There are plenty of watch/car mash-ups out there. Hell, there are probably too many to be honest. There’s nary a watchmaker without some automotive limited edition and few high-end cars without exclusive clocks and the like. They are barely worth paying attention to. In fact, there may be a distinct synergy between the roar of an engine and the tick of an escapement, but only a handful of them actually work.
The secret is to – surprise, surprise – actually put some effort in. A logo on a dial won’t cut it; a dial in racing livery is passé. To stand out the partnership needs to be just that: a partnership. It needs to bring something new to the table, something that shows off the best of both. Something in fact, like Roger Dubuis’ ongoing partnership with Lamborghini.
Roger Dubuis probably wasn’t the only watchmaker courting Lamborghini. Who wouldn’t want to be mentioned in the same breath as the iconic raging bull? Yet through a shared ideal – and a touch of serendipity – the match between the two was obvious.
The two brands didn’t get in touch via some PR or marketing agency, but via a Mr Fu Songyang, the owner of multi-championship winning Lamborghini racing team FFF. He’s also an avid Roger Dubuis collector. You can see where this is going.
After Roger Dubuis’s partnership with Pirelli two years back, it was only a matter of time before they entered motorsport properly, and what better opportunity than to sponsor FFF? It didn’t take long to extend that to the Super Trofeo Lamborghini series, and finally the hypercar superstars themselves.
That partnership launched last year with the phenomenal Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S, one of those incredibly rare watches that is as much a creation of Lamborghini as the watchmaker. Pretty much everything about it was new, from the shape of the movement, imitating the key lines of its namesake hypercar, to the racing-inspired materials used throughout its construction.
Needless to say, it’s one hell of a watch. Even by Roger Dubuis standards it’s out there – but then anything less just wouldn’t do. More importantly, it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, one that marked its two-watch anniversary at last month’s Super Trofeo at Rome’s Vallelunga circuit.
Where better to launch a new watch than among the near-violent roars of stripped-down racing Lamborghinis? The new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante certainly deserves that kind of petrol-fuelled applause.
A glance leaves little doubt that it’s an automotive-inspired timepiece. In the same way as the Excalibur Aventador S, it follows some of the same hexagonal lines as its namesake, though this time from the rear of the car instead of the side. That gives the overall dial a great deal more symmetry than its predecessor, emphasised by the racing grid detail.
It’s still as skeletonised as any of the Excalibur pieces, but if anything, it’s more toned down. That seems counterintuitive for a Lamborghini watch, but you’ve got to remember it’s the Huracán, not the Aventador. It was never going to have as much horological horsepower as that beast. In fact, at around £40,000 it represents the entry level into Roger Dubuis’ wonderfully weird world of watchmaking.
The Performante still has all the nods to Lamborghini a petrolhead could ever want, of course. The crown imitates the racing nuts on a Huracán’s wheels, the barrels and energy tank and the openworked bridges a multi-material spoiler. Even the self-winding rotor on the back, taking up the entire rear of the watch, is the spitting image of a wheel rim.
In terms of complications, the RD630 movement is simple compared to its stablemates, the main technological difference being the 12-degree inclination of the balance spring. It’s a small slant of course, but in the minutiae of watchmaking even that small amount makes a marked difference when it comes to keeping accuracy over time and is just what you expect from a performance machine.
It’s easy to simply discount any car watch partnership as just another marketing exercise, as another thing for each brand to crow about without any real reason to. This is not one of those times. The Aventador S showed that Roger Dubuis could push their own watchmaking limits to match the engineers at Lamborghini, but the Excalibur Huracàn Performante is perhaps more important.
It shows that the synergy between the two doesn’t stop at the extreme end of the spectrum, but that there’s in fact much more to the partnership. The highlights that far from this being a one-off shot in the dark, there’s far more to Lamborghini and Roger Dubuis than we’ve yet to see. Now, here’s hoping for a Urus diving watch.
Price & Specs:
- Model name: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante
- Dial/Case: 45mm diameter, grade 5 titanium case, fluted titanium bezel, titanium
- Movement: Caliber RD630, self-winding mechanical
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 60hrs
Water resistance: 5 bar (50m)
- Price & Availability: TBC
Find out more via Roger Dubuis’ website.