For a long time, the Roger Dubuis name was thought to be over and irrelevant to collectors. With Dubuis watches of today having garish designs and proportions that are all wrong, it is no wonder why. The truth is, Roger Dubuis, the man, left the company in 2005 and while he was undoubtedly a brilliant watchmaker, he lacked business expertise.
It is this, and not his watchmaking skills, that caused the brand to be what it is today- devoid of emotion and controlled by business executives with no passion. You see, underneath this sheath of failure lies some of the most beautiful watches ever made. Early Roger Dubuis watches are nothing like what they are today- elegant in their design and finished to the highest standards, these watches rivaled and even bettered contemporaries such as Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. In fact, collectors have finally started to realize this and as a result, prices have been skyrocketing.
An independent brand with aspiration, I have no doubt that today’s indies have Dubuis and other pioneers of his time to thank for laying out the groundwork. Roger Dubuis formed his eponymous brand in 1995 after two decades at Patek Philippe and at the time, it not only took huge courage to start an independent brand but Dubuis had to also operate in an area that wasn’t as mainstream as it is today.
There were two main lines that Dubuis produced- the Hommage series, which were more traditional round cased watches, and the Sympathie series, which featured a more experimental and stylized case shape.
This particular example is an Hommage 37 Perpetual Calendar, housed in a 37mm white gold case as the name suggests. Beautifully balanced and vintage in its styling and proportions, the concave bezel, screw-down case back and beautiful lugs make this a fantastically wearable piece on the wrist.
Complementing the beautiful case, this watch features a stepped matte black dial with a very legible layout of information. Beginning at 12 o’clock, there are two apertures that display the day and the month with two slightly lopsided sundials beneath that display the moon phase on the left and the date on the right. While the date sub-dial is slightly higher, there is a day/night indicator above it to balance out the asymmetry. Topping off the look, there are applied Breguet numerals and dagger hour markers sitting inside the minute dot markers which are also applied.
Powered by the Geneva-sealed, perpetual calendar, self-winding RD 5739, it features a beautifully finished movement with Dubuis’ signature ‘RD’ rotor and is proudly displayed via its screw-down sapphire case back.
Each Roger Dubuis model from his time was made in limited editions of 28, making this example extremely special and rare.