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Roger dubuis excalibur tourbillon by BBR - Full review

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    Roger dubuis excalibur tourbillon by BBR - Full review

    Roger dubuis - RDDBEX0393 aka the excalibur flying tourbillon.



    Inspired by (read made to feel incredibly lazy by) Glaude and semperfi55 excellent reviews ive decided to go a bit deeper on one of my favourite watches. This is the watch that got me into reps (well the price and lack of 6 digits of disposable cash in my bank account did). Back then there were pretty much only dhgate quality reps of the excalibur style of watch. There was a seagull tourbillon version of the diver, but that is quintessentially very roger dubuis, a diver with a tourbillon... very cool but not the most practical of time pieces!




    About the brand



    The brand was only launched in 1995 by, and i’ll be shocked if you didn’t guess this, Roger Dubuis! Roger Dubuis was born in Corbeyrier, in the Swiss canton of Vaud, in 1938. He began his watchmaking career at Longines in the 1950s then moved to the high complications workshops at Patek Philippe, where he stayed for 14 years. In the 1980s, he set up his own watch and clock repair shop in Geneva.




    In the late 1980s Mr. Dubuis was working with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the well-known movement designer, on the Bi-Retrograde Perpetual Calendar Watch commissioned by Harry Winston. “Roger and I shared a passion for beautiful horology,” Mr. Wiederrecht said. “He was ‘schooled’ at Patek Philippe at a time when so much of the work was still done by hand. He made some of the stunning Pateks that we see in auctions today.”




    It was during that period that Mr. Dubuis met Carlos Dias, a businessman and watch designer. By 1995, he had convinced Mr. Dubuis to found the Société Genevoise des Montres, later renamed Manufacture Roger Dubuis.



    Roger left the brand in 2005 and returned in late 2011. Sadly, Roger is no longer with us. He passed away in 2017.




    According to George Kern, president of the company “Roger Dubuis is the only manufacture in the world that is completely in-house from top to bottom, and marked with the Geneva seal. Because of this, the standard Dubuis movement costs around $5000, while many competitors' movements, he says, cost a fraction of this.”




    Roger dubuis is now 100% owned by the richemont group.




    My experience with Roger dubuis




    Here is the first excalibur (and rep i ever bought) i got it from gumtree. A very nice watch in its own right but most definitely not a real tourbillon. I kind of regret selling it because its a really nice watch, even the strap was decent!











    Second i managed to get one with the skeletonisation i so desperately craved, again a nice watch for the money, but a big jump away from what i was hoping for.











    Finally just before last Christmas, not only one but two different factories brought out real working skeletonised roger dubuis excalibur models, the BBR featured here and the JB(F). There are slight differences between the two, the BBR is based on the 42mm version of the model and comes in at a svelte 10mm, whereas the JB is based on the older (<2013) 45mm model and is slightly thicker at 13mm.




    BBR





    2013> Gen (42mm case)






    JBF





    2012 Gen (45mm case)






    To me the most obvious difference between the two models, besides size, is the cutout in the hands. The older larger model has one, where as the newer smaller one doesn’t.




    Unsurprisingly at less the 1% of the rrp of a gen, they both have their flaws. Most obviously on the BBR, two extra golden gears in the train in the middle around 9 oclock. On the JB, the layout of the dial is just a bit squiffy, hard to put into words but check out the pictures, all of the skeletonised parts are just fatter and oriented strangely.




    I guess it comes down to a preference of size and what your willing to live with as to which rep you choose. Credit where credit is due JB have made many new models after this and appear to be doing well. They have done a double tourbillon version for just over 3k and are about to release several versions of the spyder tourbillon in 45mm, seen below.



    Also soon to be released by bbr is a double tourbillon excalibur:



    And a micro rotor tourbillon:






    Enough talking, time for the actual watch review!




    The watch




    Id like to start by saying im not in any way a professional photographer. For this reason I don’t have a decent dslr, i dont have a decent light box (i got this for £6 on ebay especially for this review) and i dont have a huge amount of experience taking pictures of products. But ive tried my best! Heres a look at the setup used.



