For women who love to show off their glamorous side – the newest Roger Dubuis Velvet Haute Couture watches are definitely for you. This creative Manufacture has pulled out all the stops in the making of this collection – which not only emphasizes feminine guile, but also stirs emotions in so many ways.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the new line and I have to say, I am enthralled. The pieces are stunning in many ways, and — even better – they are artistic masterpieces that combine a host of old-world crafts ranging from top-notch Geneva watchmaking to fabric making and more.
There are three watches within the Velvet Haute Couture series: Velvet Haute Couture Mink, Velvet Passementerie, and Velvet Corset. What differentiates them (in addition to different dials and diamond adornments) are the incredible artful straps – for which the brand turned to experts in a host of fields including corset making, fabric and thread weaving, and furriers.
My personal favorite is the Declercq Passementerie, which was designed in cooperation with Declercq Passementerie – a French “trimmings manufacture” founded in 1850 and specializing in the art of creating decorative fabrics, weaves, braids, fringes, tassels and more – all by hand. Speaking with the sixth-generation Jerome Declercq about the hand craftsmanship that goes into the making of curtain tie-backs that cost upwards of a thousand dollars each is, in itself, awe inspiring. Every thread is hand woven – with artistic works taking months to complete. Roger Dubuis naturally turned to this artist to create its fishnet-stocking-like straps that are at once entrancing and incredibly sexy.
For is Corset –inspired strap, the brand turned to Les Artisans Selliers, Swiss-based leather manufactures specializing in high-end goods and watch straps. For the corset design, each and every strap is made by hand according to old-world techniques and pure leather-crafted tradition.
Daniel Benjamin Genève creates the Mink straps for the Roger Dubuis Haute Couture Mink watches. This family dynasty furrier handcrafts chinchilla, sable, lynx, mink and other hairs, blending them with silk or cashmere for divine cocktail and evening dresses. What better Swiss-based firm to turn to when it comes to fur watchstraps? This watch is the high-diamond version with 4.34 carats of Top Wesselton diamonds on the bezel, lugs, case and dial. In addition to the delicate mink strap, it is sold with a shiny black alligator strap for women who want a choice.
Each of the three lines has its own appeal, but in the end it is the watch itself that captures the hearts of aficionados. Each 36m Velvet watch is a masterpiece of Nobel metals, diamonds and mechanics. The watches are crafted in gold and the in-house-made RD821 mechanical movement with 172 hand-finished components powers each. Each watch carries the Poincon d’Geneve — as Roger Dubuis is the only brand that is 100 percent Geneva Seal hallmarked. Just 88 pieces of each version will be made.
As to the low-down on pricing … well you can own the Velvet Haute Couture Passementerie (my favorite) for $46,000. The Velvet Haute Couture Corsetry retails for $53,000, and the shimmering Velvet Haute Couture Mink Fur sells for $100,500.