Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beautifying Complications: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande

Lately, I’ve been looking for wrist watches that can be profoundly art or literature referential. What do I mean by that?  Simply they appropriate or incorporate art or literature, pictorially or textually in their designs -- with intriguing flair and finesse. 

It's the excitement of finding parallel universes of a sort.

One of my favorite bloggers, Rebecca Doulton just gave me a perfect example of this in her recent blog post, "Skeletons,"highlighting the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande watch.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande watch

Let me step back and give you some context for this watch design.  There is currently a discussion among watch industry executives, Vacheron Constantin's CEO Juan-CarlosTorres being one, that there is a new demand among women to have watches with more complications, yet retain a distinctive femininity.  Such designs go beyond the simple C ’s of hour and minute displays to incorporate other features such as  chronographs and moon phases, etc.

Do women want their time at hand to be more complicated?  Especially if they can get such functionality through the apps on their smartphones, PDA’s, or watch “wearables?" 

Perhaps the determining factor is how are the complications made contextually appealing ? Is it through ingenious simplicity? Is it through decorative beauty or surprise?  Is it through matching  the array of complications with the wearer's lifestyle or identity?

There is no doubt that using the skeleton watch conceit, i.e. where part of the mechanism of the watch is cut away to reveal the working parts, yet not foregoing interior decoration can be a masterful answer.  This  movement exposure also allows for the fretwork to be engraved, have an overlay of gems set in filigree, and/or otherwise be embellished. 

 In the Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande Watch, a serpentine ivy leaf trellis surrounds the skeletonized architecture of the movement. The individual ivy leaves are done in semi-precious, autumnal colored stones.   

And the watch’s namesake, Brocéliande?  It comes from the legendary forest in Brittany, the once Celtic region on the Northwestern Coast of France where the Arthurian Lady of the Lake, Vivian, is storied to have trapped Merlin inside a tree trunk.

For me, the watch’s leaf trellis floating like drapery above its movement’s exposed energy is reminiscent of the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne-Jones’ literary painting, The Beguiling of Merlin (1870–74) where the forest backdrop will forever engulf and house Merlin and his magic. 

The Beguiling of Merlin, from the Lady Lever Art Gallery  Collection, Port Sunlight, UK. Image from [Public Domain]

An art work anchored in the universe of  literature finding concurrent expression in Roger Dubuis' universe of  Brocéliande time. 

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