    £6 ebay light box

    Big ass light thing my mrs had

    Olloclip macro lens kit

    £1 plastic watch stand

    Iphone 8 with headphones for remote photo taking button




    The sharp eyed among you may notice some of the pics of the gen are of a rose gold one. Not a lot a i can do about that its the same watch with a different case colour. Im just surprised i could find really good high res pics of the watch! You should be able to tell which is the gen but if you need help they say watches by sjx on them.




    Case








    From the front i think the case is very good. It has the same amount of very similarly shaped cutouts on the bezel. All of the textures and finishes appear to be in the right places. Good effort from BBR!





    On the back theres a slight difference in the case back size. The rep is a thicker width, therefore covering the area the RD logo reoccurring around the circumference on the gen is. Not a deal breaker, its the back of the watch after all and I’m sure theres a reason for it.




    Sizing is 42mm x 11mm, super wearable and very comfy.




    Dial








    The dial (or lack of a dial) revolves around the 5 pointed star skeletonised theme. As you probably guessed by now, i love it! It has a lovely perlage finish over the framework.





    The keyless cover plate is slightly less refined, but you get what you pay for! Its not a cover on the gen, the rep has a plate to cover up the less sexy rep parts. The cote de geneve logo on the right is also a touch larger on the rep.





    Hard to see but the skeletonised framework on the rep has an extruded profile, think joined front to back, where as in places the gen has two separate plates not joined together. Google extrusion if you don’t get what i mean.





    The main flaw i picked up on is the poincon de geneve text around the tourbillon. Its present on the 45mm gen but not this smaller version. There is also 1 extra screw on the tourbillon cage on the gen where the hair spring joins.





    There is a serial number (or model number, not 100% on that) on the gen at around 10-11 oclock, not present on the rep.




    Overall, add a tasty little chamfer around the whole frame work and it would be as good as you could really hope for. The hands are great, true to the 42mm gen with the cutout, including a very eye catching half polished half brushed finish. Again im not sure that is true to gen, it could just be what can be seen from the 45mm gen pic way up, nonetheless it looks cool




    Movement




    I know most in depth reviews name exactly which movement is in the watch. I dont know. I have no idea how to find out. Its an asian tourbillon, thats all ive got for you sorry!





    As mentioned before, the keyless is different.





    There are also the two elephants in the room, namely two gold gears between 9 and 12. I believe these are the hour and minute wheels. Either you can live with it or you can pay £60,000 per wheel to remove them.





    Sorry about the recycled pictures but i can only work with what ive got! The winding mechanism on the rep is on top of the star shape, as opposed to inside it on the gen. id guess its due to it having larger diameter wheels than the gen but i could be wrong. Its the back of the watch, what can you do!




    Strap and clasp




    I’ve said it before and ill say it again, its the best rep leather I’ve ever had. Super soft, its a good length. Theres not a lot to fault. To the point i still haven’t replaced it a year later. I don’t have a pic of the gen clasp but i do have a zzf knights of the round table. As you can see the bbr has a much slimmer profile and slides under the cuff well. The deployant actually stays closed too which is great.






    Overall




    Just buy it. Support the industy and maniacs like myself and dadog13 who obsess over roger dubuis. Without people buying them, they wouldn’t keep bringing out new models and pushing the rep boundaries.




    Honourable mentions to semperfi55 and Glaude for making me step up my review game, and to dadog13 for making up the other half of the roger dubuis fan club and bringing us news and pics of new releases long before the td’s do.

    #2
    That's a very nice review, you stepped up your game, very nicely !

    Thanks for taking the time to do it and to share with us your passion about this brand

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Glaude View Post
      That's a very nice review, you stepped up your game, very nicely !

      Thanks for taking the time to do it and to share with us your passion about this brand
      Thanks man much appreciated! Cheers for showing the rest of us how it should be done haha!

      Comment


        #4
        Great review of a brand/model that is not that popular among members of the forum. I think most of the forum members that like this one are hesitating to buy or won’t buy it since they fear they would easilly be called out.




        I am actually following a number of chinese replica watch dealers and I have seen these sell well just as I have seen double tourbillons been delivered to customers. RD as a brand, skeleton tourbillons or double tourbillons are really impressive and eye catching watches, probably because this chinese like them, they like eye catching stuff..




        I personally felt in love with the brand after seeing one of the watches in an italian watch magazine in 2006.

