Officially unveiled at SIHH 2011 event, the new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady features the same easily recognizable design that we have already seen early last year when the Swiss-based brand started selling the Excalibur Tourbillon Minute Repeater model. Having all of the rough edges smoothed down a bit to better suit needs of a modern woman, the watch still makes a very strong impression: it is clearly designed with a business person who wants to make a statement, once and for all.
As usual, the new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady Automatic watch is presented in a choice of three cases: an unassuming stainless steel, inconspicuous white gold and, of course, gorgeous rose gold (pictured). The latter, the most imposing of them all, comes with 48 diamonds set on its trademark notched bezel.
At 36 millimeters in diameter, the timekeeper doesn’t look especially oversized. Perhaps, the effect is achieved thanks to well-chosen proportions: equipped with an in-house movement that measures just over 3.4 mm top to bottom, the watch is incredibly slim making it a lot more comfortable to wear.
All in all, with its nicely polished edges and well-executed satin-brushing of just the right, um, intensity, the watch makes an impression of a carefully designed piece that seems to be worth every penny the brand asks you.
Although most timekeepers that are designed for ladies almost always center on looks leaving the choice of mechanism to the marketing department, this new Excalibur model still pays great attention to the movement. And justly so: employing a very impressive team of industrial designers and highly skilled artisans, Roger Dubuis has all the cards on its hands to make stunning, almost jaw-dropping timekeepers without resorting to fancy materials or superfluous decor.
This particular model, for example, is powered by the Caliber RD821 automatic COSC-certified chronometer movement. Presented about a year ago, the ultra-thin caliber features rhodium-plated bridges, is adorned with Cotes de Geneve pattern, and bears the famous Geneva Seal sign.
As the watch features a very simple dial layout with its hour and minute hands accompanied only by a subsidiary seconds hand indicator, the movement is rather simple in its design, but still comprises 168 parts and is built on 33 jewels.
It is nice to note that the caliber is nicely decorated with concentric Geneva stripes on its bridges and an imposing open-worked oscillating weight that proudly wears the same Hallmark of Geneva brand.
I have a feeling that this is not the last time we see this caliber: the brand will almost definitely use this simple workhorse as a base for other, more complex engines.
As I have already noted, the watch looks very slender and visually light, although the notched bezel adds a dissonant note to otherwise well-sculpted body.
However, the bezel is partially harmonized by a setting/winding crown that, while looking a bit rough, will be comfortable to operate even if you prefer longer nails.
Due to the circular shape of case, the lugs look a bit too long, but in reality add just around four or five millimeters to overall lug-to-lug length. On a wrist, the device will cover around 40 millimeters, which is almost too close, but still bearable.
What worries me a little the unusual trident-style design of the horns: while looking very nice, they may make finding a replacement strap a real pain, especially if you plan to buy a less expensive version in a stainless steel body (it, by the way, looks extremely cool when combined with a purple silk strap) and don’t feel like paying a premium for a new strap each time the original one starts to look a bit dated and worn.
The silvered satin sunburst dial is decorated with stretched Roman numerals that at first glance look just like a piece of decor, which is further emphasized by sunburst pattern on the dial plate. Although looking great and very organic (although, I imagine, some may find it a bit too visually aggressive, but that, too, comes with the territory when you buy a timekeeper with intentionally brutal design), alas, the black digits add small value to the timekeeper’s legibility: they are here more for decorative purposes.
Thankfully, even when it comes to a version in steel, the dauphine hands look contrast enough to be easily read. Of course, they come without any sort of luminous substance on them, but that’s alright: it’s not a tactical watch, after all.
The monotony of the dial is slightly diluted with the small seconds indicator positioned at 6 o’clock.
As for the price, the watch will be predictably expensive with version in steel (ref. RDDBEX0287) starting at impressive $20,000 USD and going all the way up to approximately $30,000 for a version in rose gold with diamonds.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady Automatic will be sold on a silk strap with a pin buckle.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Lady Automatic watch specification
Price: Starts at $20,000 for a version in steel
Movement: Automatic, RD821, 168 components, 25.94 mm in diameter, 3.43 mm in height, in-house, Swiss Made
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Stainless steel / Rose gold / White gold
Bezel material: Stainless steel / Rose gold / White gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 36.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Dial: Silvered, satin sunburst
Hands: Gold or Steel
Water resistance: 30 meters
Case back: Sapphire
Photos: Roger Dubuis