Highsnobiety

When you think Hajime Sorayama, you don't think "subtlety." The 75-year-old artist is known for big, brassy pin-ups rendered in silver metal and gold trim, which is why I'm surprised that his signature sexy robots inspired such a suave Roger Dubuis watch.

And it's not like Roger Dubuis is a brand known for low-key flexes: this is a company that made a wearable Lamborghini homage. But the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier, the latest in the watchmaker's Urban Culture Tribe offering, is pleasantly understated — for a Dubuis, that is.

Roger Dubuis has previously enlisted artists like Dr. Woo and French graffiter Gully to imagine their own timepieces and Sorayama, being a similarly youth culture figure, is a natural follow-up.

The core of Sorayama's timepiece is the Roger Dubois Excalibur Monobalancier, which underwent some subtle changes in early 2022. Up close, you can see that the movement boasts emboldened depth, a neat balance to the high-sheen curves of the polished grade 5 titanium that Sorayama selected as the watch's primary component.

Dubuis also tasked its craftspeople to boost the flash inside the watch, rendering everything — including the unique micro-rotor designed by Sorayama himself — in glistening silver and gold.

What results is a futuristic timepiece as deliriously sleek as Sorayama's signature robots (or "daughters," as he worryingly calls them).

In fact, that reminds me that I'm always amazed at how easily Sorayama navigates a post-#MeToo landscape, despite the lurid male gaze applied when rendering his strikingly realistic illustrations of said cyborg "daughters." A feminist reading might complicate things but Sorayama's work seems to escape mainstream critique.

But I have no well-considered take on this, myself. Plus, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier watch is bereft of any typical Sorayama graphic flair, save for his stylized signature at the bottom of the face.

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Even if you have the deep pockets necessary to consider purchasing one of these, good luck. The regular Roger Dubuis Excalibur Monobalancier watches are priced upwards of $50k apiece and they're usually hard enough to come by.

The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Sorayama Monobalancier is limited to only 28 watches, made available to Sorayama's native Japan first.

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