The stream of unveilings from this year’s SIHH 2011 never seems to end. Among dozens of look-alikes, the new Roger Dubuis Le Chronographe La Monegasque (Ref. MG44-680-90-00/0ER01/B) with its uniquely shaped body and no-nonsense dial feels like a breath of fresh air.
After Richemont Group (a conglomerate of super-brands that includes such awe-inspiring names as IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin) acquired a majority stake in the Swiss manufacture, it took a couple of years to really start the things going. However, after this period of uncertainty, the company started churning out gorgeous, almost stunning watches with not a single model that could be described as what musicians call ‘filler’.
This year the Swiss manufacture is going to sell its new Roger Dubuis Le Chronographe La Monegasque (Ref. MG44-680-90-00/0ER01/B) automatic watch.
Unlike many majors that try to be jacks of all trades offering dozens of collections of hundreds of models that often have very little family resemblance with each other Roger Dubuis tries to keep their design language as, um, continuous as possible. Although sometime they overdo it a little, all in all they are very consistent.
This new Le Chronographe La Monegasque is a perfect example of this approach. While it doesn’t sport that familiar notched bezel, the way it styled makes the watch so easily recognizable that you don’t really need that ‘Roger Dubuis’ inscription on the dial to get the idea where this beautiful gadget comes from.
Presented earlier this month in a 44 mm stainless steel case (pictured, a version in rose gold will also be available as a limited edition model,) the watch surprised me a little. Given its stated width and the visual length of its integrated lugs, I expected the timepiece to take a lot of space on a wrist. However, to my amazement, the device actually looks quite home on a normal (and, of course, absolutely perfect on a wider) wrist, although those guys with thinner bones may still experience a mild case of tough luck: however successfully the timekeeper’s designer did his or her job, size is size. It still matters when it comes to such things.
The case may remind you of old Omega and Rolex watches, but that’s in fact a version of a design that was very popular some forty years ago.
Also, however masculine it is, the watch doesn’t look brutal. All lines are easily flowing, there are no sharp angles between surfaces, and even the satin-brushed finish looks refined enough to look very organic together with polished parts of the case. The latter not only look nice and shiny, but are also partially responsible for that feeling of lightness that the device produces.
To my taste, the crown and chronograph push-pieces are a bit too low-profile, but otherwise they are quite comfortable to operate.
The watch features a new RF680 self-winding chronograph movement.
Built of 261 parts and featuring a micro-rotor winding system, the movement is manufactured solely in-house and is only 6.30 mm thick.
The movement has a very ‘vintage’ feel about it with all the small polished parts clearly visible over the guilloched base plate that features the usual diagonal Geneva stripes pattern. Perhaps, from a piece of such a high pedigree one would be rightful to expect a more elaborate finish, but I sort of get the idea: the mechanism with its reserved approach to decor plays really well with the understated elegance of the case and dial.
Oh, the dial!
There something about it that reminds of roulette table with the way its white (or very light grey) Arabic numerals are executed over black background of the chapter ring. The double-stick hour markers that are applied on the inner part of the dial together with numeral “12” as well as red tachymeter scale printed over black bezel flange, reinforce this idea in a very gentle way.
All in all, this is a superb timekeeper that should be considered by every serious collector.
There is still no info regarding the chronograph’s recommended price and availability (all I was able to find in this regard was a rather irritating invitation to “call for price,”) but if you are into “historic” timepieces, you should definitely keep an eye on this model when it finally goes on sale. Expect it to be quite expensive though.
Photos: Roger Dubuis
Roger Dubuis Le Chronographe La Monegasque (Ref. MG44-680-90-00/0ER01/B) automatic watch specification
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RD680, in-house, 31.01 mm in diameter, 6.30 mm in height, 261 components, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 42
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, column-wheel chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Stainless steel / Rose gold
Bezel material: Stainless steel / Rose gold
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Cushion
Case size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Dial: Satin sunburst center, circular satin exterior
Hands: Dauphine, polished, steel
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire