The third watch to arise from Roger Dubuis’ new partnership with Lamborghini’s motorsport division blends performance and luxury.
by James Buttery
Partnerships are a tricky thing to get right in the watch industry; some fit hand-in -glove while others make no sense at all. But even though the parallels between watches and cars – internal mechanics, low tolerance engineering – inject a certain authenticity from the get-go, not every partnership is guaranteed to work.
Ferrari has a long history of partnerships, from Girard-Perregaux to Panerai, but the watches never really sang. Cabestan came closest with its £320,000 Scuderia Ferrari One, which hit the red and yellow vibe of F430-era Ferrari on the nose in 2010.
Just two years later Ferrari hooked up with Hublot at a time when both brands were growing in ambition and scope. It was immediately apparent that the end product would be more than Hublot watches with Ferrari’s Prancing Horse crest on the dial.
Fellow Italian supercar marque Lamborghini concluded its eight-year partnership with Blancpain at the end of 2016 and, less than a month later, its motorsport division, Lamborghini Squadra Corse, revealed it had signed a new deal with Roger Dubuis, which had itself only recently announced a slightly less obvious partnership with tyre maker Pirelli.
In theory, at the very least, the partnership is a natural fit. Both brands are at the bolder, more disruptive ends of their respective spectrums and both make a point of using advanced materials, carbon fibre composites in particular, to enhance performance. Both have a natural aversion to curves and organic shapes (at Lamborghini in particular, you get the impression that if they could make hexagonal wheels, they would), and have no fear about catering to their client’s wildest demands.
The first watches born out of the partnership appeared in September, additions to the Excalibur collection and taking inspiration from the engine of Lamborghini’s Aventador S. Two designs, limited to 88 (Giallo Orion yellow) and 8 pieces (Arancio Argos orange), were centred around the RD103SQ, a new skeleton movement with twin sprung balances mounted at 90 degrees to each other and a power reserve based on the Aventador engine’s rocker cover.
Both balances beat at 28,800vph (4Hz) and the handwound movement will run for 40 hours on a full wind. The twin balances are linked by a differential and work on the same principle as a tourbillon, as being mounted at different angles should lessen the overall effect of gravity on the balances. The movement also features deadbeat seconds.
While the Giallo Orion model is made from a standard multi-layered carbon fibre, the Arancio Argos watch became the first watch in the world to be made from C-SMC or carbon sheet moulding compound, a material Lamborghini uses in the production of its cars.
New for 2018 – the watch will be officially launched at SIHH in Geneva in January – is a new version limited to 28 pieces with a fluted 18ct pink gold bezel, crown, hands and bridge cover. The pink gold Excalibur Aventador S is secured on a quick release rubber and Alcantara strap fastened with a black DLC titanium folding buckle.