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Roger Dubuis - "I love the idea that Roger Dubuis leaves no-one indifferent"

Roger Dubuis "I love the idea that Roger Dubuis leaves no-one indifferent"

In this interview, Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis, talks about Roger Dubuis's exclusive timepieces, the customer experience, the QLab, and the relentless quest for innovation.

You are kicking off 2020 with a minute repeater that is not going unnoticed…
Our new Excalibur Spider Unique Series is indeed of particular importance to me, as it exactly embodies Roger Dubuis' duality: extremely advanced technical content matching by daring and very accomplished aesthetics. Not everyone is capable of creating a minute repeater with an automatic flying tourbillon, let alone in a forged carbon case with such spectacular finishing. This material was not chosen by chance; it is very complex to work with and at the same time provides the purchaser with enhanced sound clarity and a lightness that makes it very pleasant to wear. The exclusivity of its DNA is accentuated by the uniqueness of each piece. This bright green version is the only one, but other customers have ordered it with red, yellow, or other customizations, making each truly one of a kind.

"I love the idea that Roger Dubuis leaves no-one indifferent"

Excalibur Spider Unique Series © Roger Dubuis

This is in keeping with the spirit of the unique piece presented at the SIHH 2019?
Roger Dubuis made a big impression last year with the Excalibur One-Off concept watch, because above and beyond the exceptional achievement it embodied, its owner experienced a unique set of 12 monthly stages before taking possession of it. By way of example, he received a home visit by Product Strategy Director Gregory Bruttin, for example, went to his home with a giant model of the movement, then came to visit the Manufacture in a very exclusive way, our partner Lamborghini welcomed him with a tailor-made program, and so on for a year. This is one of the most advanced examples we have of connecting with our customers. At Roger Dubuis, the personalization of watches and customer relations is very important. As it is a niche brand, it is still possible.

"I love the idea that Roger Dubuis leaves no-one indifferent"

Excalibur One-Off © Roger Dubuis

 

What is your customer profile?
They are people who like to explore new territories and want to set themselves apart, but our customer base includes people from all walks of life, as well as the young at heart of all ages and septuagenarians. Roger Dubuis customers are daring, they like to explore unknown territory and to wear a contemporary Haute Horlogerie watch on their wrist that stands out from what they have already seen. I think Roger Dubuis offers them the most exciting opportunity to discover fine watchmaking, through the product as well as shared passions such as motorsport. The exclusivity of Roger Dubuis watches is not only due to their very high price, but also to this state of mind of sharing values, of emulating experiences or as companions of friends of the brand who embody them. What they appreciate above all is the fun, the originality of the approach.

You had to adapt coming from a group like Tiffany...
As I often say, I trained for 25 years to take the wheel of Roger Dubuis. Before being at the head of Tiffany Watches, I ran my own company, a small structure. I really appreciate the human dimension of Roger Dubuis; everyone knows each other, we all work together, there is a good dynamic. It also enables closer proximity with clients and more internal responsiveness. Within the Richemont group, they call us les enfants terribles, the mavericks. We are encouraged to work on Roger Dubuis' DNA, but our heritage lies in our future; we must continue to develop innovation and new facets of contemporary haute horlogerie. This duality of haute horlogerie and aesthetic audacity echoes the initiative of the brand's founders. It is also why we are going to create the QLab.

What will the QLab consist of?
The QLab will allow everyone to express themselves within the company, at all hierarchical levels and in every field of activity, but in an efficient way. This multi-disciplinary exchange platform will redefine the way our customers will approach our products, so as to better reconnect with them and get them involved in the experience. The QLab provides an organic environment within the company to explore together the feasibility of new ideas, and the Manufacture will be redesigned to physically house this space and stage it for our customers, probably starting with Watches & Wonders at the end of April.

What about those who do not adhere to the concept?
I love the idea that Roger Dubuis leaves no-one indifferent and that it generates strong feelings. You can't do everything or please everyone, and polarization suits me, it enables us to focus on those who like our watches. Our convictions drive us forward, and this divisiveness reinforces our notion of belonging, while those who appreciate us love us even more. There is indeed a market for these watches at very high prices, but its scope is not yet clearly defined. We must adopt the right attitude and cultivate our difference in order to make it evolve.

What is your assessment of 2019?
First of all, Roger Dubuis' results are very good, which indicates that we are heading in the right direction. We have emphasized the aesthetic difference of the brand by relying heavily on our partnerships in motor racing and I’ve realized that we have doubtless somewhat neglected our watchmaking credentials – all of will have to be rebalanced in order to better respect the two facets of the brand. Finally, we have understood that the current economic and geopolitical situation forces us to be extremely agile, attentive and efficient. We need to simplify the way we act and to be able to adapt constantly.

Will this be visible in 2020?
We are naturally learning from these observations and are setting up a three-year plan. The minute repeater that you see embodies our desire to express Roger Dubuis' expertise haute horlogerie, particularly through our Excalibur line, which will particularly benefit from it in 2020. Extravagant design and a capacity for innovation will of course remain strong priorities.

 

 

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The brand

The Roger Dubuis Manufacture was founded on the desire for independence and watchmaking excellence. With remarkable dynamism, Roger Dubuis quickly ignited the world of Haute Horlogerie and has developed over thirty completely original in-house movements. Striking a fine balance between traditional watchmaking expertise and avant‑garde design, the Manufacture became a specialist in architectural skeletonised movements.

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