H40 Roger Dubuis Hommage Perpetual Calendar
There is no greater shame than seeing a once pioneering, irreverant watchmaker become diluted in selinity, as different ownership structures muddle that once-crystalline purpose. There’s a terrible feeling that acquisition will see an independent go from unbridled passion to release after release of tired and thoughtless nouveau-riche cash grabs. That doesn’t have to be the case, but Richemont does often seemed keen to prove otherwise. Why do collectors seek early Journe souscription, DB12 Chronos, THA Cartier Monopoussoirs, or Roth for Breguet? The closer one gets to inception, often, the stronger the substance. If you want to get the good stuff, it will be better in Colombia than Singapore. Just ask Wei Koh (I joke, he’s incredible, I look up to the guy on many levels). It’s definitely the case with Roger Dubuis, where this Perpetual Calendar demonstrates RD’s exceptional ability to balance classic design elements with modern methods and juicy subtle detail, an art lost there today.
The Hommage series from RD are increasingly seen as the watchmaker’s greatest works. The cases often bear classic elements, with vintage touches like stepped concave bezels, polished lugs, and angled screwbacks. 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. 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 complete, regulation was done by Roger himself for each movement.
The aesthetic cues pay hommage to Patek, yes. But their executions are entirely in Roger’s style. 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? And then there are the four (huh? No, not two) Breguet numerals, slightly oversized as if to celebrate their flare. RD pursued tasteful evolution, not revolution. 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. There’s nothing else quite like it, which has seen a small but very dedicated set of collectors gather around this era. If only this perpetual calendar had served as core to the brand’s identity today, image what we might have had instead.
This example presents a full case with deep engravings on lug backs. The white lacquered dial shows no damage, it’s non-luminous so non of that to worry about. It comes as a naked watch from a well-regarded Shanghai retailer.
Find this H40 Perpetual Calendar here from Woohoo Time for 24500 USD.