The dressy Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Dome R92 Vintage is powered by a NOS Valjoux 92 hand-wound caliber and will soon be offered as a super limited edition of just 16 pieces with only one or two pieces available to US-based customers.
The legendary Valjoux 92 hand-wound caliber was first introduced more than 60 years ago. Sporting a unique swivel pinion design that was invented by Edouard Heuer (yes, the very same Edouard Heuer: a master watchmaker who founded Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG in 1860, patented his chronograph design in 1882 and a highly efficient “oscillating pinion” coupling system that is used even in modern chronograph calibers in 1887) himself back in 1880s, the movement still enjoys a lot of attention from independent watchmakers that use it to create their own limited-edition models (Carl F. Bucherer employed this beautiful movement for its exceptional Manero Tribute to MaBu bi-compax chronograph in rose gold).
For this Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Dome R92 Vintage model, D&S’s artisans took 16 of these old calibers and skeletonized them to the barest minimum leaving just enough rhodium-plated brass to hold the numerous gears without the mechanism bending like a dry leaf. The most affected was, of course, the base plate, which is clearly visible through a circular cutout on the timekeeper’s satin-brushed and black rhodium-plated dial.
The plate was skeletonized to such an extent that some people will have a hard time reading data on the two sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock, although the blued hands themselves are still contrasting enough to be discerned in the maze of gears, pinions, and hair-thin bridges.
Still, I must admit that, compared to painstakingly hand-engraved balance cocks on timepieces made by A. Lange & Sohne, this particular job looks somewhat crude and the lack of the usual vertical Geneva stripes on bridges doesn’t help either (just compare it with the gorgeous caliber L951.6 that powers their iconic Datograph AUF/AB model).
Of course, given the price level of both models (the Datograph is around 6 times more expensive than the Grand Dome R92, which is going to be offered at “just” $16,700 USD), the comparison is not that relevant after all, but the watch is still expensive enough for a potential owner to demand a lot more elaborate finish of the vintage caliber, especially given the fact that the caliber is the main selling point of this otherwise highly attractive time measuring device.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: Dubey & Schaldenbrand Dome GMT Automatic
Photos: Dubey & Schaldenbrand
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Dome R92 Vintage specification
Price: $16,700 USD (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, vintage 1950 Caliber Valjoux R92, column-wheel chronograph, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Extensively skeletonized, engraved
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 37.00 mm x 52.00 mm
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with personalized folding clasp in stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, convex
Back: Sapphire, crewed-down