Watches don’t have to be dripping in diamonds or date back to the 17th century to be worth millions of dollars.
Though it hasn’t even been around for 20 years, the Roger Dubuis watch brand has become well-known for its craftsmanship as well as prices that soar into the seven-digit range.
The latest star watch from Roger Dubuis is the 2013 Excalibur Quatuor — the silicon watch has four sprung balances, requires 2,400 hours to build, and is the result of 7 years of research.
The cost? $US1.1 million, making it one of the most expensive watches in the world.
One of the reasons the Excalibur Quatuor is so expensive is that it moves away from a traditional watch “complication” known as the tourbillon that has been lauded by watch manufacturers for its aesthetic beauty. The tourbillon mechanism improves the time-telling accuracy of a watch and is typically found on the face of expensive brands who want to show off the craftsmanship of the piece.
Instead, Roger Dubuis and movement development designer Gregory Bruttin created four sprung balances for the Excalibur Quatuor. A balance spring or balance wheel is not new in watch manufacturing, but what Dubuis and Bruttin did differently was to have not one, but four balances that work in tandem for unprecedented accuracy.
The balances are each set at 45 degree angles and work in pairs to continuously factor in gravity. The watch’s balances are so precise, in fact, that they can even account for the wearer’s movement.
The sound of the watch is also unique. Each balance pulses four times per second, and no two balances oscillate simultaneously. That means instead of the classic ticking of the watch, it sounds more akin to the whirring of a machine.
The watch itself is made of 590 distinct parts and has a 40-hour power reserve function that is so high-tech, the company has applied for a patent.
Silicon was used for the entire watch case because of it’s low weight and durability. It is four times harder than steel, yet uniquely weighs much less. Despite the rather large watch face of the Excalibur Quatuor (48 milimeter), it would still weigh less that your standard gold watch.
And like anything worth having, the silicon version of the Excalibur Quatuor is extremely limited edition. Only three silicon Excalibur Quatuor watches exist in the world, complete with a hand-stitched alligator strap and silicon buckle.
That $US1.1 million price tag now makes a whole lot more sense.