Complicated wristwatch Roger Dubuis. Featured by SalonQP Magazine. Courtesy and with thanks.
The Hommage Millesime 2 is one of last year’s most complicated watches – but it never showed its face until now
Followers of Roger Dubuis could well have been forgiven for writing 2016 off as an unremarkable year. The brand’s showing at SIHH focussed almost excusively on ladies’ watches, and the attention seemed to be on glamorous new iterations of existing (albeit impressive in their own right) skeletonised calibres.
And now this: the Hommage Millesime 2. It combines – deep breath – a split-seconds chronograph, a perpetual calendar with bi-retrograde date displays and a minute repeater. The combination of chronograph, calendar and chiming functions makes it a bona fide grande complication.
And… you will never see it. Very few people will. It is a unique piece, made for the American market, and it has already been sold to a New York collector. The watch was shown at the opening of Roger Dubuis’ first New York boutique last year, in fact, but wasn’t publicised any wider.
Why so rare? Quite apart from the intensely demanding nature of producing such a watch (even non-limited grande complications tend to be counted in the single digits), the Hommage Millesime 2 is a piece unique because only one movement exists.
The Millesime project is a restoration project at heart; complicated calibres from the late 19th and early 20th century have been sourced, re-built and re-designed in a style in-keeping with the brand (and in-keeping with the fact that Roger Dubuis himself began life as a restorer of pocket watches). The project was announced with the release of a pocket watch, mid-way through 2015. This also combined minute repeater, perpetual calendar and chronograph functions with retrograde displays, and clearly follows the same aesthetic approach. Every Millesime watch has also been finished to Poincon de Geneve standards (in line with everything else the brand produces). Courtesy and with thanks QPSalon
Take a look at the movement here – a thing of beauty that reminds us of the sensational hand-wound chronographs we photographed last year. Most visible is the chronograph mechanism, with the pincer-shaped split-seconds levers in the centre of the movement. Two column wheels are used, both capped with a top plate and large screw (Patek Philippe is one other brand to cap off its column wheels; most other brands like to leave them open).
To the right of the split-seconds column wheel (near where it says “Roger” on the case) is a hammer for the minute repeater; we would expect there to be a second hammer nearby but it’s not clear where. Also notable is the large balance wheel with several fine adjustment points. When possible, we will update this piece with more information from Roger Dubuis about the movement chosen for this watch.
The movement is signed in various places, reading “1/1”, “Forty Jewels”, “RD 180” (the new designation for the restored movement) and at least one further inscription we’re not clear on.
Feature extract With thanks and courtesy SalonQP Magazine