By Rebecca Doulton
Roger Dubuis watches certainly know how to draw a crowd. The Swiss watchmaker's booth at the SIHH was decorated with a large, futuristic, web-like structure designed to evoke this year's theme of the "astral skeleton". If that means skeletonised movements from outer space, then the description is most apt for the line-up of high-tech, practically naked skeleton watches the brand paraded for 2015.
Among the new Roger Dubuis watches, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon was the star of the show. But being Roger Dubuis, a brand obsessed with reducing ballast from its ships, even the two flying tourbillons with their Celtic crosses, triple lugs, case and flange were all skeletonised. The 47mm titanium case treated with black DLC features fiery red aluminium elements for a sporty impact and an unimpeded view of the RD01SQ automatic skeletonised movement.
Diamonds set in rubber? It had never been done before until a specialist gem-setter cracked the technology allowing Roger Dubuis watches to set 60 baguette-cut diamonds into the rubber bezel of its Excalibur Spider Skeleton Tourbillon. Moving towards the interior of the men's watch, skeleton fanatics will be delighted with all the nooks and crannies and the single tourbillon at 7 o'clock.
Another brand that loves to shock is Hublot watches and its Big Bang Tourbillon 5-day Power Reserve is the first time the Big Bang gets a tourbillon complication hovering above its skeletonised movement. Presented in an imposing 45mm case, the skeleton watch is available in titanium or King Gold - the exclusive alloy that Hublot's alchemists have concocted with a dash of platinum - and features a one-minute tourbillon at 6 o'clock and a power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock. In addition to the complex skeletonisation of the movement, the numbers, indices and hands have also been hollowed out.
A far more subtle and sober approach has been pursued by Parmigiani watches for its elegant Tonda 1950 Squelette model. Not only has calibre PF705 been skeletonised and decorated, the automatic movement is extra-thin, measuring just 2.6mm in height.
The key to thinness is contingent upon a micro-rotor, which can be admired on both sides of the dial. The tapered gold indices are applied to the sapphire crystal dial, and the hands treated with luminescent material to enhance legibility in the dark. The 39mm men's watch, with its slim case height of just 7.8mm, is available in white or rose gold, with a tan or black Hermès leather strap.
Read about men's watch trends at the SIHH