H40 Roger Dubuis Hommage Perpetual Calendar
Arguably, this is how you go about being inspired by the classics properly. It’s not uncommon for new enthusiasts to learn of Roger Dubuis, see the Lamborghini-inspired Excalibur which looks like Megatron after contracting a virus, and write off the brand entirely. But modern RD is a far cry from what existed before Richemont acquisition in 2008. Neo-DB was an exercise in seeing the classics through the eye of a characterful master, who couldn’t help but inject a bit of personality. There’s nothing else quite like it, which has seen a small but very dedicated set of collectors gather around this era.
Increasingly, these Hommage series are being seen as RD’s greatest works. This perpetual calendar bears a classic aesthetic many seek with modern touches like a wide polished bezel, applied Breguet numerals, and a 25/300 scale calibrated to half beats of the balance, the smallest accurate measurement of an 18k vph beat. The inline Day-Month apertures are straight Padellone, but the date and moonphase are separated in dual registers instead of co-linear. The moonphase is flanked by the text ‘bulletin d’observatoire‘ in a subtle humble-brag, each movement was tested for accuracy at the Besançon Observatory, whose standards were significantly more exacting than COSC. This is serious. And the leap year indication? Why not bright RYGB? RD pursued tasteful evolution, not revolution, but with bright touches of imagination.
Inside is the auto calibre 5739, a Longines L990 ébauche (RD also worked for Longines on his path toward independence). In the 40mm white gold here, just 28 examples were made, as every iteration of RD’s early work. The movements were Observatory tested and earned Geneva Seals. At time of production, it was really only Patek Philippe who carried the Seal of Geneva and then were moving away from it. But RD’s sense of what it meant to be an ‘hommage’ went so deep as to earn the same award for finishing standard. After completion, regulation was done by Roger himself for each movement. Unlike many modern eponymous independents, you can be absolutely certain the master’s hands have touched this watch. For some, that means a lot. If only this perpetual calendar had served as core to the brand’s identity today, imagine what we might have had instead.
This example sports a light even patina with very little overall case wear visible at all, mostly just very light hairlines on the wide polished bezel. It comes on a green alligator that works surprisingly well, from a well-regarded Swiss retailer.