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One of the earlier pieces created by Roger Dubuis after starting his brand, this Sympathie Chronograph S34 features a glossy black dial with rose-gold accents. The movement was regulated by Dubuis himself, and is chronometer-graded.
The origin of Roger Dubuis
Roger Dubuis started his career at Longines, in the late 1950s, where he spent close to a decade in the after-sales department, repairing and caring for the brand's watches, including their prestigious chronographs. Shortly thereafter, he integrated Patek Philippe's complications department, where he has the opportunity to work on gongs, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars, among others. His time there coincided with the production of some of the manufacture's most sought-after, complicated models - from the ref. 2499 to the ref. 3448 - which Dubuis himself had the opportunity to work on.
Dubuis' enthusiasm for watchmaking was such that, when he had finished working a full day at the atelier, he would go home and work on repairing watches for private clients, auction houses and dealers around Geneva. In the '80s, he left Patek Philippe to establish his own workshop, dedicating himself fully to the restoration of pieces from the past. In 1995, following a partnership with businessman Carlos Dias, he would establish his own eponymous brand.
The first Roger Dubuis watches were acclaimed by collectors because they channelled the traditional Geneva watchmaking that Patek Philippe embodied, while having more stylistic flair. Dubuis' attempt to rival Patek Philippe themselves was obvious in some of his choices, from seeking the Geneva Seal for his movements to designing deployante buckles. In particular, the Hommage watches, as the name suggests, were designed as a homage to the great watchmakers of old, according to Mr Dubuis. In 2003, after only eight years, Roger Dubuis himself left his eponymous brand. Though his output in the earliest days of the brand was limited, the design and quality of the pieces he produced have stood the test of time.
The Sympathie Chronograph
Roger Dubuis' watchmaking combined traditional techniques and aesthetics with a more contemporary approach. Perhaps more than any other, the Sympathie design speaks to this forward-thinking approach. Neither round nor square, the Sympathie case design balances the two different shapes, complemented by a stepped bezel and curved, elongated lugs. In an industry where case shapes generally follow quite a narrow blueprint - either round, rectangular or square - the brand put forwards a genuinely innovative design.
According to Roger Dubuis, the basic form was suggested by a respected casemaker in the Vallée de Joux, having later been refined by Dubuis and Dias. This unique silhouette was used across several of the watchmaker's earliest pieces, from his chronographs to his perpetual calendars. Traditionally, it is understood that each variant of the Sympathie series was limited to 28 pieces. According to Dias, the initial intention was actually to limit each series to 25. However, following the suggestion of a collectors based in Asia - where the number 8 is considered to bring good luck - the number 28 was chosen instead.
The design is that of a two-register chronograph, with a gloss-dial and applied Breguet numerals. The surface of the dial is a glossy-black, with rose-gold detailing that provides a satisfying contrast against the dark colouring. The 60-second and 30-minute subdials are placed at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively, and are decorated with a traditional guilloché pattern.
A railroad track design runs around the outermost section of the dial, with a separate track indicating divisions for minutes running separately underneath. 5-second intervals are marked off in Arabic numerals within the minute track.
The feuille-shaped hands are rendered in rose-gold, with the faceted index markers found in the same metal, also giving the piece a sense of texture. Finally, the 35mm square case features an array of polished and brushed surfaces, with a stepped bezel, as well as elongated, polished lugs and over-sized screw attachments.
The watch is powered by the Cal. RD 56 - based on the Lemania 2310 - bearing the Seal of Geneva. The movement was originally developed in 1942 in a partnership between Lemania and Omega, and the resulting movement was later known as the calibre 321, which powered the first watch to go to the moon.
The movement bears the Seal of Geneva and was regulated by Roger Dubuis himself. At the time of production, it only Patek Philippe movements carried the Geneva Seal, hence why Dubuis felt that it was crucial to have the same hallmark of quality. The seal focuses on the art of decorating a movement with finesse and skill, in the style of Genevan watchmaking.
The complexity of the movement is revealed through a sapphire case-back, featuring a 21 jewel, straight-line lever escapement, a monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions, a self-compensating Breguet spring and swan-neck micrometer regulator. As indicated by the "Bulletin d'Observatoire" signature on the dial, this movement was tested for accuracy at the Besançon Observatory, setting far more exacting standards than a test from the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC).
This Roger Dubuis Sympathie Chronograph S34 comes with its original wooden box, leather document holder with instruction manual and the Certificate of Origin. Also included is an additional solid caseback and the corresponding rose gold tang buckle. The watch is attached to a bespoke taupe strap in grained calfskin.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Sympathie Chronograph will be subject to 20% VAT.
Sympathie Chronograph S34 56 5
mechanical manual-winding Cal. RD56
chronograph, hours, minutes, sub-seconds
display back, Breguet numerals
35 mm 18-carat rose-gold
sapphire front and back
corresponding rose gold tang buckle, bespoke taupe strap
Box & papers:
original wooden box, leather document holder, instruction manual, Certificate of Origin, additional solid rose gold caseback
This rose gold Roger Dubuis Sympathie Chronograph S34 56 5 is in good condition overall, with superficial markings and hairline scratches throughout, typical of normal wear. Light oxidisation can be seen where the front sapphire crystal and case meet (as captured in the product photography). The watch is guaranteed for authenticity and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.
We stand by the quality of all of our pre-owned watches and mechanical objects. If something goes wrong, we’ll always strive to remedy the situation in a timely manner and to the best of our ability. The satisfaction and trust of our clients is of the highest importance, to everyone at A Collected Man.
All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough, non-invasive mechanical inspections and have been serviced, if appropriate, to ensure that they meet our highest standards of timekeeping and functionality.
Our pre-owned watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by either a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. This excludes any damage sustained due to improper use or accident. Due to their age, some pre-owned watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when new.
Any of our pre-owned watches which have been serviced by their respective manufacturer, will carry the manufacturer’s servicing guarantee. This is separate and supersedes, the standard warranty offered by A Collected Man. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. You can write to us directly at email@example.com, for further clarification.
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