We’ve all heard about the synergy between watches and cars, partnerships between watches and car brands, watches that take design cues from cars and even cars that have watches on the dashboard. But this is the first time a watch rolls onto the wrist with authentic Pirelli Formula 1 tyres.
Roger Dubuis, the brand with a reputation for daring, avant-garde watch designs and extreme skeletonisation, has teamed up with Italian tyre maker Pirelli to source rubber for the watch straps of two Excalibur Spider models. With the current fever that has consumed the watch industry for straps – viewed by many as a smokescreen for the limited offering of new designs that has marked the sector these past two years – Roger Dubuis’ alliance with Pirelli is right on cue. However, to add a dash of storytelling to the mix, the rubber was sourced directly from the used tyres of a winning Grand Prix car.
What is unusual about this alliance is that no mention or marketing stunts whatsoever were made of the F1 car from which the tyres were taken or, for that matter, the racer. After much prodding, the words “Monaco 2016” were whispered and it took just a few guesses to arrive at the answer. The tyres were taken from Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG F1 after his victory in the 2016 Monte Carlo Grand Prix.
Conditions during the 2016 Monte Carlo Grand Prix were wet, and the tyres selected by Hamilton’s team were Pirelli’s Cinturato™ Blue. Pirelli is the sole supplier of tyres to Formula 1 championship races and produces different specifications for different weather conditions, each with a distinguishing sidewall colour. The tyre for wet surfaces features a rear tread pattern to reduce aquaplaning and has a blue sidewall colour, which explains the blue motifs on both watches.
The two watches to receive the new, used tyres, complete with tread marks and a certificate of origin are the Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Double Flying Tourbillon and the Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton. With kilometre-long names like these, it is worth reviewing just a few concepts to decipher these extremely complicated watches.
Excalibur, inspired by the Arthurian legend, is the name given to Roger Dubuis’ renowned collection of men’s and women’s watches originally launched in 2015. The Astral Skeleton principle is another term you will come across frequently at Roger Dubuis, which is a fancy way of referring to the five-pronged star-shaped bridge on the movement that is a hallmark of the brand. When coupled with the Spider Concept, you are looking at a watch where skeletonisation has been taken beyond the movement all the way out to the bezel, flange and hands.
The 47mm black DLC titanium Excalibur Spider Pirelli Double Flying Tourbillon is a limited edition of eight pieces and displays two tourbillons in its fully skeletonised case. A power-reserve indicator styled like a cockpit fuel gauge in blue, green and yellow is placed at 9 o’clock while the signature Astral Skeleton, picked out in Pirelli blue, anchors the 365 components of the hand-wound movement. Like all Roger Dubuis movements, it is endorsed with the Poinçon de Genève seal guaranteeing the finest craftsmanship.
When it comes to skeletonisation, Roger Dubuis has the upper hand and carves all the pieces of the calibre before assembling them, as opposed to skeletonising a pre-existing movement, which is pretty standard procedure with other watch brands. A limited edition of 88 pieces, the Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton reveals every last aspect of its seamless movement and is highlighted with Pirelli-blue details on the crown, flange and stitching on the strap.
Both watches come on a black rubber strap with inlays of rubber taken from the Pirelli tyres used by Hamilton and are decorated on the interior with Pirelli’s iconic tread pattern. In addition to the racing strap, owners of the double tourbillon will be invited to a two-day VIP programme organised by Pirelli while owners of the automatic model will be tempted with the possibility of attending local Pirelli events.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Double Flying Tourbillon and Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Automatic Skeleton come with rubber straps made from F1 Pirelli tyres (£278,000 and £61,500).
The Astral Skeleton principle refers to the five-pronged star-shaped skeletonised bridge on the movement that is a hallmark of Roger Dubuis.
Pirelli is the sole supplier of tyres to Formula I championship races and produces different specifications for different weather conditions, each with a distinguishing sidewall colour.
The tyres taken to make the strap of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli – Double Flying Tourbillon were taken from Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG F1 after his victory in the 2016 Monte Carlo Grand Prix (£278,000).
Roger Dubuis has teamed up with Italian tyre maker Pirelli to source rubber from the tyres of a F1 winning car for the watch straps of two Excalibur Spider models.