        See photo :









        I immediately realized I could never afford one seeing the price tag but kept dreaming that our chinese friends would make one day a rep of it. Knowing what were the capabilities of replica factories back then chances to see something what we have today were almost non existing.




        The exclusivity of the brand, small production number of watches made even internet photos and videos limited in availability back then. Today it’s a little bit better however you see most photos in press release and magazines and you never see an actual owner posting photos of this gems.




        Just as you started your venture with RD reps, mine was similar. Faux tourbillon Excalibur, faux tourbillon skeleton Excalibur, seagull tourbillon Easy Diver,..until recently when I picked up the JB tourbillon (opted for it only because of the size, prefer bigger watches). As you’ve mentioned in your review both makers versions suffer from flaws which are always more pronounced on skeleton watches as these are. Without dial, everything is offered on a plate and easilly spotted but at least for me it is something that has not been bothering me. I just live with all the flaws like they are not there. Most of these are released in limited runs of 28 pcs and only a few people in the world actually care and have made an in depth analysis to know them. Most of people when you mention them the brand name don’t even know what is it, even people that follow the swiss watch scene.




        Anyway, I ended selling my JB to a very good friend of mine that is as well a huge brand fan. The reason why I sold it was because I wanted and want to upgrade. The goal is to buy the double tourbillon Excalibur.




        I hope to see in the future more releases since they made this movements from scratch and to be used only for RD reps. Glad to see two factories involved, will bring competition both quality and price wise.




        From what I know/from what I heard JB was developing a triple axis tourbillon, don’t know the status of this project but once it is completed we will see some amazing stuff since there are on the gen market (not RD) some amazing watches. I am saying this which is not related specific to this brand because my attraction to the brand except of design is as well because of the complexity of the movements used, where the triple axis tourbillon is a completely new level. Maybe then I could dream of seeing my fav brand Panerai skeleton torubillon reps..




        We shall see, time will tell..

        Thank you again for this comprehensive review of the BBR factory.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by dadog13 View Post
          Great review of a brand/model that is not that popular among members of the forum. I think most of the forum members that like this one are hesitating to buy or won’t buy it since they fear they would easilly be called out.




          I am actually following a number of chinese replica watch dealers and I have seen these sell well just as I have seen double tourbillons been delivered to customers. RD as a brand, skeleton tourbillons or double tourbillons are really impressive and eye catching watches, probably because this chinese like them, they like eye catching stuff..




          I personally felt in love with the brand after seeing one of the watches in an italian watch magazine in 2006.

          See photo :









          I immediately realized I could never afford one seeing the price tag but kept dreaming that our chinese friends would make one day a rep of it. Knowing what were the capabilities of replica factories back then chances to see something what we have today were almost non existing.




          The exclusivity of the brand, small production number of watches made even internet photos and videos limited in availability back then. Today it’s a little bit better however you see most photos in press release and magazines and you never see an actual owner posting photos of this gems.




          Just as you started your venture with RD reps, mine was similar. Faux tourbillon Excalibur, faux tourbillon skeleton Excalibur, seagull tourbillon Easy Diver,..until recently when I picked up the JB tourbillon (opted for it only because of the size, prefer bigger watches). As you’ve mentioned in your review both makers versions suffer from flaws which are always more pronounced on skeleton watches as these are. Without dial, everything is offered on a plate and easilly spotted but at least for me it is something that has not been bothering me. I just live with all the flaws like they are not there. Most of these are released in limited runs of 28 pcs and only a few people in the world actually care and have made an in depth analysis to know them. Most of people when you mention them the brand name don’t even know what is it, even people that follow the swiss watch scene.




          Anyway, I ended selling my JB to a very good friend of mine that is as well a huge brand fan. The reason why I sold it was because I wanted and want to upgrade. The goal is to buy the double tourbillon Excalibur.




          I hope to see in the future more releases since they made this movements from scratch and to be used only for RD reps. Glad to see two factories involved, will bring competition both quality and price wise.




          From what I know/from what I heard JB was developing a triple axis tourbillon, don’t know the status of this project but once it is completed we will see some amazing stuff since there are on the gen market (not RD) some amazing watches. I am saying this which is not related specific to this brand because my attraction to the brand except of design is as well because of the complexity of the movements used, where the triple axis tourbillon is a completely new level. Maybe then I could dream of seeing my fav brand Panerai skeleton torubillon reps..




