The Excalibur Diabolus in Machina

The Excalibur Diabolus in Machina

When you wish upon a star, incredible things start to happen. In this case, Roger Dubuis deliberately defies its own codes. In the Excalibur Diabolus Machina, the historical Excalibur dials, consisting of Roman numerals and stars, have completely imploded into the movement, giving birth to offbeat, yet fully balanced architecture. This disruptive design creates harmony between opposites by merging rigorous geometry with chaos creating an even more complex but far more exciting watchmaking feat, not a single element is positioned on the same level.

Roger Dubuis has consistently demonstrated its penchant for excess and extravagance. An inclination matched by a fearless determination to challenge the rules through a resolutely expressive and contemporary approach. This serial innovator mindset results from visionary engineers and incredible watchmakers combining radical expertise. It is nourished by a daily obsession for designing and creating the future of Haute Horlogerie. Serving aesthetics through technical skills, reinventing tradition by unleashing creativity to push all boundaries, Roger Dubuis proudly introduces a fresh interpretation of its minute repeater. An experience reserved for a tribe of passionate connoisseurs.

In 2021, Roger Dubuis once again demonstrates its uncompromising approach to watchmaking with the launch of a de-structured reinterpretation of an impertinent and irreverent creative mindset: the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina. This example of Roger Dubuis’ tireless obsession with challenges features a gutsy combination of complications mastered by few watchmakers: a minute repeater, alongside the Geneva Maison’s signature flying tourbillon, as well as a double micro-rotor automatic system. Proudly chiming the tritone, the “Diabolus in Musica” chord outlawed in medieval religious music, the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina features two other functions: a tone playback disc indicator and an “all or nothing” safety device. Available in pink gold or DLC-coated titanium, this feisty and highly contemporary model offers vivid confirmation that the devil is truly in the details. Successfully combining technical prowess with daring aesthetics, the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina is a vivid example of Roger Dubuis being the most exciting way to experience Hyper Horology.

Disruptive design meets diabolical watchmaking expertise

When you wish upon a star, incredible things start to happen. In this case, Roger Dubuis deliberately defies its own codes. In the Excalibur Diabolus Machina, the historical Excalibur dials, consisting of Roman numerals and stars, have completely imploded into the movement, giving birth to offbeat, yet fully balanced architecture. This disruptive design creates harmony between opposites by merging rigorous geometry with chaos creating an even more complex but far more exciting watchmaking feat, not a single element is positioned on the same level.

Time triad

This aesthetic sophistication is matched by impressive technical prowess. Invented as a means of telling the time at night before the advent of electric lighting, the minute repeater is considered one of the most challenging horological complications. It is the only one requiring the watchmaker to make so many manual adjustments throughout the assembly process so as ensure the ideal chime. It is also the only one that calls for genuine musical talent on the part of its maker who tunes it with great finesse and craftsmanship, much like a musical instrument. This intricate auditory complication is an integral part of the legacy of the brand’s founder Mr. Roger Dubuis and it is entirely natural for his heirs to offer a version honouring this heritage while giving it a resolutely contemporary and mischievous twist.

The Excalibur Diabolus in Machina demonstrates its devilish expertise with a pushpiece that activates a chime. The information on each cam is mechanically read off by the Minute Repeater’s main feeler-spindle system, which passes it on to the racks enabling the hammers to strike the gongs. The latter sounds a low pitch for the hours, a high pitch for the minutes, and two tones for the quarter hours, allowing the wearer to check the time at will. Consisting of three tones, or six semitones, the tritone – also known as the triad or the flatted fifth – an unsettling interval that does not conform to listeners’ expectations. It thus provides an audible echo of Roger Dubuis’ disruptive approach to all things horological. This distinctive dissonance was referred to in medieval times as “the devil’s chord” or diabolus in musica and strictly prohibited in religious compositions. It has nonetheless continued to play a crucial role in complex melodic harmony, notably appearing in Camille Saint-Saëns’ symphonic poem Danse Macabre and in the signature tune of the Black Sabbath metal band. Cleverly shaking up the world of minute repeaters, Roger Dubuis has chosen the sound of the tritone as the chime of its Minute Repeater in the Diabolus in Machina. Pressing the minute repeater button between 9 and 10 o’clock activates the dissonant tonality – tuned to C and G flat – resounding through noble materials and providing a fascinating listening experience.

Visual intrigue and enhanced safety

Various key technical advances featured in the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina include the Tone Playback Disc Indicator at 11 o’clock. Activating the Minute Repeater sets off the rotation of this disc – merged with a Roman numeral and bearing the words Hours, Quarters and Minutes. The result is a visually striking depiction of the time intervals being chimed.

