Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus in Machina
The watch industry is certainly no stranger to dichotomy. A solid gold dive watch. A million-dollar, mud-resistant survival watch. And new from Roger Dubuis, a minute repeater in a case that can only be described as the Knights of the Round Table…in space.
None can best Roger Dubuis’s commitment to traditional craft within complex constructions, but it wasn’t always this way.
Roger Dubuis History
Roger Dubuis laid the foundations for his namesake brand in the mid-nineties. Surprisingly, as the classic, round, Bi-retrograde timepieces could easily be confused as hailing from the forties. 2005’s Excalibur was a dramatic departure that would later shape the format for Roger Dubuis’s contemporary creations. By this time, Roger had already left in 2003, and could only observe as the collection became more cutting-edge than traditional. Sadly, Dubuis passed away in 2017.
Dancers to a Discordant System
This latest Excalibur forms a crystalline dial with petrol blue bridges that blend into the Roman numerals. Additionally, the partially opaque flying tourbillon at 5:30 that further accentuates the offbeat design. The “Diabolus in Machina” name refers to an outlawed tritone chord from Medieval times. The dissonant tonality is heard with the actuation of the minute repeater button between 9 and 10 o’clock. The button also includes an “all or nothing” safety feature that prevents accidental activation. I enjoy how Roger Dubuis links the fabled sword Excalibur to the era the chimes draw their inspiration.
Let’s be honest, the minute repeater may be the simplest method of telling the time with this watch. The sword-shaped hands get a bit lost within the skeletonized dial. With the Diabolus in Machina being a unique piece, I’m sure the lucky owner won’t be using this to track their cardio burns. But with 30 meters of water resistance, spilled drinks will be ok. The blue calf-leather strap also features an interesting 3D motif that continues the energy of the proprietary case material. Referred to as CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM®, this metal is a powder composite that is heated and treated to achieve a higher-grade of polish and wear-resistance.
A personal aside
My first exposure to the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina came from the embedded video on the Watches & Wonders website. It’s the usual shape-shifting, flashy, over-produced digital video you typically see playing in the background of an exhibitor’s booth. Yet, I kept watching it on playback as I couldn’t shake the sense of familiarity. The way the geometric shapes sharpen and contort to the dial reminded me of my recent playtime in Gears 5. Lockdown has me confined to my TV room, and Gears 5 has been a welcome distraction. In the game, icicles pepper the ground you stand on during avalanches and windstorms. The dial formation took me back to breathlessly navigating a path to the exit whilst avoiding the ice spears.
As the Diabolus in Machina is a complex and exclusive piece, the price is €585,000. You can see more about the watch on the Roger Dubuis site here.