Roger Dubuis' career started in a typical watchmaker's fashion - learning his craft at large manufactures, including Patek Philippe. These formative years are clearly reflected in the style of this Sympathie Perpetual Calendar Chronograph watch, made alongside the Hommage Series. Inspired by classics such as the Patek Philippe's Ref. 130, the Sympathie offers a different take on this classical styling, with a distinctive angular case and elongated lugs.
It is understood that for each variant in the series, there were no more than 28 examples made. Each was chronometer-graded from the Besançon Observatory. One of the earlier pieces created by the legendary watchmaker, after establishing his own brand in 1995, they're now highly collectable.
According to Mr Dubuis himself, he started working on his first complication in the late 1980s - a perpetual calendar module with retrograde displays. For several years, Roger Dubuis worked on the complication with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (founder of respective complications specialist Agenhor), for Harry Winston, who announced their own version of the Bi-Retrograde Perpetual Calendar at Baselworld, in 1989. It was the first double retrograde perpetual calendar, and Roger Dubuis later made the same perpetual module the signature complication of his brand. The Bi-Retrograde Perpetual Calendar is one of the quintessential Roger Dubuis watches of the era, powered by the Lemania cal. 2310 (as with Patek Philippe’s version of the same, except the Roger Dubuis is bi-retrograde).
The design is that of a two-register chronograph, with an off-white, lacquer dial. It’s painted with black, stylised fonts and red minute markers, which add a nice contrast against the dial. The minute and hour hands are faceted gold, with blued chronograph, 30-minute counter and skeletonised date hands. Two ‘arcs’ are visible on the dial at 3 and 9 o’clock, showing the day and date, respectively. The months at 12 o'clock are separated into quarters to indicate the leap year cycle. The 37mm square case is very distinct, featuring an array of polished and brushed surfaces, with a stepped-bezel, elongated, polished lugs and oversized screw attachments.
The watch is powered by the Cal. RD 5632 (based on the Lemania 2310), bearing the Seal of Geneva. The complexity of the movement is revealed through an engraved sapphire case-back, featuring a 25 jewel, straight-line lever escapement, a monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions, a self-compensating Breguet spring and swan-neck micrometer regulator.
This Sympathie Bi-Retrograde Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is accompanied by its original box, papers, Besançon Chronometer Certificate, additional solid caseback, setting pin and hangtags. It comes on our Stockholm stone grey grained calfskin strap, with a white gold Roger Dubuis deployante buckle.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.