Powerful players in the watch world
I clearly recall the first time I saw a Lamborghini close up. It was an orange Diablo parked on Guildford High Street in the early 1990s. I knew what it was from magazines, but I can’t exactly say that I recognised it, because the beast looked very different in real life, parked alongside the assorted Volvos and the VWs of the Home Counties. Judging from the gawps and double-takes it had the same effect on everyone, not just car-fancying teenagers. The crazy proportions of the thing, that vast engine bay, it just didn’t fit with the mind’s picture of how a vehicle should look.
But Lamborghini has never felt constrained by convention, and you could say exactly the same thing about the watch company Roger Dubuis. At a little over 20 years old, the relative newcomer has already gained the attention of the watch industry’s old guard. It was formed as a partnership between the Portuguese designer Carlos Dias and Mr Roger Dubuis, a Swiss master watchmaker.
A lot of audaciously designed watches are just about show, but from the start Roger Dubuis produced highly technical movements, so the designs were more than backed up by their mechanisms. Both Dias and Dubuis have now gone, the designer selling his share to Richemont and the watchmaker passing away last year, but the ethos remains the same – watches that push the boundaries in both how they work and how they look. This doesn’t come cheap, with the watches selling for anything from sports car money to supercar money.
Last year Roger Dubuis announced a partnership with Lamborghini and is producing a range of additions to its Excalibur collection with skeletonised dials that take inspiration from the engine of the Aventador S. New for 2018 is a version with details in pink gold, produced in a limited run of 28 pieces. Rarity is guaranteed, and so is the ability to attract gasps from people who have never seen a watch quite like it.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S has a hand-wound movement in a multi-layer carbon and titanium case overlaid with rubber, and a pink gold bezel.
With a continuous production for 260 years, Vacheron Constantin yields to no-one when it comes to experience. And whilst prices are up with other prestige brands, there is nothing flash about a Vacheron. This year the Overseas line gets a model with a second time zone indicated by an additional, arrow-headed hand. It has an AM/PM indicator and a date subdial, all powered by an in-house automatic movement with 60-hour power reserve.
From £23,100. www.vacheron-constantin.com
When the Swiss artist, architect and graphic designer Max Bill died in 1994 aged 85 he left an eclectic legacy of buildings, bridges, paintings and sculptures. Among his most enduring designs are the clocks and watches created in the 1960s with German company Junghans. His spare, simple dials are classics and modern versions are a core of the Junghans range. This 2018 limited edition has a quartz movement, green-stitched strap, and caseback displaying a 1970s design by Max Bill.