If you love a comeback story (and who doesn’t) Roger Dubuis is a watchmaking house that’s probably already on your radar. Founded in 1995, the company has never been excessively weighed down by its own history, which left it free to innovate, and innovate it did –by the mid-2000s, Roger Dubuis had a huge manufactory in Geneva, dozens of in-house movements to its name, and a plethora of simple and complicated watches in a bewildering variety of designs. There were also some connoisseurs, however, who were muttering the word “hubris” and with an eye towards clarifying the company’s identity (with perhaps one eye also on the adage that it is the slow and steady who win the race) Roger Dubuis has spent the last few years sharpening the focus of its collection and returning to some of the essentials that made cognoscenti fall in love with it in the first place. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s also performed exhaustive analyses of movement performance, significantly re-engineering many of its watches to ensure their long-term reliability.)
With an eye towards giving lovers of timeless tradition a classically beautiful watch that’s still distinctively Roger Dubuis in style, the company released a chronograph this year that we loved at first sight and which will charm its owners for many years to come. The Chronograph “La Monegasque” (“Monegasque” is to Monaco as “New Yorker” is to New York) is an homage to the classic, two-register dress chronographs of the 1930s and ’40s, updated with a case design that’s a nod to the “Sympathie” watches Roger Dubuis introduced in some of its first watches (and which were beloved by collectors.)
Inside is a Roger Dubuis in-house automatic chronograph movement, caliber RD 680 –it’s an automatic chronograph with a micro-rotor winding system that allows an unobstructed view of the movement (most other automatic chronographs use a rotor that’s the same radius as the entire movement, which means at any given time half the movement is hidden.)
That you get the full view is important because the movement finish is gorgeous (in keeping with its candidacy for the Geneva Seal, granted by the Geneva School of Watchmaking to movements of exceptional quality.) In its distinctive, slightly Art Nouveau case, the Chronograph La Monegasque is a great combination of homage to the past, and daring to be dashingly different.
The Roger Dubuis Chronograph La Monegasque is available in stainless steel ($24,000) or rose gold ($38,300.)
Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online www.revo-online.com the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.