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Roger Dubuis: Being a game changer in luxury watches and building a fearless culture.

Luxury & Lifestyle 27-07-2020

Worn and favoured by Michael Jordon to partnering with Lamborghini, Roger Dubuis is a game changer in the luxury watch world. CEO Nicola Andreatta speaks to Nima Suchak about the bold and fearless culture of the Roger Dubuis brand.

“We’re not for everybody. We like this polarising effect of Roger Dubuis. You either love it or hate it.”

Roger Dubuis’ CEO Nicola Andreatta comes from a heritage of watchmaking spanning three generations. Like Roger Dubuis, however, a love of doing things differently has been a key factor in his successful career in luxury.

AWM: What comes to mind when you think of the philosophy of Roger Dubuis?

Nicola: The best word to define Roger Dubuis is excess – always going beyond. This perfectly describes what we are. We associated a few words – pleasure, madness, freedom. These, along with excess, define what Roger Dubuis is about. Our brand message is constantly evolving to reflect our belief in always exceeding and going beyond the possibilities of human beings, of watchmaking. Our clients are in love with living life to the fullest. They are hedonists, who pamper themselves, who like toys.

AWM: So how does the brand balance exclusivity and visibility?

Nicola: We’re not for everybody. It would be very complicated for us to be a mass brand and at the same time be at the top. Very few brands can match the technology and craftsmanship that we offer at Roger Dubuis. That has to do with the exclusivity we want to keep.

AWM: Both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wore Roger Dubuis in The Last Dance. How did these timepieces appear on the documentary, and what does this endorsement mean for the brand?

Nicola: We don’t know how that happened (laughs). I’m a great basketball fan. I’ve been playing basketball for almost 39 years, almost professionally. I’ve followed the NBA and the Chicago Bulls in particular…Michael Jordan was my idol. When you work in watches the first thing you look at when you meet someone is what they have on their wrist. I was watching the first episode of The Last Dance and immediately saw the watch on Michael Jordan’s wrist. It was one of the first things you notice…the house, a cigar, and Roger Dubuis. I was like “Come on, that’s us!”. Then Scottie was seen wearing an even better piece! It was incredible. Michael Jordan has very particular taste. He doesn’t like streamlined pieces that everybody might like. He has very interesting timepieces from a number of brands including a couple from Roger Dubuis. We are extremely proud of this. It’s not a normal endorsement, but someone who loves what we do.

AWM: Can you tell us about the partnership with Lamborghini? What makes this relationship work so well?

Nicola: Always happy to talk about our Italian friends! Lamborghinis are supercars, but like Roger Dubuis, they’re not for everyone. You need a certain attitude and spirit to drive one, to own one, and to believe in Lamborghini. That’s why our partnership works so well. We share the same values…living larger than life. Lamborghinis are powerful cars, very technologically advanced, and they work incredibly with mechanics. We do the same with watches. We are at the pinnacle of the world of watchmaking because we master all the complications but want to represent this world in a different way. Our heritage is the future. We don’t stand still, we keep evolving.

AWM: How was the experience of revealing new pieces digitally at Watches & Wonders?

Nicola: This year showed how we can host a fair and connect to stakeholders in a different way. We could not have done it physically in Geneva, but we did all we could to make it a wonderful experience.

Saying that, I will always be in favour of a physical gathering. Specifically for us, we don’t sell a commodity. We are very exclusive, and we have a limited presence. We need to manage this duality of being visible and at the same time being very exclusive. So it’s always better to meet our clients because we want them to experience our brand.

AWM: What was the response to the two new pieces, Excalibur Twofold and Excalibur Diabolus in Machina?

Nicola: We wanted to show what we are able to do at Watches & Wonders, and we did it with these two incredible timepieces. Excalibur Twofold showcased three world premieres – a new ultra-white composite material, luminescent angles on the caliber, and luminescent rubber on the strap.

The Excalibur Diabolus in Machina is a one-of-a-kind futuristic interpretation of our iconic minute repeater concept. We worked for three years to bring out this single timepiece. So as you can imagine, very few people around the world will be allowed to see it, touch it, and experience the sound.

Both were incredibly well received. We were not expecting this kind of feedback and appreciation for what we did. Twofold only made eight pieces and it sold out. At €275,000 each we couldn’t expect a better result than that.

AWM: Where do you see the brand in the next five years?

Nicola: It is time for us to shine. I’m very optimistic in terms of what we’re going to see in some markets after all this will be over. People want to live. Our clients will keep travelling, keep enjoying their lives, keep experiencing crazy things and emotions. And we are there for them…to give them something to have fun with…the best of the best in watchmaking, and a different world where they can live, enjoy and experience with us. I believe Roger Dubuis will accelerate in terms of connecting with our tribe and with our clients. Being true to our own DNA, the quest for having fun will be one of the emerging things in the future. So get closer to us, because we have fun.

Images courtesy of
Roger Dubuis 
Paul Wallace
Jon Olsson Delér 

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