A large, skeletonzied flying tourbillon in a proprietary metal. If I stopped my description there, you’d probably say something like “Yeah, sure, that’s what Replica Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus in Machina does. Those are the types of watches that have characterized the brand over the last few years.” And you’d be right. But I’m not stopping there. The Excalibur Diabolus In Machina takes that brand-defining formula and adds a minute repeater to the mix. I have your attention now, don’t I?
The Diabolus In Machina starts with a 45mm x 16.8mm case made from a patented material called CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM. It’s a metal that starts as a powder and is then sintered into solid form. Its biggest advantages over stainless steel are that it’s more wear resistant and that it will stay shiny even when scratched and scuffed. Roger Dubuis is the only watchmaker that has it. Here they’ve chosen it as the base for a watch that riffs on their usual design language in a few interesting ways. Typically, RD’s tourbillons are all about open space. They’re highly skeletonized, with more air than metal or carbon between the two crystals. This watch, on the other hand, is all about density. You’ve got similar criss-crossed bridges, but they obscure one another and emphasize the movement underneath, instead of opening things up. But the real centerpiece here is the minute repeater, which has been finely tuned (pardon the pun) for this specific watch. First off, there is a transparent disc with the words hours, quarters, and minutes on it that spins as the repeater chimes out those various intervals, giving you a visual reminder of what you’re hearing. It sits just behind the Roman numeral at 11 o’clock, so you have to look closely to spot it. The repeater also plays off the watch’s name, with the gongs tuned to C and G flat, otherwise known as the tritone, or, as Roger Dubuis notes, the “Diabolus in Musica” in medieval times. It presumably gives the repeater a slightly ominous sound, and I’d be really interested to hear it in person.
The watch also has a nice safety feature in the form of a function indicator right next to the crown. This tells you whether the watch is in winding mode or setting mode so that you don’t accidentally change the time while the repeater is activated (which could cause major damage). There’s also a mechanism in the repeater-activating push-button at 10 o’clock that prevents it from being partially triggered. It’s all or nothing here, saving you from another possible headache.
If you’re a regular Replica watch reader, I probably don’t have to tell you that this watch sits way outside my usual wheelhouse. Like, on the opposite side of the planet from it, if we’re being frank with one another. However, I can still appreciate this watch as an intellectual experiment and an exercise in watchmaking and design. Even if my wrists could support something this size, I wouldn’t wear the Diabolus in Machina, but I would definitely be interested in checking this watch out in the metal. It’s too wild for me not to want to see it.
Furthermore, I like that this watch is a piece unique and not some random installment in a collection. It makes its experimental nature feel more genuine and impressive. In the photos here, you can see just how tangled up the dial elements are, but I’m interested to see how the various colors and finishes play off one another in shifting light. I’m willing to bet that there’s a lot more clarity here than you see at first glance. I’d also love to dig deeper into the mechanics at play. Things like the dual micro-rotors for winding, that spinning repeater disc, and the finer engineering points here are clearly fascinating. Even if Roger Dubuis isn’t your bag aesthetically (and it’s certainly not mine), the watchmaking is exceptional and definitely worth paying attention to.
Abrand that never had to go to the neighbors, i.e., fellow Richemont Group brands, for a bit of inspiration or watchmaking prowess is Roger Dubuis. Their latest devilish machine is the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus In Machina, and it packs a minute repeater, a flying tourbillon, and a host of other mechanical and design quirks.