It is a horological UFO that has landed in the Roger Dubuis galaxy, loaded with apparent contradictions. It’s called the Millésime, but it will only be produced for store openings and not, as its name suggests, for specific years. It’s part of the Hommage collection, but it’s a unique piece. It’s a new watch, but based on an existing calibre – a first for Roger Dubuis! And it’s a pocket watch, another rarity from the brand…
At first glance, this “Roger Dubuis Hommage Millésime” raises a lot of questions, starting with the origins of its base calibre, about which the only thing we know is that it is a LeCoultre. The project will continue only with grand complications and the brand indicates which ones: a perpetual calendar, either alone or together with one of the three principal complications (minute repeater, tourbillon or chronograph).
Here lies an old quarrel among purists: should the tourbillon be considered a complication? Technically, yes. But horological orthodoxy rejects this, since a complication should add an indication to the time display. The tourbillon adds nothing, since it is a type of escapement. But let’s leave this aside for the moment, since the Millésime 2015 has no tourbillon!
Reverting to type
Beyond these considerations, the art of restoration is nothing new at Roger Dubuis, nor is it in the industry as a whole. The same is true, for example, of Michel Parmigiani, who is in charge of restoring the immense watch collection of the Sandoz Foundation, which also owns the Parmigiani brand.
Roger Dubuis the watchmaker is of the same generation and enjoys the same hobby. In 2001 he acquired a batch of old movement blanks in the hope of restoring them and bringing them up to the level of the Geneva Hallmark, one of the signatures of the brand which had borne his name for six years already at the time. Only one of these ever saw the light of day, the RD60, which was bought for one million Swiss francs. The new watch, with its sober name of Hommage Millésime 2015, is in the same league at 875,000 Swiss francs. This is by no means uncharted territory for Roger Dubuis, whose Quatuor model with a silicon case costs 850,000 euros.
So what’s new?
At this price, and for such a rare object in the Roger Dubuis collection, the only real question is does it bring anything genuinely new?
Above all it introduces a new style. The brand has managed to add a contemporary touch to a classical undertaking based on a superannuated calibre, which is quite an achievement. In order to do so, Roger Dubuis used its own font, which is very straight, almost oversized. The movement has also been entirely open-worked, which gives it an undeniably modern touch.
Last but not least, the watch has been finished to the standards required by the Geneva Hallmark 2.0, which came into force in June 2012. An excellent challenge met with gusto by Roger Dubuis, since most of the finishing has been applied directly to the mainplate and the components.