A very rare, unusual and early rose gold limited-edition wristwatch of the Swiss watch brand Roger Dubuis, founded in 1995 by Roger Dubuis, a Genevan watchmaker, and Carlos Dias, an entrepreneur and designer. Estimated production period: late-1990s. 18k rose gold case of art-deco ‘round-square’ shape, dimensions 37 x 37mm, 10mm thick, light crème coloured dial with applied indexes and Roman numerals, dauphine hands, laser-engraved brand logo on sapphire glass of a ‘bald’ caseback. Self-winding caliber RD57, double barrel, power reserve of up to 44 hours, marked by the Poinçon de Genève quality mark, and with ‘Bulletin d’Observatoire’ Besancon Observatory chronometer certificate. Functions – indication of time in hours, minutes, and seconds. Brown leather strap, Roger Dubuis 18k rose gold pin buckle. Limited edition of 28 pieces.
The landscape of contemporary watchmaking has been markedly shaped by the Roger Dubuis brand, although by the standards of the traditional Swiss watch industry it was established only recently – just twenty-seven years ago. However, the brand has been able to anticipate the mainstream vintage style watch trend that is dominating the industry right now and has done a brilliant job of producing watches of the highest quality, marked by the Poinçon de Genève, and with the Besancon Observatory chronometer certificate of accuracy. The brand collection has gone through several stages in its development, and in our opinion, the earliest period, from 1995 to the early 2000s, in which the present example was produced, is of the greatest interest in terms of collecting.
The earliest examples were completed with the so-called ‘bald’ caseback, when there were no symbols on the gold rim
The early period Roger Dubuis watches were like the vintage Patek Philippe, which you would like to acquire, but which simply did not exist – ever. Roger Dubuis, a watchmaker, knew the subject well – he had worked at Patek Philippe in the complications department. Immediately after its launch, Roger Dubuis brand offered watches in two basic styles, Hommage in a round case of a traditional classic design, and Sympathie, with an unusual ‘round-square’ case, which made you think of the early wristwatches of the Art Deco era, when watchmakers, having got rid of the shackles of traditional ideas about the design of pocket watches, experimented a lot with cases of various shapes, many of which were quite exotic. The refined and well-thought-out combination of polished and brushed finishes on the complex Sympathie case gives the watch a sense of the finest jewellery craftsmanship. The shape of the case is reproduced in the form of a stepped bezel and dial, the markings of which also repeat the intricate curves of the case, while the watch-crystal has the same shape – a very expensive technique; however, it testifies to the brand’s uncompromising attitude to quality. Unfortunately, in later years, Roger Dubuis abandoned the original Sympathie design in favour of one with a round watch-crystal. Feel the difference.
Roger Dubuis watches of the early period are characterized by a spectacular but neat design. The earliest examples were completed with the so-called ‘bald’ caseback, when there were no symbols on the gold rim – this is a manifestation of the desire of watchmaker Roger Dubuis for Protestant restraint in the design of watches. All early period watches were produced either as one-of-a-kind pieces or as a limited edition of 28 pieces, like the present example. In the production of the earlier pieces, Mr. Dubuis was directly involved himself, with the movements regulated by him, in order to obtain both the Poinçon de Genève and chronometer certification from the Besançon Observatory.
We believe that the value of early Roger Dubuis watches has very good growth potential.
The self-winding caliber RD57 is based on the ultra-thin Nouvelle Lémania 8811/8816 movement-blank, in an unusually high-end version, with a swan neck regulator, fine parts finishing, and the Roger Dubuis gold skeleton emblem embedded in the rotor. The thin caliber has made it possible to create a very elegant watch with a 10mm thick case – quite in the tradition of Genevan watchmaking.
Reasons to bid
The first-generation Roger Dubuis Sympathie Ref. S37.57.5 would appear to be an extremely attractive purchase for the collector who seeks to obtain an exquisite, stylish and elegant mechanical watch of a piquant Art Déco design from a world-renowned Genevan watch brand. The undoubted advantage of the present lot is the outstanding technical characteristics of the caliber RD57, one of the thinnest and finest self-winding movements, marked by the Poinçon de Genève, and finely regulated to the demands of chronometer certification. The present watch will never lose its relevance, especially since the production of this reference has been discontinued, and the number of pieces produced was very small. This is a rare opportunity to own a watch from the most valuable early period in the development of the Roger Dubuis collection, which embodies the best markers of the brand’s watchmaking craftsmanship, markers which have given it a high reputation in the extremely demanding luxury and collector’s watches market. We believe that the value of early Roger Dubuis watches has very good growth potential.