The legend of King Arthur remains as compelling as ever. The story of the once and future king of Britain and his knights blur the line between fact and folklore, between those who are vigorous defenders of his place in history and those who view him as a mythic figure.
As a fitting tribute to a man whose grave is said to have read, "Here lies Arthur, king once, and king to be," Roger Dubuis created a timepiece featuring the icons of the legend.
The Excalibur Table Ronde is a special edition of Roger Dubuis's Excalibur line, a collection that consists mostly of skeletonized watches, tourbillions, and chronographs. While the collection takes its name from Arthur's fabled sword, it had never before drawn from the Arthurian mythos directly. But all of that changed when the Table Ronde was revealed in 2013.
In a stark departure from the Excalibur line's modern aesthetics, the Table Ronde looks decidedly, well, medieval. The dial is a miniature replica of an existing Round Table design found in Winchester Castle in England. The real table, if there ever was one, has never actually been found, but a tabletop was commissioned by King Henry VIII in the sixteenth century and is decorated with the Tudor rose at the center, the heraldic symbol of English royalty. The dial's enameling recreates Henry VIII's table in detail and, around the legendary piece of furniture, 12 knights made of rose gold take the place of hour markers.
The figures are sculpted in gold, and a closer look reveals that each one differs from all the others, with their individual names written in Old English at their place on the Round Table. The knights' swords, which are cast by hand, point towards the table's center and depict the scene where the knights swore fealty to their liege. The minute and hour hands are shorter than usual to accommodate the miniatures.
Though the timepiece displays the artistry of Roger Dubuis, its mechanism is made up of the brand's latest version of the RD822 automatic caliber. Both the watch and the movement are stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva, a seal that is granted only to pieces that have met the watchmaking city's standards.
Roger Dubuis has been known to delve into the realm of fantasy with the Excalibur series, but the rand's philosophy as well as its other works also displays a touch of whimsy.
Being a fairly young rand (established in 1995), Roger Dubuis has distinguished itself in an industry where heritage matters. The Excalibur Table Ronde cements the reputation.
This story firs appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 18 2014.