Embracing the wonders of nature in the Brocéliande trilogy
May 30th, 2016
Roger Dubuis treats women with a taste for sophisticated and beautiful watchmaking to a romantic trilogy of exquisite Creative Skeletons evoking the legendary forest of Brocéliande. These creations are beautifully portrayed through a series of highly original shots conveying the creative vision of the Maison and staged by the artist Alexandra Bruel.
The iconic Excalibur collection by Roger Dubuis, with its hallmark fluted bezel and triple lugs, provides the perfect frame in which to present three gorgeous tableaus depicting the rich bounties of nature – symbolically entwined with twin facets of its own nature as the ‘pioneer of contemporary skeleton calibres’ and a Maison with an acknowledged gift for distinctively original jewellery creations.Issued in 28-piece limited editions bearing the Poinçon de Genève, these three models showcase the attention to detail and subtle finishing characteristic of Excalibur, which has been dedicated right from its launch to highlighting expertise, innovation and creativity. A style statement collection where daring design meets high-end mechanisms epitomising watchmaking excellence.
Product Design Director Lionel Favre will-ingly shares the story of how the original inspiration was sparked during the research conducted on Arthurian legends featured in previous Excalibur models. While exploring this theme and Celtic culture in general, designers naturally came across the fabled Brocéliande forest, the enchanted and mysterious scene of countless fairytales.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Brocéliande White gold: Case white gold set with 141 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.77 ct) – Bezel set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.09 ct) – Crown set with 1 rose-cut diamond (approx. 0.42 ct) – Dial skeleton with Ivy ornaments paved with 121 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.42 cts) – White gold flange set with 157 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.91 cts).
The apparently random yet subtly geometrical shapes of its branches and foliage proved influential, and the characteristic nature of the omnipresent ivy clinging to trees and moss-covered rocks was a particular source of aesthetic fascination.
A recurrent theme in nature as well as in literature and mythology, ivy has always carried powerful connotations of emotional attachment, as well as symbolising both faithfulness and eternity. As such, it is an ideal emblem of Roger Dubuis’ loyal commitment to honouring timeless femininity.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Brocéliande Pink gold: Case pink gold – Bezel set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.09 cts) – Crown set with 1 rose-cut diamond (approx. 0.42 ct) – Dial skeleton with Ivy ornaments set with 58 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.15 cts); and white mother-of-pearl – Pink gold flange set with 157 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.91 cts).
A careful study of this fascinating form of plant life revealed a fundamental factor that Lionel Favre
points out: “Unlike flowers, ivy requires a structure on which to grow – whether natural in the case of trees or rocks, or else manmade lattices. In the case of Roger Dubuis, the pioneer of contemporary skeleton calibres, the inherent skeleton-structured functional basis of its movements becomes the perfect supporting structure for jewellery elements in these stunning Brocéliande models.”
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Brocéliande Pink gold Case pink gold – Bezel set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.09 cts) – Lugs set with 30 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.65 cts) – Crown set with 1 rose-cut diamond (approx. 0.42 cts) – Dial skeleton with Ivy ornaments set with 58 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.15 cts) and semi-precious gemstones (Spessartite Garnet,Yellow Beryl, Red Rhodolite Garnet, Rubellite tourmaline) – Pink gold flange set with 157 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.91 cts).
While the result is astonishingly lifelike and natural,it is in fact – as one can readily imagine – anything but simple to literally incorporate such jewellery elements into a movement. And especially so when dealing with genuine volumes and not just tiny decorative features. These creations enshrine the encounter between the worlds of watchmaking and jewellery that generally intersect at the last moment in the creative process, but which in this instance meet and mingle right from the start.
These twin arts share a number of key characteristics, such as fine craftsmanship, the ability to work with incredibly small components, the need for absolute accuracy, the tireless pursuit of excellence, as well as an inherently precious nature enhanced by rarity and exclusivity.
The RD505SQ calibre – comprising 179 components individually hand-finished on all faces – is graced with the most sophisticated and fascinating interpretation of the tourbillon: the ‘flying’ variety. Due to the absence of an upper bridge, the tourbillon thus appears to be suspended from its carriage, appropriately shaped like a Celtic cross.
The superb openworking of the movement follows the Astral Skeleton star-shaped design developed by Roger Dubuis for its skeleton calibres. Lionel Favre empha-sises that “jewellery and skeleton-work specialists rarely enjoy such an outstanding opportunity for dialogue and interaction, marrying a world entirely dedicated to beauty and precious gems, with a highly technical form of expertise involving hundredth of a micron precision.
This unprecedented collaboration involves eye-watering complexity and a degree of finesse that proves a daunting challenge when working with such tiny motifs.”
When the watchmaker assembles the movement, the ivy tendrils lovingly crafted by the jeweller form an integral part of the calibre. The vines are thus interlaced with the bridges forming the interior of the calibre, thereby vividly reflecting the manner in which women can embrace their inner selves and indeed how Roger Dubuis embraces its own multi-faceted nature. Creating a perfect optical illusion, the ivy must give the impression of running across the movement – yet without actually touching it, since it would otherwise inevitably scratch the delicate mechanism.
Born to shine
The resulting multi-layered 3D impact that has become a Roger Dubuis speciality is further enhanced by the judicious use of gemstones to accentuate the design.
The rose-cut diamond on the crown – as well as the brilliant-cut F-G or Top Wesselton diamonds variously adorning the case, bezel, flange, clasp and ivy stems, depending the model – are specifically cut to match watchmaking criteria. For the gem-set ivy ornaments, the stones are held by prongs and delicately placed on the gold-wire ivy stems using the serti descendu (dropped setting) technique. This approach optimises the shimmering reflections glinting off the metal, accompanying and blending with the fiery sparkle of the stones themselves.
To effectively interpret the spirit and essence of these exquisite models, Roger Dubuis successfully tracked down a talented artist capable of conveying the creative vision of the Maison through an innovative and daring artistic set design.
French art director and illustrator Alexandra Bruel – renowned for using plasticine modelling clay to create sculptures and vibrant pop art props and whose work is regularly featured in the international press – has used this distinctive material to recreate the unique flowers adorning Brocéliande.
The result is a set of standout visuals that vividly portray the ever distinctive nature of Roger Dubuis and are every bit as original as the models themselves.
In the version first unveiled in 2015 and set with autumnal-coloured, cut-to-measure semi-precious stones (spessartite garnet, yellow beryl, red rhodolite garnet, rubellite tourm-aline), the fancy colours of the leaves are highlighted by finely engraved veins that add to the stunning realism. This flamboyant model is teamed with an amaranth red hand-stitched alligator leather strap.
In an equally delectable second interpretation, the pristine purity of the leaves hand-crafted and engraved from white mother-of-pearl is delicately offset by the soft, warm tones of the cherry blossom pink hand-stitched alligator leather strap making a perfect match with the pink gold case.
Setting the crowning touch to this spectacular trilogy, a third variation features ivy leaves entirely paved with brilliant-cut diamonds and a likewise full-paved white gold case fitted with a suitably regal amethyst purple strap.
These outstanding examples of unprecedented, symbiotic interaction between designers, movement development engineers and gem-setting engineers calls for exceptional expertise and dexterity. They represent the incredible alliance between refined techniques and sophisticated aesthetics that is the very essence of the inimitable Roger Dubuis touch.