primary shareholder of the Roger Dubuis Company. Since then, Richemont has continued to manufacture watches under the Roger Dubuis name.
The last decade has proven that the brand is not content to rest on its laurels. Roger Dubuis presented two world firsts in 2013 with the RD-101 calibre, the world’s first mechanical calibre with four balance assemblies and five differentials to link them together.
The movements were set into the first industry watch case to be produced entirely in silicon. Introduced as the Excalibur Quatuor, its sound is also unique.
Each balance pulses four times per second, and no two balances oscillate simultaneously. That means that instead of the classic tick, the watch sounds more like a whirring machine. Made of 590 distinct parts, the watch has a 40-hour power reserve function for which the company has applied for a patent.
Silicon was used for the entire watch case because of its low weight and durability. It is four times harder than steel, yet weighs much less. Despite the Excalibur Quatuors’ large watch face (48 mm), it weighs less than a standard gold watch.
As is standard for the brand, the silicon version of the Excalibur Quatuor is an extremely limited edition. Only three silicon Excalibur Quatuor watches exist in the world, complete with a hand-stitched alligator strap and silicon buckle. At its debut, the watch cost $1.1 million.
In 2015, the brand reaffirmed its position in the field of contemporary skeleton watches with the Excalibur Spider Skeleton that was presented in a version with the world’s first gem-set rubber bezel.
Over the past five years, the brand has pushed to expand its presence in both the Asian and US markets. In the US, Roger Dubuis watches cost an average of $60,000.
Roger Dubuis watches continue to be produced in very limited-editions so every owner senses the oneness of the watch he or she possesses. Each model has a unique identity code.
Whether a man’s or a woman’s watch, conventional or intended as sportswear, medium-size or large, with a simple, complicated or grandly complicated movement, each watch signed ‘Roger Dubuis’ expresses a strong personality through immediately recognizable identity codes.
The Roger Dubuis brand recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary and is recognized as one of the most popular and fastest-growing brands in the world.