Roger Dubuis presented this monster, which boasts four balance wheels, at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in 2013. In this author’s opinion, no brand has released anything more spectacular since. Against the Quatuor, even Roger Dubuis’ charismatic skeletons with a pair of tourbillons on board look comparatively modest.
Of course, the task of the Quatuor’s four balance wheels is to shock the viewer by the complexity of mechanical space, constructed by Roger Dubuis engineers. But there’s more to come. Its functional purpose is to improve timing accuracy unaffected by the gravity of the Earth. The movement’s balances are paired, positioned at 90-degree angles to one another, and linked by a series of differentials. Located in different positions relative to the center of the Earth, some wheels give a positive rate variation, while others give a negative variation, but the differential balances their action.
Although the Quatuor features seemingly simple functions – with two hands and a power-reserve display – it isn’t as simple as it may seem. Driven by the Caliber RD101, it features a counter with two shaped scales, rotating with the winding barrel, making 4½ revolutions per day. The hand moves simultaneously with them but does it with changeable speed; as the winding springs expend the energy, its velocity changes, allowing it to show the status of the 40-hour power reserve as accurately as possible.
According to the manufacture, four dozen Roger Dubuis technicians racked their brains to create this hand-wound movement, which is comprised of 590 parts, and an impressive 113 jewels. The caliber is finished by hand, rhodium-coated, bears the Seal of Geneva, and features perlage-grained decor. Four balance wheels swing out of sync, and their running creates a unique sound reminiscent of crickets chirping, one of the most visceral impressions the wearer gets from the Quatuor.
The Caliber RD101 is a great mechanism, where each element not only bears a functional load, they also cumulatively constitute a perfect composition, built in accordance with the principles of the golden ratio. Its beauty is highlighted when the Quatuor is held up to the light.
The case of the model we saw in Moscow is pink gold, but there is another version with a silicon case. Both of these precious cases are 48mm in diameter. The gold version is priced at 380,000 Swiss francs, while the silicon version is priced at about 1 million Swiss Francs. Rumor has it a Russian buyer has already acquired the silicon version of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor, and it can frequently be spotted on his wrist!
For more information about the Excalibur Quatuor, please visit the Roger Dubuis website. Photo credit: Chronoscope.ru for Haute Time Russia.