Roger Dubuis Savoir Faire workshop: What goes into each timepiece?
With its founder as a facilitator, Roger Dubuis showed us the amount of watchmaking expertise that goes into each of its timepiece during its Savoir Faire workshop.
In a bid to share the great lengths that the brand’s watchmakers go to in pursuit of creating the perfect timepiece, Roger Dubuis recently organised a special two-hour workshop for its customers and a group of senior journalists in Singapore, held at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands.
In this enlightening experiential ‘Savoir Faire’ workshop, this writer was able to fully comprehend why Roger Dubuis timepieces are often in favour by the most discerning watch collectors.
The mood in the room was electric as we all inspected the tools flown in to the venue for the workshop from Switzerland, such as magnifying spectacles, finger cots, tweezers, an electric micromotor, a champagne cork, a bowl of biosane and abrasive papers.
The fact that Roger Dubuis, the soft-spoken and humble legendary watchmaker who lent his name to the brand, was there to check each and every one of our work, comforted us as we delved into the workshop’s activities, which are divided to four sessions. Overall, we are to work on a small three-pointed component provided from Roger Dubuis.
Step 1: Dressage (Straightening)
The first task was the dressage, in which we had to remove any blemishes made by machines during manufacturing and create fine line patterns on the component’s face instead. We placed the component on top of a champagne cork and as instructed, we dragged the cork in a straight line from the top to the bottom of the paper with the component wedged between the cork and paper.
Step 2: Poli-plat (Black polishing)
Next was the poli-plat (also known as black polishing), where we had to dip the component into the bowl of biosane and rub a side of the component in an 8-shaped movement on abrasive paper to evenly polish it to a mirror-like effect. Sounds simple, right? Yes it is, but a word of caution: the repetition required to finish this task is not for the impatient souls!
Step 3: Detourage (side polishing)
This activity required plenty of concentration and focus; using the micromotor, we are to create a matte and shiny side each to the component. As we jab helplessly at the miniscule component with the micromotor point with our trembling hands, Roger Dubuis wandered amongst our workbenches, giving us tips and advice on how to do it. Watching how he expertly took over this activity from most of us who were fumbling along, almost of all of us were awash with a sense of respect for this seasoned veteran in the industry and how precise and detailed he was in his work.
Step 4: Anglage (chamfering)
To give a shiny polished aspect to each edge of the component, we had to dip the micromotor’s felt point in abrasive paste and work on the edges of the component. The activity required good hand-eye coordination; this writer had to take a break in between chamfering each side of the component to rest her eyes before she could finish the entire activity. All in all, we all left the workshop enlightened and humbled by the experience. Without a doubt, Roger Dubuis proved to us that it is truly a brand that has dedicated itself to perfect the art of watchmaking by inviting us to participate in this eye-opening workshop.
(Photos: Roger Dubuis)