          We shall see, time will tell..

          Thank you again for this comprehensive review of the BBR factory.
          Hey man, i think we’re both in the same boat of wanting the double tourbillon. Maybe they’ll do us a discount if we buy two i really do think roger dubuis is an under appreciated brand. People probably have no idea what it is in general. Its a bit ironic most of the pieces/styles i like were created when roger was not involved with the brand but thats life. Now a triple axis tourbillon... thats a serious piece of kit! Im guessing they are going down the grubel forsey route with that rep? Cant wait to see it though! Keep us in the loop mate!

          Comment


            #6
            Now this is one watch I won’t have a problem fixing the keyless!

            Thanks for the concise yet detailed history of the brand for someone unfamiliar with RD. I’m quite impressed by how the factory has achieved the skeletonisation! At 42mm x 10mm; that’s very wearable too!

            From a rep tourby perspective, this is probably the only one with the tourby at 7 then? No clue which movement that would be, probably random customised Asian Tourbillon as you said!

            The next question is: will you be chamfering the skeleton frame?



            In turn I need to up my photography! No excuse not to have a light box now if they are so cheap! I like the gen vs rep photo angles, Especially important here where there is so much detail available to scrutinise.





            Comment


              #7
              Great review bro, wasn't a fan or even knew much about RD but when I saw that spider tourbillon I had to order one!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by semperfi55 View Post
                Now this is one watch I won’t have a problem fixing the keyless!

                Thanks for the concise yet detailed history of the brand for someone unfamiliar with RD. I’m quite impressed by how the factory has achieved the skeletonisation! At 42mm x 10mm; that’s very wearable too!

                From a rep tourby perspective, this is probably the only one with the tourby at 7 then? No clue which movement that would be, probably random customised Asian Tourbillon as you said!

                The next question is: will you be chamfering the skeleton frame?



                In turn I need to up my photography! No excuse not to have a light box now if they are so cheap! I like the gen vs rep photo angles, Especially important here where there is so much detail available to scrutinise.




                Yeah the light box seems to be a decent purchase! The led in built lighting is crap but with an external light source its pretty good! Don’t think i haven't thunk about the chamfers.... two things putting me off thought. Firstly its probably silver metal underneath which could look weird. Secondly i struggle putting the gears back in on a simple movement, a tourbillon? Well that’s a difficult job if i’ve ever seen one! Definitely the only one I remember with a tourby at 7 so almost definitely a custom movement.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by reppin View Post
                  Great review bro, wasn't a fan or even knew much about RD but when I saw that spider tourbillon I had to order one!
                  Cant fault it mate that’s pretty much how i got into rd. got a rotary skeleton as my first watch, googled skeletonised watches and saw the vision of beauty known as roger dubuis and was sold, just not on the price tag haha!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'd really like to hollow out that frame to fix the extrusion issue, chamfer it with a mirrored finish, and at least plate the gold gears so they don't stand out as much. But man that would be a lot of work. The frame would need replating too.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by asuwere View Post
                      I'd really like to hollow out that frame to fix the extrusion issue, chamfer it with a mirrored finish, and at least plate the gold gears so they don't stand out as much. But man that would be a lot of work. The frame would need replating too.
                      Hollowing out the extrusion would be the least of my worries to be honest, its very unnoticeable in real life. I understand why you would want to plate the gears, but they will still be there. Maybe make them silver so they blend in a bit better? As much as the tool maker in me says yeah adding a chamfer is a great idea and probably easy, i can only imagine adding a polished chamfer to gen standard would be very very difficult. I admire your ambition though! I think it would be a good idea to experiment with a dh gate version before ruining one of these!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        thank you for sharing, wonderful write up and great comparison!
                        watch the MoSKito zzzzzzzzzz
                        Today: PAM622/425/605, 15400, 15400TF + 2XAR,
                        Tomorrow: 3777, PP 5711

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by mskwatch View Post
                          thank you for sharing, wonderful write up and great comparison!
                          Thanks man! I owe most of the credit to the guy who took the pics of the gen but i did my small piece

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Yeh thanks. Nice one!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Looks like BBR has a V3 without the extra gear.

                              Comment

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