Swiss watch brand Roger Dubuis was founded in 1995 by Roger Dubuis, a Genevan watchmaker, and Carlos Dias, an entrepreneur and designer, under the name Sogem SA (Société Genevoise des Montres).
Mr. Roger Dubuis was born in Corbeyrier, near Montreux, in 1938. He began his watchmaking career at Longines in the 1950s, then moved to the high complications workshops at Patek Philippe, where he worked for 14 years. In 1980, he left Patek Philippe to set up a small workshop in Geneva to restore watches and clocks for collectors, auction houses and watch brands. In the 1980s he started to develop his first complication module, a perpetual calendar with retrograde date and day of the week displays, in collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the Genevan complications manufacturer. The Bi-Retrograde Perpetual Calendar Watch, commissioned by Harry Winston, was first presented at the Basel fair in 1989. Mr. Dubuis later met Carlos Dias, a designer for Franck Muller, who joined him to launch the brand.
In 1999, the company was renamed Manufacture Roger Dubuis SA, and in 2002 a new headquarters was opened in Meyrin, a suburb of Geneva. This was significantly expanded in 2005 in accordance with the plans of Carlos Dias to develop the manufacturing direction. Before that, there had been disagreements between the partners, and in 2003 Mr. Dubuis left the brand he founded.
All of the brand’s watches have received the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark and chronometer certification at the Besançon Observatory.
The early collection of the brand consisted of two lines – the classical Hommage and the spectacularly designed, but still elegant, Sympathie. All of the brand’s watches have received the Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark and chronometer certification at the Besançon Observatory. Roger Dubuis originally wanted to produce watches as pieces unique and limited editions of only 25 pieces, but, according to Carlos Dias, changed this to 28 on the suggestion of an Asian collector, as 8 is associated with good luck.
From 1999 to 2003, the brand launched several new collections, including TooMuch, MuchMore, GoldenSquare and FollowMe, with which the design side of the business took over. In 2005, the Excalibur collection was presented, with a flagship masterpiece featuring an extraordinaire double-tourbillon RD08 hand-wound caliber.
The costs incurred by Carlos Dias to expand the business unfortunately coincided with the economic crisis of 2008. The company experienced financial difficulties, exacerbated by the breakup of a partnership with Helvetia Time Corp. of Steven Holtzman, a distributor in the United States. So, in August 2008 Carlos Dias sold his 60 percent stake in Manufacture Roger Dubuis to the Richemont luxury group. Carlos Dias left the company in the same year. In 2016, the Richemont group acquired the remaining 40%, owned by Syrian-born businessman Akram Aljord.
The further development of the company is marked by two restructurings of the collection and the development of numerical in-house calibers, including such unusual ones as the Quatuor RD101, the world’s first caliber with four inclined sprung balances and 5 differentials. The collection is currently dominated by the Excalibur design.
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