Bling Thing: The new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Superbia
Roger Dubuis makes some of the most flamboyant watches in the industry today. Over the years, the brand’s calling card has been oversized cases in exotic materials, extroverted designs, and partnerships with showy brands like Lamborghini. At Watches & Wonders Shanghai, the brand introduced yet another exercise in excess – the one-off Excalibur Superbia has 600 stones including diamonds and blue sapphires that amount to 11 carats. The watch costs close to $900,000 and is powered by a high-horology double flying tourbillon movement.
The Excalibur Superbia’s creation is inspired by the work of Japanese artist Kaz Shirane. Widely acclaimed for his work in interior design and spatial art, Shirane’s installation featuring prism-shaped mirrors is echoed by the tetrahedron-shaped gems on the Excalibur Superbia. The watch’s imposing 45-mm-wide is made from a white gold and palladium alloy. The latter is a shiny white metal that’s rarer and more expensive now than gold. Every stone set on the flange, bezel, case, and crown is tetrahedron-shaped and assembled with an invisible setting, even on curved surfaces - a near-impossible task for gem setters.
A craftsmen has to prepare the case for invisible setting by creating grooves and ridges to hold each gem. The triangular pyramid shape of each stone makes this a harder-than-usual task, it requires extreme patience and skill to ensure the stones are set into the case without breakage. The spangled case alone holds 238 stones, each at at different angle. This complex arrangement means that the gem setter has to deal with the points of six or seven stones meeting simultaneously in the same spot. The entire process takes about three times longer than if the same case is set with baguette-cut stones. According to the brand, it takes 420 hours just to set the case and bezel. And we haven’t even talked about the grooving or the cutting of the stones.
Such is the focus on the gem setting that it’s easy to forget that the watch is powered by brand new movement – the skeletonized Caliber RD108SQ, an update on the RD105SQ, which was the first skeletonized movement with a double flying tourbillon connected with a differential. The characteristic star-shaped bridge of the Excalibur range is set with diamonds and the open-worked dial’s double section flange is studded with diamonds and sapphires. The manual-winding movement has a power reserve of 72 hours and has the prestigious Geneva Seal (Poinçon de Genève) – a quality seal for movements assembled in the Canton of Geneva that focuses on the movement’s finishing and decoration.
Priced at $858,500, the Excalibur Superbia is a one-off piece and is part of Roger Dubuis’ Unique series (which also features the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina minute repeater) that allows buyers to customise each watch to ensure exclusivity.