The new Dubey & Schaldenbrand Superbia NV Limited Edition automatic watch may be a very good acquisition if you are fed with all those major brands that you see in every magazine and want to own something different. The only thing that may stop you from buying (or, at least, wanting) this new model is its relatively big size of 50.50 mm x 35.00 mm.
In 1970s and 1980s, when the so called Quartz Crisis was decimating the industry of fine watches, Madame Cinette Robert who back then owned a small watch restoration business Horlogerie Ancienne was busy buying vintage mechanical movements that were considered obsolete by their manufacturers. Some people thought that she was out of her mind buying calibers that were soon to become relatively expensive scrap metal. They probably don’t think so now. Carefully restored and skillfully decorated, these movements gradually resurface powering highly exclusive watches sold under Dubey & Schaldenbrand brand name (Madame Robert bought the small watchmaking business from their single remaining founder fifteen years ago in 1995.)
One of these rare movements is a historic Lemania 8810 ultra-thin automatic movement. Based on the legendary Longines caliber L990, the movement is considered to be of the thinnest automatics with second hand and date. According to official specification, the movement is 26 mm in diameter and only 2.95 mm in height. It works on 25 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph, which makes it quite accurate. Its two mainspring barrels store enough energy to power the watch for as long as 48 hours. Like the rest of the pack, the movement is decorated and reassembled on premises by Dubey & Schaldenbrand. Its bridges are rhodium-treated and feature elegant Cotes de Geneva motif and the winding rotor features brand’s “DS” monogram.
Although the movement is quite small, it is placed into a very large case, which is made of 18-carat 5N rose gold. Being only 35.00 mm in width, the tonneau-shaped case is 50.50 mm in height! However, thanks its thickness of only 10.00 millimeters, the case looks almost razor sharp and easily fits under a long-sleeve shirt with normal cuffs.
My only complain about the case is that its bezel is set with daringly large diamonds. But maybe I am just not into precious stones…
The Dubey & Schaldenbrand Superbia NV comes with a chocolate brown dial featuring sun-brushed decor. Although the chapter ring is simply painted, the stick-shaped hour indexes at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock are applied.
The Dauphine hour and minute hands are made of steel plated with 18-carat 5N gold. The watch is issued in a limited lot of 50 pieces: a batch that is just the right size to justify the expenses need to design, manufacture, and promote the watch, while instantly making it a rare collector’s item.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: n/a
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: Dubey & Schaldenbrand
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Superbia NV automatic watch specification
Movement: Caliber Lemania 8810, historic, ultra-thin, double barrel, diameter 26.00 mm, height 2.95 mm, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Gold
Bezel material: Gold, set with diamonds
Case shape: Tonneau
Bezel shape: Tonneau
Case size: 50.50 mm x 35.00 mm
Case height: 10.0 mm
Dial: Chocolate brown
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Folded-edge dark chestnut brown alligator leather, tone on tone stitching, large square scales; 18K 5N gold tang
Crystal: Sapphire, convex spherical inside and outside, anti-reflective on the inside
Case back: Sapphire