$396K cobalt chrome wristwatch takes extravagance to new heights
Swiss luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis has previewed its "deliberately extravagant" Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt wristwatch ahead of its public debut in January. The hand-mechanical timepiece not only has a quadruple spring balance to overcome the effects of gravity, but a cobalt chrome casing that the company claims is a horological first.
Waterproof to a depth of 50 m (5 BAR), the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt boasts a 48 mm (1.89 in) case, case back, bezel, and crown made of cobalt chrome alloy. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, is biocompatible, is extremely corrosion resistant and highly durable.
Cobalt chrome is used in gas turbines, engine components, aeronautical engineering, astronomical instruments, orthopedic implants, dentistry and jewelry, but this is apparently the first time it's been used in watch material.
As the name suggests, the Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt is fabricated by means of the MicroMelt process to gain better homogeneity and greater control of composition and porosity. For this, the cobalt chrome alloy is melted using induction and atomized by shooting the liquid metal as a high-pressure stream of gas into a vacuum chamber to form a powder, which is blended and sieved before being subjected to hot isostatic pressure in sealed containers to achieve the desired denseness, then rolled out into bars and finally milled into watch components.
Inside the case is an RD101 Calibre 113-jewel movement of 590 parts, which has received the Poinçon de Genève – the quality seal of the Watchmaking School of Geneva. It operates at a frequency of 16 Hz (115,200 vph) and has a 40-hour power reserve. But its party piece is its four spring balances and five differentials balanced in six positions that, together, do the job of a tourbillion in compensating for the effect of gravity. The company says the difference is that it does this "instantly" as opposed the minute required by a conventional tourbillon mechanism.
The dial displays hours, minutes, and the power reserve indicator using white gold skeleton hands with SuperLumiNova-filled red tips and a printed speedometer-style minute track. Decorations include blue PVD-coated plate, flange, movement barrel cage, and bridges, and rhodium-plated indexes. On the reverse is a crystal sapphire case back and it's all set off by a blue alligator strap with red stitches and a titanium grade 5 folding clasp.
The Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt will make its debut at the SIHH 2017. There will only be a run of eight units selling for CHF390,000 (US$396,000) each.
Source: Roger Dubuis
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