When a replica watch manufacturer establishes itself as one of the leaders of the industry, it develops a certain brand identity to uphold. Enthusiasts come to expect particular qualities from its Roger Dubuis La Monégasque Replica, and drastic deviations from what’s expected can be the subject of harsh scrutiny. Occasionally, then, it comes as a breath of fresh air to look further afield to lesser-known brands, where comparative obscurity gives these replica watchmakers the freedom to create more daring concepts.
Roger Dubuis is such a brand. Although owned by Richemont since 2008, the manufacture has maintained its eye-catching and often unconventional design aesthetic, while benefitting from the substantial expertise of the luxury powerhouse. Based in Geneva, the manufacture has made it a mission to stand out from the ranks of other boutique replica watchmakers by focussing on the extremely fine quality of its pieces. So much so, in fact, that since 2012, all Roger Dubuis mens replica timepieces boast the Poinçon de Genève—of which the La Monégasque RDDBMG0001 is one.
For a little bit of background, the Poinçon de Genève (or Geneva Seal) is awarded to just a fraction of replica watches produced in Switzerland each year—according to Robert Dubuis, only 24,000 of over 20 million. Introduced in 1886, it’s a prestigious certification; a guarantee of superior craftsmanship and proof that a replica watch’s movement has been assembled, adjusted, cased up and finished in the Canton of Geneva.
In order the get the RD821 movement that powers the La Monégasque certified for the Geneva Seal, Roger Dubuis had to send design drawings, internal movement and case components, as well as a fully assembled calibre to be approved by Timelab, the Geneva laboratory of horology and micro-engineering. The brand is then subject to audit at any time to ensure that all replica watches produced in the series meet the standards of the ‘master copy’. It’s a time-consuming process, but worth it for the brand to be able to make claim to such illustrious credentials.
Stylistically, too, nothing has been spared by Roger Dubuis to craft the La Monégasque to the highest standards of Swiss design. The time is displayed by elegantly tapered hands that sweep across a dark grey dial, reminiscent of the roulette wheels found at the Monte-Carlo casino in Monaco. The unusual case shape, meanwhile, hints at the brand’s often more offbeat style. Through the crystal display caseback you can make out the replica watch’s crowning glory—the mark of the Poinçon de Genève.
As you might expect, this kind of quality comes at a price—if you pay the RRP, at least. Yet another benefit of boutique brands is the saving you can often make when buying pre-owned. Brand new, this La Monegasque comes in at a fairly sizeable £12k. Bought previously, however, this exceptionally crafted timepiece will only set you back a far more wallet-friendly £5k, proving that sometimes it just makes sense to go a little left field.