Taking A Spin With The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X
You were either Team Testarossa or Team Countach. In the 1980s, these two cars ruled the walls of young kids’ bedrooms. The swooping lines of the Ferrari inspired ambitious dreams in fierce red. The monstrous Lamborghini did the same in cool, snow white. Fast forward four decades. How many dreamers of yesteryear drive Italian supercars nowadays? Never mind. Let’s focus on a watch that matches the poster that hung on your bedroom wall many moons ago. Or the screensaver on your laptop of the Countach LPI 800-4, a modern homage to the original car that Lamborghini launched two years ago. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X perfectly matches the mid-engine, hybrid-electric hypercar. Both the car and watch are hyper-exclusive, but during Watches and Wonders 2023, we managed to try on one of eight Countach-inspired double-tourbillon timepieces.
It looked like it performed — outrageous. The original Lamborghini Countach, made between 1974 and 1990, was a sharply angled Marcello Gandini design that was impossible to overlook. The “wedge design” created by the Italian designer working for Bertone was extravagant, futuristic, and loud. Just like the large V12 housed in between the driver and the rear axle. Driving the car was an attack on the senses. The racket inside the cabin was overwhelming, the speed terrifying — zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds was blisteringly fast in the 1980s — and it took quite a bit of strength to operate the pedals and the steering wheel. The road handling at high speed was surprisingly crisp and precise, though, but it took a fair dose of willpower to drive the car fast. The 2021 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4, a hybrid-electric sports car, is a spectacular yet civilized homage. There’s also a matching watch.
A short but exciting ride with the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X hyper watch
The new Countach is way more exclusive than the old one. Of the original Countach that was made in five different versions — it started with the US$52,000 LP400 and ended with the 25th Anniversary model — 2,042 cars left the Lamborghini production facility in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The Countach LPI 800-4 is much rarer and more expensive. Just 112 cars were made, and the base price was US$2.64 million. Why 112 pieces, you ask? Because 112 was the internal code name of the original car before it got the name Countach, which, in the local Piedmontese dialect, is used more to express amazement and admiration. It’s like “my goodness!” in English. Well, the expression not only applies to the car but also to the watch that Roger Dubuis created to celebrate the rebirth of the Countach. I got a chance to take it for a short spin during Watches and Wonders 2023.
The Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X is overwhelming in every possible sense
Interestingly, the Countach watch is more exclusive than the car it’s inspired by. It is “cheaper” than the multi-million dollar car — the Countach DT/X is “only” US$851,000 before tax — but instead of a matching 112 watches, Roger Dubuis decided to build just eight pieces of the white watch. The market for hypercars is slightly bigger than the one for hyper watches; I get it. Anyway, one of eight Countach watches landed on my wrist, and that was quite the experience. First, it was because the imposing watch has a 47mm diameter and a 16.45mm case thickness. It’s big, it’s brash, and it’s bold, but it’s not heavy.
What do you think the “body” of this Countach is made of? Carbon fiber? Ceramic? Nope. The case is made of Roger Dubuis’s exclusive, high-tech Mineral Composite Fiber (MCF). This material is 99.5% silica and gets its final shape through a Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) process. And not only is MCF 2.5 times lighter than ceramic and 13% lighter than carbon, but it can also be colored very precisely. This enabled Roger Dubuis to replicate the exact shade of the original Countach car — pearlescent Bianco Siderale white. Ferruccio Lamborghini’s color of choice for the revolutionary car now graces the case of a watch that shows many elements of the vintage and modern Countach.
In the rearview mirror
Both the exterior and interior of the Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X show distinct automotive shapes. The movement inside the case is the in-house caliber RD112. And that name pays tribute to the internal codename 112 of the original Countach. The RD112 features two tourbillons tilted at 90 degrees to each other in a “V” configuration, resembling the V12 power plant of the mighty Countach.
