Watchuseek Blog

Friday, February 15, 2013

Courage and generosity: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Round Table

Why didn’t anyone think of this one before? Round table, round watch, 12 knights, the format lends itself perfectly for a haute horologist to explore one of the richest legends in all folklore.

The watch draws inspiration from the exploits of King Arthur’s knights, the high end Geneva Manufacture has created a series of 88 exceptional pieces distinguished by their boldness and steeped in history. 

Twelve knights of the round table armed with their faithful swords, have been cast in gold to form a perfect circle around a stunning dial in grand feu enamel.

Underneath the ‘table’ is housed the RD821 movement. Fittingly, from a manufacture who creates what are regarded among connoisseurs as grail watches, with this new model he pays tribute to those that went in a quest for the Holy Grail.

Roger Dubuis designers took as their guide the reproduction of the Round Table made for Henry VIII and placed in the Grand Hall of his castle at Winchester. 

What makes the legend so popular is that the adventures of the kingdom of Camelot are universal. King Arthur valiantly defends his realm from his enemies. The best, the noblest and the purest of men were at his side in combat, companions whose strength of arm was equalled only by their strength of character.

As the legend goes, the noble knights were an adventurous lot, a latter day 'A Team', righting wrongs, protecting the weak, and humbling the proud.

The pursuit of excellence

The watch is produced in a limited series of 88 pieces, with its 45 mm case in pink gold the watch respects the design codes of the Excalibur collection: over-sized case, fluted bezel, robust crown guard and triple-horn strap attachments.

With its dynamic shape and sharp angles, the watch has a dial to match its strong, symbolic design. Twelve figures representing the legendary Knights of the Round Table with their swords form a circle replacing traditional hour markers.

Each figure is a three-dimensional casting in gold with its details carved by hand. The miniaturization was the work of skilled passionate craftsmen, who produced 12 individually different knights, only 7 mm tall. The precision is best admired through a loupe. In the centre of the scene is a dial in precious grand feu enamel. 

On the back of the watch, the solemn oath, together with a lacquered coat of arms, is engraved in a circle as a tribute to the bravery of the Knights of the Round Table.

Among its list of technical achievements is the latest generation of the automatic-winding mechanical movement, the RD821 that displays the hours and minutes. And the movement and the complete watch are stamped with the prestigious Geneva Seal.

No prices yet but you can guess we are talking a ransom of Arthurian proportions.

Visit the Roger Dubuis website

Jean-Christophe Babin leaves TAG Heuer to head up Bulgari

 Jean-Christophe Babin

It’s official. Jean Christophe Babin, instrumental in turning around the fortunes of TAG Heuer and turning it into one of the most fanatically followed brands in watchdom over the past 12 years, is leaving the Neuch√Ętel-based brand to take over at Bulgari, with a brief to inject the same level of passion, skill and enterprise into the LVMH owned brand.

The 51 year-old Babin will take over the helm of the luxury watch and jewellery brand following the departure of Michael Burke for Louis Vuitton, who in turn replaces the CEO there who resigned for health reasons. It is an unexpected reshuffle as it was only a few months after taking the helm of the prestigious Italian house.

The new appointment reflects the immense faith placed in both Michael Burke and Jean Christophe Babin. Babin inherited leadership of a once legendary brand that had seen better days. He managed to entice the great grandson of the founder back into the fold and together they succeeded in building the brand back to health and credibility.

In 2013, TAG Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Carrera, the racing-inspired Chronograph that forms a key part of the TAG Heuer range today.

Upon joining TAG Heuer directly from Henkel (after stints at Procter & Gamble and the Boston Consulting Group), Jean-Christophe Babin frankly admitted that he knew nothing about watchmaking. He learned quickly and along the way introduced a new approach, some superb new watches thanks to extensive R&D and a powerful entrepreneurial spirit. 

He leaves TAG Heuer in great shape and it will be fascinating to see who is appointed to take his place.

Visit the LVMH website

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