Roger Dubuis’s CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué wants to get one thing straight from the outset: “This …
Although the primary mission of the Dubai Watch Week is to educate the public about the history and traditions of fine Swiss watchmaking (see separate article), there was no shortage of new watches for fans to discover at this year’s event, including special limited editions for the UAE and some first previews of watches that will be shown at the SIHH in January.
Ferdinand Berthoud brought its award-winning FB 1 chronometer to last year’s Dubai Watch Week and there was plenty of feedback from a watch-savvy public. The brand took this into account and came back this year with two new FB 1.4 models in titanium.
FB 1.4 Chronometer in titanium, available in two different dial coloursrs © Ferdinand Berthoud
Audemars Piguet, Roger Dubuis Watch Face Replica and Vacheron Constantin all used the Creative Hubs during the Dubai Watch Week to showcase some of the models they will be presenting at the SIHH in Geneva in January. Audemars Piguet focused on new models for ladies in the Millenary collection, while Vacheron Constantin presented a full calendar Traditionnelle model in its Collection Excellence Platine line (where as much of the watch as possible is in platinum – the case, crown, dial and even the thread in the stitching on the strap!) and a Dual Time version of the Overseas. For Roger Dubuis, the SIHH will be just one among several communications platforms next year as the brand moves heavily into motorsport and the world of luxury cars with its partnership with Lamborghini. Guests were treated to a sneak peek of a new white model in the brand’s Excalibur line that uses the rubber from Grand Prix winning Pirelli tyres on its straps. Richard Mille also presented a motorsport-themed watch in the form of a limited-edition RM 055 model for the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, of which the brand is an official partner.
New Millenary models © Audemars Piguet
The full calendar Traditionnelle model and the Dual Time versions of the Overseas © Vacheron Constantin
Excalibur Spider Pirelli white © Roger Dubuis
Hublot presented two special editions for the UAE that used the same idea as the Italia Independent models presented earlier this year, incorporating fabrics into the dial and strap. This time, it is the unique fabric used in the traditional ghatra of the region that is found on the dial. It was a lot more difficult to use on the dial because the fabric is very fine, but the result was well received by the local visitors, although they were as surprised as I was to discover that this fabric is actually made in Switzerland!
UAE special editions © Hublot
Hublot’s sister brand TAG Heuer also presented a limited edition for the region during the Dubai Watch Week. Unusually, the launch of the Autavia UAE edition, which was developed by TAG Heuer in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, will be staggered. Only nine were available during the Dubai Watch Week. A further 70 will be released in December and the remaining 71 pieces in the limited series of 150 will be available in the new year. With a tropical-style dial and brown colours on the bezel and strap reminiscent of the desert sands, Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holdings, is convinced that this watch will be a desirable collector’s item.
I also have to call out that, for all of the airy-ness of the plan, it still comes in at a fairly hefty 13.75mm thick – guess all those gears need to hide someplace (hint: it is vertically). That aside, for those who want to have an wonderful piece of timekeeping architecture in their wrist, the 20-piece variant of this Roger Dubuis Exalibur Spider Americas Edition is available at their New York boutique at a price of $167,500, in Roger Dubuis 545 Madison Avenue, New York. So here is something new in Roger Dubuis, and it is not just an extremely impressive looking pocket watch, but also something that the Swiss luxury watch brand expects will be a new tradition for them. Known only because the Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime pocket view, this merchandise is a one-of-a-kind creation based on a challenging restoration project of a classic pocket watch movement. In reality, “millesime” in French only means “vintage.” Roger Dubuis has declared that they’ll produce one such bit unique “restored vintage” watch each year and that those things will be available for sale exclusively in Roger Dubuis brand stalls around the world. That sounds like a fairly decent method of getting people in shops, or at least the shops that have these products. Will the next model be called the Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime 2? As the very first of its kind, the Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime should garner a good deal of attention if Roger Dubuis is to warrant the new group. Even though the cost for your Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime will not be exactly what folks consider inexpensive, it did demand huge quantities of time and effort for only 1 object.According into Roger Dubuis, Mr. Roger Dubuis himself talented a classic pocket watch movement to the firm for them to animate and flip in the Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime. It would be somewhat unfair for the movement in this pocket watch to be identified merely as something that was restored and decorated. Roger Dubuis claims to have added several features to the motion too. They predict the movement the Roger Dubuis grade RD181, and are not particularly open with who made it in the first place or what season the movement was produced. I know that Roger Dubuis would like to maintain attention on itself and its own achievements, however when they cite time and time again that the movement was subject to a comprehensive restoration job it’s almost unfair to people interested parties to fail mentioning anything related to the history of the motion or its roots.
Autavia, UAE special edition © TAG Heuer
In contrast, IWC chose an altogether more refined model for its limited edition for the region, which was also produced in collaboration with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. The manually-wound Portugieser tourbillon with its distinctive green dial will undoubtedly appeal to an altogether different clientele and its limited to just 25 pieces.
Portugieser Tourbillon with a green dial © IWC