This is certainly not for everyone, and Roger Dubuis is not at all afraid to make that clear. The young watchmaker best known for their mastery of full skeletonization and the more impressive feat of combining skeletonization with the tourbillon creates what can only be described as audacious watches. In short, their pieces are not for wallflowers or classicists or anyone seeking not to be noticed. They are for, say, the brave young men who drive sunshine-yellow Lamborghinis, which is really the supercar equivalent of this super watch.
So perfectly parallel are the two companies that they created 88 limited edition watches plus an even more exclusive set of only eight pieces (which are, sadly, all gone). Olivier Gudin, managing director of Southeast Asia and Oceania of Roger Dubuis, describes the collaboration as very natural, even fluid. (It helped that their CEOs, Jean-Marc Pontroue of Roger Dubuis and Stefano Domenicali of Lamborghini, hit it off).
Many things intersected, from the (freaky or serendipitous) coincidence that both companies produce around 4,000 units every year and have about 180 dealers around the world to the more important stuff like their shared focus on high performance and exclusive materials and a similar philosophy of disrupting what is normal.
“For us, it's more than just a common partnership. It’s really an alliance in which we would feel each other,” says Gudin. The car designers helped the watch designers dream up elements of the watch—and what they learned, having being used to doing things large, is that working on a tiny scale is challenging, but also interesting and fun. “They realized that a lot of lines [from the car] can be applied in a [watch's] movement,” he says.
More than a year and half of work resulted in the perfect confluence of crazy watch and crazy car, the Excalibur Aventador S. The cover of the watch movement, specifically the “X bars,” is reminiscent of the cover of the V12 engine of the Lamborghini Aventador S. The color yellow is also signature Lamborghini, “a very provocative color, a color that is not very often used in watchmaking.”
That this is made of carbon is also of note. The material gives the watch a very noticeable lightness as if it feels like nothing on the wrist (it's 10 times lighter than gold, notes Gudin), and that may be worrisome for men who equate a certain heft with high quality.
Gudin waves this off. Being light as air doesn't mean that the material is questionable, especially when it is carbon, which is now used in many everyday objects, including cars and gadgets, and is actually very expensive to manufacture. Younger clients, in fact, welcome the weight, and are “not at all disturbed by its lightness.”
Watchheads would also be glad to know that the timepiece makes use of a new calibre featuring two balance prongs that combine their frequencies to get a more precise average time. What's cool about the double sprung setup is that each prong lies at 45 degrees (like the suspension of a car) and “depending on the position of the wrist, the idea is to always have at least one balance prong which is almost flat.”
In all, the Excalibur Aventador S is a fantastic creation, but it can be divisive. It's either you're all over it or you don't understand it. How does Roger Dubuis feel about this? “We're happy about this,” says Gudin. “We don’t want to address ourselves to everyone. We want to talk to the people who are receptive to something different, something that will differentiate themselves from the rest. We're looking to people who dare to wear yellow shoes with a yellow watch.”
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