Roger Dubuis Adventure in the Manufacture

— Omega Replica Watches UK

A subjective account of a memorably transparent and impressive factory tour that proved to be a rare treat.

David Chokron à la Manufacture Roger Dubuis

Generally speaking, I avoid writing in the first person, but sometimes the kind of ties that are woven by a factory tour cannot be expressed otherwise. I especially enjoyed visiting Roger Dubuis’ production facilities in Meyrin near Geneva, and the rare sense of pleasure derived from the experience was largely due to the warm welcome I received. This is not just a matter of gracious manners, since all the great Manufactures take good care of visitors, especially professionals in my category. At Roger Dubuis, the premises are pervaded by a distinctive atmosphere featuring legitimate pride, considerable competence, along with an authentically modest and open-minded approach – an array of qualities not necessarily often associated with the brand image. The way the product is staged in its marketing package stems from entirely different motivations.


Even the pinions are produced in the Manfuacture. © David Chokron
To begin with, it’s important to point out that the Manufacture Roger Dubuis is oversized – and that this is a good thing. It houses as many machines, tools, skills and workstations as one would expect from a brand three times bigger. While it continues to produce certain components for other brands also belonging to the Richemont group, this is less and less the case. Most of the production capacity is indeed dedicated to creating its five collections: Excalibur, Pulsion, Monégasque, Velvet and the newly revitalised Hommage range.  While the brand emphasises the fact that its entire production is certified by the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark, that commitment alone is not enough to explain these generous dimensions.


A diagnostic robot robot examines the dimensions of a mainplate after machining / David Chokron


Circular-graining the mainplate of a skeleton double tourbillon movement. David Chokron

The size of this Manufacture stems from the following choice. Apart from jewels, levers and pallet-wheels (made according to a highly technical outsourced process), all parts of every movement are produced in-house. They are made in very small series to within very narrow tolerances, before being decorated with a degree of meticulous care rarely seen in a brand that produces Omega Replica watches in their thousands. The polishing and decoration workshops where the parts are sandblasted, grained, trued and given a shiny or matt finish are spacious and humming with activity. An entire workshop with around 12 occupants is entirely devoted to producing regulating organs. The balance-springs are made here from an inert material that will thus become the beating heart of Roger Dubuis Replica Watches. The levers, jewels, balance-wheels, balance-springs, collets, studs, rollers and other parts of the escapement are then assembled, rather than being purchased as kits for a few dozen francs from specialised suppliers, however upscale they might be.


An Excalibur Skeleton Double Tourbillon: mechanical lacework bearing the Poinçon de Genève.  / David Chokron

This discrepancy of scale between Roger Dubuis’ actual needs and the reality of its facilities is typical of the brand: it does everything, on its own and with fastidious care. This attitude also governs the development of its movements – of which the sheer diversity and complexity is apparent from a glance at the Manufacture catalogue. Double tourbillons, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, flyback or split-second chronographs: Roger Dubuis masters the entire range of complications. A substantial portion of its energy has been devoted in recent years to redeveloping its existing movements and reintegrating their production within the Manufacture in order to bring them up to scratch. During the watch industry’s wild boom years, Roger Dubuis like so many others sold too many insufficiently tested products too quickly. A sweeping recall campaign has virtually solved this issue and the final level of quality is now on a par with the brand’s ambitions. This is a topic that is willingly discussed and not at all taboo – contrary to the details of balance-spring production.


The horological Holy Grail: a balance and its spring made by and for Roger Dubuis. © David Chokron

Driven by a concern to ensure transparency, to enhance my enjoyment and to make this visit truly memorable, Roger Dubuis treated me to a great horological moment. On the workbench of the Customer Service workshop, an RD02SQ calibre awaited me. It was barely prepared with just the jewels driven in and the winding-stem in place, meaning that the entire assembly of this skeleton tourbillon movement remained to be done. As intensely focused as a child doing his first 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, trembling with the strain of keeping my arms in the air, struggling to show a sure hand, wheezing like an asthma sufferer in my effort to hold my breath, it took me a full hour and a half to assemble this Fine Watchmaking movement. Fair enough, it is unlikely to wind up in a fake Omega watch, since this training calibre started off scratched and only barely presentable in terms of its finishing. But just try for yourself to screw a tourbillon carriage in “blind” from beneath, without making a single scratch on a mirror-polished screw! In comparison with the real work of the Swiss Replica Watches makers, these steps that may seem simple or customary take on their full dimension. This is an authentic profession that is anything but simple and truly beautiful.


I try to fit the tourbillon carriage on its pillars, with a very shaky hand. © David Chokron