Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Challenges With Roger Dubuis... & The Beauty of the Hommage Chronograph

Some history first
  • 1980 - Roger Dubuis sets up his own atelier after 14 years in the high complications department in Patek Philippe
  • 1995 - Société Genevoise des Montres (SOGEM) and Roger Dubuis founded by Roger Dubuis and Carlos Dias(former watch designer at Franck Muller)
  • 1999 - SOGEM renamed Manufacture Roger Dubuis off the back of having in-house manufacture watches and their movements begin to qualify for the Poinçon de Geneve ~ Geneva Seal
  • 1995-2008ish - Watches of questionable quality and some ranges with garish over the top designs. Bad quality control and after sales support plague the company.
  • 2003 - Mr Dubuis lessens his involvement with the company
  • 2008 - Mr Dubuis is one of the watchmakers involved in the Maîtres du Temps Chapter 1 watch (for some info click LINK
  • 2007 - Richemont acquire RD's movement making factory. it wants a watch factory that can churn out Geneva Seal movements for its other key brands. Cue Cartier having one Geneva seal movement in 2008 and several Geneva Seal movements in 2009 with a quarter of the RD Meyrin factory output dedicated to Cartier in the beginning years.
  • 11 Aug 2008 - Richemont acquires RD. First CEO is Matthias Schuler, former IWC COO.
  • 2010 - IWC's George Kern is made CEO in Oct. (Looks like they threw some firepower at it for awhile)
  • 2011 - Worked together with Geneval Seal folks to upgrade the Geneva Seal to cater for additional criteria including accuracy of the cased watch.
  • 2011 - Engaged independent Timelab to certify quality(and Geneva Seal and COSC) so timepieces post 2011 should boast much better quality
  • 2012 - Jean-Marc Pontroué(formerly from Mont Blanc) made CEO in Feb 2012
  • 2013 - SIHH sees some focus on Excalibur line, eagles and Gerard Butler...
Some views
  • the brand name is tarnished by past quality issues and bad after sales service and support (for watches with average price of 50k) pre-Richemont acquisition
  • the Geneva seal prior to 2011 was just a certification for movement finishing and the checks and policing on whether the standards of the Seal were met were not strong so a lot of it was based on 'trust'
Some of their more interesting watches:
  • Sympathies with the bi-retrograde quantieme perpetual complication which was a module developed by Mr Dubuis WITH the crystal shaped like the watch case please ;)
  • Some of the earlier Hommage pieces(which was a tip of the hat to the great brands/watchmakers of the past), including the chrono(which also came in a monopoussoir configuration) which is the photo subject of the post today...
lovely dial with nice guilloche and beautiful applied indices in a good sized(for a dress watch) 40mm red gold case...

the dial is a thing of beauty for sure with it's different guilloche patterns for the main and sub-dials
with the beautiful Lemania CH27 movement[now only used in VCs and Breguets for new watches] finished to Geneva Seal standards... similar Genevois' style cap on the column wheel as PP5070 
there is a light etched RD emblem on the crystal
great looking logo on the deployant buckle...
 nice crown and pusher design 

final views of the wonderful dial... this watch to me is a buy for below S$20k (the lesser the better of course because of weak resale value)... if you can find em popping up as they're rather rare on the aftermarket. if i'm not mistaken this was still done at a time of 28 watches per metal/dial configuration so will be pretty rare in a way


hope you liked the pix and the history lesson :) have a good Sunday and week ahead this start of December. cheers, raph


Stefano said...

Nice watch and movement, but the problem with this brand is the bad reputation of the past has sort of killed them. The resale market sort of shows this. I've seen some RD watches selling at like 70% off from retail price. No value retention. Hope they regain some glory, but it'll be very difficult IMO.

By the way, enjoyed the brand history.

raphael too said...

thanks for the comment.
I think it's a challenge to rebuild from all the negatives from the past... perhaps easier to start from a clean slate or use the movement factory for the other key brands in Richemont to have Geneva Seal movements.
the 2013 focus on excalibur and monegasque lines aren't particularly inspiring too. we'll see what comes.

J. Salloom said...

I liked some of their designs. So I checked to see where there might be a dealer in Los Angeles. It is 2014 and there are "NO" dealers or boutiques in any reputable area you'd find people wearing 50k watches. I don't think this speaks well of their quality nor reap sale value. There are 10 mil people in this County and for those who don't know, it is just slightly smaller than New York. They are probably selling these watches to Eastern European and Asian buyers, newly rich and ostentatious. The designs are exciting but it's almost not cool anymore to buy Hermes or watches like Roger Dubuis, just because so many lame people buy them.

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