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January 27th, 2014, in SIHH14

Roger Dubuis celebrates its Hommage collection with a spectacular showing at the SIHH 2014

The 24th edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie has proven to be yet another success for the Manufacture Roger Dubuis, which once again drew all eyes to its characteristically iconoclastic booth. This year’s was themed in tune with the stunningly reinvigorated Hommage collection introducing the new RD100 movement and also celebrated in a series of dedicated Hommage dinners.

Representing the quintessence of ‘Incredible Mechanics’, the very core of the Roger Dubuis universe, the Hommage collection is a tribute to Fine Watchmaking and its most admirable exponents. The newly energised collection carries the figurative and literal signature of the man who first launched it in 1995: Mr Roger Dubuis, the ‘soulmaker’ of the Manufacture who was of course present throughout the week to meet visitors. The new models included the special Hommage Flying Tourbillon Tribute to Mr Roger Dubuis, as well as the Hommage Double Flying Tourbillon with Hand-made guilloché, offering a spectacularly modern take on a time-honoured decorative skill and powered by the innovative RD100 calibre.

The Hommage spirit was vividly showcased on the Roger Dubuis booth through a steampunk interpretation of the cuckoo clock, set amid an entrancing alpine world. The collection itself was presented in gleaming bell jars held by silent statues paying tribute to horological genius through the ages and in particular to Geneva’s watchmaking inventions. This playful approach also highlighted Roger Dubuis’ devotion to its hometown, as notably epitomised in its 100% Poinçon de Genève-certified production.

The official booth opening held on Monday January 20th was the culmination of a tantalizing interactive journey identified as #HelloExtraordinary and featuring 30 artistic episodes aired since December 20th on the dedicated www.goodbyecuckoo website infused with the Roger Dubuis zeitgeist of deconstruction and reconstruction. The ceremony began with watchmakers forming a guard of honour for Mr Roger Dubuis and CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué, and a countdown to the unveiling of the booth concealed behind a white curtain. The giant cuckoo clock sounded nine times, and the automatons symbolically presenting the Hommage models took a figurative ‘bow’ by turning full circle.

Commenting on the SIHH, CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué pointed out the “significance of its location at the heart of Geneva where many of the great horological artisans and inventors have developed and honed their skills through the centuries”. He also emphasised that the “Hommage collection embodies a contemporary take on traditional horology and represents a fitting salute to Geneva, to Fine Watchmaking as well as to our deeply cherished Poinçon de Genève.”

Appropriately held in the minimalist setting of Geneva’s Centre d’Art Contemporain - a space perfectly conveying the retrofuture state of mind embraced by Roger Dubuis this year - the Hommage dinners offered guests a stunning recreation of classic Belle Epoque charm and elegance. The sparing backdrop was enlivened by sculptor’s Nicolas Momein’s gigantic ‘woollen canopies’ as well as fascinating Back to the Future pictures by photographer Irina Werning. Every detail of the evening – from the ornate crystal chandeliers, design furniture and antique tableware through to the waiters’ steampunk uniforms, as well as the mood instilled by musicians Sophie Besson and Jim Cherrak, Franck Bouroullec’s live painting performance, and of course the refined menu concocted by starred chef Michel Roth – contributed to creating a fanciful ceremonial atmosphere to which Roger Dubuis had given its inimitably contemporary twist.

Visitors to the SIHH 2014 were thus once again able to measure the extent of Roger Dubuis’ unswerving commitment to excellence, expressed through a subtly figurative approach to the art and science of horology that is occasionally subversive or provocative, but above all consistently creative.