An additional functional indicator further simplifies usage by showing whether the watch is in “manual winding” or “time setting” position. As well as enhancing the design through its artful integration at 4 o’clock, it plays a useful safety role in avoiding potential damage by warning the wearer not to adjust the watch while the Minute Repeater is chiming.

Bearing a name that reflects its importance in a minute repeater mechanism, the “all or nothing” mechanism offers additional security by ensuring the minute repeater can be activated only once the pusher has been pressed all the way in. This eliminates the risk of harming the mechanism by inadvertent triggering, as well as facilitating comprehension of the chime by avoiding any partial and potentially confusing indications of time.

Striking a chord

The intricate complexities of this model are naturally heightened by Roger Dubuis’ typically bold decision to combine this fresh approach to the minute repeater with its signature flying tourbillon. Each of these two horological complications involves its own technical challenges and associating them within the same model is the kind of endeavour reserved for the most skilled and experienced master-watchmakers.

To ensure that aficionados enjoy every last bit of the ride, this Hallmark of Geneva-certified series powered by Calibre RD 107 is housed in an imposing 45 mm pink gold or DLC titanium-coated case and fitted with a calf leather strap designed for maximum comfort. Boldly living up to its provocative and irreverent name, the Excalibur Diabolus in Machina strikes an unmistakable chord in the hearts and minds of a tribe passionate about Roger Dubuis’ reinvention of the Hyper Horology game.

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There isn’t a single form of art that hasn’t been influenced or taken inspiration from the vibrancy of mother nature’s aesthetics. The art of fine watchmaking is guilty of this, too. Taking after the mighty oceans and the roaring jungles, some of the watchmaking expressions turn out highly elegant while others, absolutely fierce. Yet all of it, in admiration of the animal kingdom and its limitless glory. Mother nature is a muse to horology, and every once in a while, we see a true spectacle. Highlighting seven of them today, here are a few luxury watches inspired by the beauty of the animal kingdom.

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Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec Black Manta Special Edition

Let’s start off this list on an aquatic note. In early 2020, Carl F. Bucherer teamed up with Manta Trust, a UK-based charity, over a truly special timepiece called the Black Manta edition. More so, all proceeds from the watch will be donated to the cause. On this note of sustainability and oceanic care, the textured dial also houses a silhouette of a graceful manta while the straps are crafted out of recycled PET bottles. Its case back is decorated with a stunning and detailed engraving of a manta.
Bvlgari Serpenti

The glorious Serpenti. Year after year since 1978, we’ve seen it shed its skin. In its earliest form, the Serpenti was designed to embody the silhouette of a snake’s body slithering and wrapping around a lady’s wrist. At first glance itself, you’ll understand its unique design — the bracelet of the serpent loops around the wrist and is enriched in high jewellery and precious metals, while the head of the serpent would be a timepiece. In later editions, the Serpenti’s dial took after the actual shape of a serpent’s head.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Mécaniques Sauvages

VC is perhaps the most radical watchmaker of this generation and they never fail to impress us with the design innovation and the sheer complexity of their craft. One of their latest offerings, however, came with pure animal instincts: The Les Cabinotiers Mécaniques Sauvages. The 14-Day Tourbillon Lion, the Armillary Tourbillon Snake and the Mysterious Animals Tiger are our top picks from this capsule.
Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater

On a slightly chirpy note, meet the Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater, which features an adorable vignette of birds feeding their young every time the watch chimes. One of the most expensive luxury watches of all time, this timepiece boasts a complication called an automaton.
Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaaargh!

Hermès’s brand signature is highly equestrian but we couldn’t help but talk about this one; a watch that takes after a long-lost resident of the Earth and true apex predator of its time. Aptly named ‘Arceau Pocket Aaaaaargh!’, the timepieces beats to the rhythm of Hermès Manufacture H1924 with a refined white enamel dial. The magic, however, is on the outside, as the case is adorned with a tyrannosaurus composed of marquetry and leather mosaic.
Richard Mille RM 26-01 Tourbillon Panda

Richard-Mille is no slouch when it comes to crafting exotic, bespoke dials on their luxury watches. Taking after the international symbol of peace, the RM-26 boasts a panda on its skeletal dial, who appears to be busy snacking on bamboo. The case and crown feature hundreds of brilliant-cut diamonds. The panda, too, is bedazzling with diamonds and black sapphires. The baseplate of this timepiece is made out of black onyx.
Drive de Cartier Panthere Décor

Even though this timepiece made its debut at the 2017 edition of the SIHH, you can tell it embodies Carter’s timeless aesthetic and appeal. The timepiece is such a beautiful example of enamelling and marquetry in the watchmaking industry. Cased in 18K yellow gold, the dial requires a number of techniques to craft, including hand painting.
(All images courtesy of their respective brands)
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