Roger Dubuis, Namesake of $60,000 Swiss Watch Brand, Dies at 79

  • Former Patek Philippe designer known for his unique designs
  • Timepieces bear Seal of Geneva, difficult accolade to obtain

Roger Dubuis

Source: Manufacture Roger Dubuis SA

Roger Dubuis, who founded one of recent history’s most prestigious Swiss watch brands, known for its Excalibur model and “skeleton” timepieces that reveal the intricate mechanisms inside them, has died. He was 79 years old.

Dubuis died Saturday, the Geneva-based watchmaker said in a statement, without giving a cause of death.

The watchmaker spent 14 years at Patek Philippe developing complicated timepieces before teaming up with Franck Muller designer Carlos Dias to start his own brand in 1995. Roger Dubuis’s products -- whose prices range from about $12,000 to $1 million -- quickly became known for innovative watch design. He also attracted celebrity customers including actors Sylvester Stallone and Gerard Butler.

Dubuis timepieces bear the Seal of Geneva, one of the industry’s most difficult classifications to obtain. It requires that the producer decorate and polish every component of the timepiece, including the screws. Some elements are smaller than a millionth of a meter, requiring microscopes to check their quality, and some models have more than 400 parts.

Richemont bought a 60 percent stake in the company in 2008, and later acquired the remainder.

“We’re all committed to keep his unique spirit within our brand,” the company said.

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