The Velvet Ribbon woman is as sophisticated as she is glamorous. She moves through life with the easy, nonchalant charm of one who knows she has only to raise an elegant eyebrow to set pulses racing. Is her nickname “Ribbon” because she likes to keep men hanging on her every word, dangling and swaying to the tune of her timeless allure? Only time will tell…
At the SIHH 2016, Roger Dubuis epitomizes this über-sophisticated facet of femininity through an entrancing Haute Joaillerie creation evocatively named Velvet Ribbon. Having accustomed its worldwide following to a quality commitment expressed through the Poinçon de Genève certification of its resolutely Haute Horlogerie production, Manufacture Roger Dubuis logically applies similarly uncompromising standards in its approach to Haute Joaillerie. Solid technical foundations, a stunning flair for design as well as superlative gemsetting are magnificently mingled and showcased in the Velvet Ribbon, embodying the very essence of precious and exclusive horology.
The Velvet collection is clearly intended for refined and discerning women who appreciate the intrinsic value of a fine mechanical movement, but whose innate elegance and sophistication also draws them towards dressy, glamorous models with a sparkle to match their own. These natural-born divas appreciate the charisma exuded by models bearing a wealth of signature features such as striking split-level dials accentuating the sense of depth; voluptuous trompe l’oeil cases appealing to those who prefer not to choose between a tonneau (barrel) or a circle; large tapering Roman numerals converging towards the centre; as well as exquisitely ornamental lugs including that famous central one playing a distinctive decorative role as a precious bracelet ‘link’.
With the Velvet Ribbon, Manufacture Roger Dubuis takes things to the next level in an extraordinary creation embodying an impressive range of skills.
No less than 631 diamonds totaling around 53 carats adorn this breathtaking Haute Joaillerie model. The ideally sized 38.5mm platinum case of the Velvet Ribbon, redesigned to adapt to opulent gemsetting, is fully paved with emerald- and baguette-cut diamonds.
The inner bezel ring and luminous dial are also fully paved with baguette-cut diamonds creating an entrancing effect further enhanced by the fact that this pristine purity remains untroubled by the usual hour markers. It thereby offers a prime example of how less can be so much more – the famous design principle also typified by the decision to do away with the customary lateral lugs and leave only the inimitable central lug highlighted by two perfectly paired and truly exceptional 1-carat F/IF-VVS gems.
Sourcing these centre stones exemplifies the outstanding savoir-faire in the field of gemmology cultivated by Manufacture Roger Dubuis as well as its determination to achieve Poinçon de Genève-worthy perfection in each field of endeavour and in every detail. This will to excel is also vividly illustrated by the decision to set even the case-back with brilliant-cut diamonds, as well as to secure the seamlessly integrated bracelet with an integrated jewellery-type clasp featuring a fold-over catch.
Admirably complementing this paragon of watchmaking and jewellery excellence, the bracelet is entirely paved with emerald-cut diamonds, ensuring a smoothly understated aesthetic flow. Its mesh pattern is meticulously hand-crafted and assembled from welded gold wires to follow the curve of the wrist while ensuring it remains as supple and flowing as possible.
In addition to the clever play on different cuts, a variety of techniques contribute to igniting the fire of the diamonds and reinforcing the hypnotic aura instilled by the play on contrasts and the nested geometrical shapes. This is particularly striking on the dial with its gradually widening tonneau motif and the receding perspective or sunburst pattern characteristic of Roger Dubuis designs.
In the centre, the fascinating invisible setting, based on cutting grooves into rounded stones and snapping the stones into a metal rail, ensures the gems are set so tightly that the metal is entirely concealed; while the ‘Clou de Paris’ setting, a process by which several stones are held in place with a single pin, radiates a unique charm that is picked up on the case middle and the platinum bracelet.
Last but not least, the clever use of prong setting along with meticulously studied orientation of the centre stones combine to ensure that these large exceptional gems are shown to the best advantage, while openworked chatons ensure optimal dispersion of the light to create a truly entrancing effect.
Haute Horlogerie thus meets Haute Joaillerie in this standout model, of which each example is literally unique because of the very nature of the gems themselves as well as the individual fine workmanship involved. Water-resistant to 3 bar (30 metres), proudly bearing the Poinçon de Genève and beating steadily to the tune of self-winding Calibre RD821 complete with openwork oscillating weight, Velvet Ribbon is an ‘extreme’ demonstration of Roger Dubuis’ proclaimed – and acknowledged – vocation as a “jeweler of rare artistic masterpieces”.
Sophisticated to its very core through this exceptional mingling of competence, creativity and craftsmanship, Velvet Ribbon exudes a glamorous and elegant charm that imbues it with a timeless grace making it a perfect match for women who personify this fascinating facet of femininity. It vividly reflects the talents, artistry, experience and dexterity of the finest artisans who daily devote their skills to the treasures brought to life by the Manufacture Roger Dubuis.
Images © Roger Dubuis