Pre-SIHH 2017: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Cobalt MicroMelt

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Roger Dubuis pushes the envelope on material experimentation.

Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt ® Case

If you can, pry your eyes away for a moment from the mind-twisting mass of mechanisms whirling on the dial of the exceptional new Excalibur Cobalt MicroMelt. As impressive as the openworked movement looks – it’s the hand-wound Calibre RD101, by the way, but more on that later – the star of this timepiece is the 48mm case, made of a cobalt-chrome alloy called Cobalt MicroMelt that is proprietary to Roger Dubuis.

The alloy emanates a metallic sheen and is said to be very corrosion-resistant, thanks to a protective film that forms over the material after it is forged. And while we are on the topic of forging the alloy, here is where it gets crazy. The MicroMelt suffix refers to the process of making the alloy, which purportedly represents just 0.1 per cent of worldwide metallurgy.

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It involves melting the alloy, atomising the molten metal using high-pressured gas to transform it into fine powder, blending the powder, and finally moulding the material into its final form via hot isostatic pressing. (Don’t worry, we had to Google it too. Hot isostatic pressing is a manufacturing technique using high-temperature pressurised gas to make a material less porous and denser.)

The result is quite simply one of the hardiest, most challenging to achieve alloys to be used in high-end watchmaking today – just that kind of bragging right to lure Roger Dubuis fans.

The Calibre RD101 (below), introduced in 2013, is quite something too.

Roger Dubuis Calibre RD101

In fact, there is nothing like this movement. This machine comprises four sprung balances. Given that a conventional watch movement houses only one balance (the component of a watch that helps regulate its timekeeping, much like a clock’s pendulum), Roger Dubuis’ version not only presents huge challenges in its construction, but also demands a leap in its creators’ conceptual thinking.

Placed at four corners of the movement, the sprung balances help nullify timing errors regardless of the watch’s position, and oscillate at a much higher frequency of 16Hz for optimum precision. (Normal balances oscillate at 4Hz.) Think of it as a super-charged tourbillon, minus the need for a rotating carriage, which in this case has been substituted by the quartet of balances.

So there you go, Roger Dubuis’ first salvo for 2017. By the looks of it, technical watch buffs are in for quite a treat next year.

Case

48mm Cobalt Chrome

Dial

Blue PVD coated dial with red and white printed minute track, Blue PVD coated flange, Rhodium plated indexes, hands in white gold with red tips, power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock

Movement

Hand-wound Calibre RD101

Strap

Blue alligator with titanium clasp

Functions

Hour, minute, power reserve

Water resistance

50m

Limited edition

8 pieces

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Published in Roger Dubuis Articles
Tagged under roger dubuis sihh 2017
Alvin Wong

Editor-in-Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.  

www.crownwatchblog.com


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