But the detail my eyes go back to again and again is found at 6 o’clock. The black diagonal lines on the open-worked dial resemble the same characteristic lines on the hood and the rear engine compartment. During the first four years of the Countach’s production, the super low car had a periscope-like rearview mirror installed into its roof. And the geometric lines of the engine cover pointed towards this original solution that enabled the driver to look at the traffic rapidly disappearing in the distance. That detail says “Countach” like no other detail does.
Having said that, the V-twin tourbillons are a spectacular horological accomplishment. They feature ultralight titanium cages, and since every tenth of a gram counts in a watch engine that has to very carefully watch its energy consumption, this gives the movement a 72-hour power reserve. Another striking design detail is the presence of the small triple hexagons framing the tourbillons. The larger versions of these hexagons form the rear light clusters of the road-going Countach.
The Countach on the wrist
Yes, the watch is big, but the multi-piece rubber strap with fabric mesh inserts and a quick-release titanium clasp keeps it firmly on the wrist. It felt smaller than the Excalibur Eon Gold that I tried a while back. It didn’t look small, though. The 47 × 16.45mm case is, of course, already size XL, and since the color white doesn’t exactly slim things down visually, the watch looks massive on the wrist. Massively impressive too. And that’s exactly what it wants to do — impress. It does so with many “Lambo” design details and a V-twin tourbillon power unit. This super exotic and rare creation will turn heads wherever and whenever it rolls into view.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X: who is it for?
The super light, super complicated, superlative hyper watch with a superlative price is made for a hyper-privileged group of people. For eight lucky drivers of one of the 112 Countach LPI 800-4 hybrid hypercars, for instance. Still, with just eight of these watches in existence, the competition is fierce. Try to picture the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X in a virtual multi-brand watch store. In this store, the “RD” has to fight for attention with creations from the contemporary styled likes of Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, Purnell, and also Jacob & Co. with its outrageous Bugatti Chiron timepiece.
The RD, however, holds a trump card, and that’s, maybe surprisingly, a very traditional extra. What the competition lacks is the presence of the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva. Please remember that the brand’s founder and name giver was a master watchmaker who was firmly rooted in traditional Haute Horlogerie. Mister Dubuis (1938–2017), who worked in the high-complication workshops at the likes of Patek Philippe, was on a perpetual quest for excellence, and the presence of the Hallmark of Geneva on his creations underlined that. To acquire the coveted Hallmark, it takes approximately 40% more production time to insure certification.
“At Roger Dubuis, we create Haute Horlogerie that never looks back”
Do clients of Roger Dubuis care about the Hallmark of Geneva? I got the chance to ask Roger Dubuis CEO Nicola Andreatta during Watches and Wonders:
“First, our clients and target audience are very knowledgeable. Horology holds almost no secrets for them. They form highly specialized, tribe-like watch communities. Having such scrutinizing clients and possible clients means you can’t cut any corners when it comes to quality. Having the Hallmark of Geneva symbolizes and guarantees traditional qualities, and our clients recognize and value that. At Roger Dubuis, we create futuristic Haute Horlogerie that never looks back. We don’t do retro; we do polarizing, avant-garde designs with industrial design codes. But we do honor traditional horological values. That tradition is the foundation on which we build. And what we build are polarizing hyper watches for hyper people. The Hallmark of Geneva is very important to us. So important that, in the next two years, we will become a 100% Hallmark of Geneva brand.”
Final Fratello Top Tip
You enjoyed the poster of the Countach above your bed in the ’80s, but the actual car stayed out of reach. The modern Countach is positioned in a gated paradise that only 1% of the world’s population has access to. You’re way too mature now to pin a poster of the Countach LPI 800-4 above the bed — your partner will veto your childish wall art in case you actually think of doing it. Luckily, there’s yet another Fratello Top Tip to help you out of your pickle. Watches are way more “mature” and “cultured” than cars. So what you have to do is go on the Roger Dubuis website, find the email address of the PR department, and ask them for a poster of the Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X. You’re welcome.
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