Daniel Roth Presents Its New Tourbillon Souscription Watch
DANIEL ROTH was a storied independent watch brand revered by collectors during its first golden age in the early nineties. Characterised by artisanal quality and a refined aesthetic, the brand is undergoing a renaissance led by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.
Staying true to its founding spirit, DANIEL ROTH is today on the cusp of a second golden age that pays tribute to the achievements of Daniel Roth the watchmaker. The revival of DANIEL ROTH begins with the Tourbillon Souscription, a meticulous homage to the brand’s original tourbillon wristwatch of 1988, a landmark watch that is now being reimagined by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.
Established in 1988 by the talented watchmaker of the same name, DANIEL ROTH was a pioneer of independent watchmaking. Before the genre was even recognised as historically important, independent watchmaking was defined by DANIEL ROTH, which illuminated the path for future generations of watchmakers by developing high complications that embodied traditional craftsmanship.
Prior to founding his own brand, Mr Daniel Roth was instrumental in creating the modern-day Breguet marque. The final and most important project Mr Roth completed at Breguet was the brand’s first-ever tourbillon wristwatch. So, with elegant historical symmetry, the inaugural creation of his own brand was a tourbillon, the reference 2187/C187 with double faces of 1988.
Perhaps the defining complication in haute horlogerie at the time, the tourbillon was then an exceptionally rare mechanism, especially in wristwatches. By making its debut with a tourbillon, DANIEL ROTH made history.
But more significant than the complication was the singular DANIEL ROTH aesthetic. While the design codes of the brand undoubtedly paid tribute to traditional haute horlogerie, the aesthetic was unique due to the original case design known as the double-ellipse.
Still an instantly recognisable signature of the brand after 35 years, the double-ellipse is a cross between a circle and a square, an ingenious design but one rooted in mechanical considerations: the case serves as the perfect canvas for a tourbillon because it accommodates an off-centre dial while highlighting the one-minute tourbillon.
Thirty-five years after the brand was first founded, DANIEL ROTH is once again making its debut, and once again with a tourbillon. Paying homage to the original design of 1988, the Tourbillon Souscription encapsulates the values of the DANIEL ROTH brand that have remained unchanged over the decades.
The brand’s approach is just as it was in 1988 - tapping on the skills of the finest watchmakers, constructors, and specialist suppliers to create artisanal timepieces. A small team of talented craftsmen and women at La Fabrique du Temps will continue the DANIEL ROTH legacy, holding fast to the brand’s mantra since its foundation: La Montre Objet d’Art.
Executed in traditional yellow gold, a metal exclusive to this edition, the case of the Tourbillon Souscription is naturally a double ellipse. To maximise the elegance of the Tourbillon Souscription, it has only a single face on the front, resulting in a case that is a mere 9.2 mm high.
The double-ellipse case retains the proportions of the original, but with subtle refinements. The lugs are still carefully soldered by hand to the case middle, but they have been slightly reshaped to create an elegant downward arch, improving the ergonomics of the iconic case.
Like the case, the dial is a tribute to the brand’s history, but gently refined. Formed from a plate of solid yellow gold, the dial is decorated with Clous de Paris guilloche just as the original was.
In a nod to contemporary independent watchmaking – an industry made possible by DANIEL ROTH’s pioneering approach - the dial is produced in the mountain-top workshop of Kari Voutilainen, one of the leading independent watchmakers of today. Although the dial retains the same markings as on the original, the typography has been streamlined to give it contemporary finesse.
Under the dial is the in-house manufacture calibre DR001 conceived exclusively for DANIEL ROTH. The DR001 is manufactured entirely by La Fabrique du Temps, the Geneva workshop founded by Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini – both master watchmakers who will personally oversee the creation of each DANIEL ROTH timepiece.
“Our vision for DANIEL ROTH is to respect the brand’s history while also leveraging some of the concepts and savoir faire that Enrico and myself have accumulated in our careers,” says Michel Navas.
“Respecting the origins of the brand and the craftsmanship of its foundational pieces is especially important for us, since we are both long-time friends of Daniel,” adds Enrico Barbasini, “Many of us look up to Daniel as an important figure in the industry who spearheaded contemporary independent watchmaking.”
This respect for the brand’s history is embodied in the DR001, an in-house manufacture movement conceived especially for the Tourbillon Souscription – the same approach that will be applied to all future DANIEL ROTH calibres. Carefully constructed to fit seamlessly in the DANIEL ROTH case, the DR001 is a form movement that takes the shape of a double ellipse, an uncommon feat considering round movements are the industry norm.
Respect for the brand’s artisanal roots is equally evident in the decoration of the DR001. The movement is entirely finished by hand, right down to the mirror-finished screw heads. Amongst its decorative flourishes are the bridge for the wheel driving the tourbillon in black-polished steel and the mirror-finished winding click.
Attention has been paid not merely to the movement’s aesthetics, but also its practicality. The DR001 is manually wound and boasts a generous 80-hour power reserve, more than enough to keep it running for a weekend.
Despite its classical construction and lavish decoration, the DR001 is discreet in its accomplishments – the calibre is concealed behind a solid back bearing the individual number of each watch, a tribute to early DANIEL ROTH timepieces that featured similarly-engraved solid backs. Then and now this reflects the simple fact that quality need not be seen to be known.
The centrepiece of the DR001 is its tourbillon regulator. Devised to capture the singular style of the original, the tourbillon makes one revolution every minute, allowing it to function as a seconds hand. As a result, the tourbillon cage carries a three-armed, heat-blued seconds hand that is read in tandem with a tri-sectioned seconds scale on the dial – a quirky detail found on all original DANIEL ROTH tourbillon watches.
As in the 1988 original, the tourbillon is accompanied by a detail apparent only to the owner. Because the arms of the seconds hand vary to match each section of the seconds scale, the longest arm of the seconds hand necessitates a tiny groove in the inner wall of the case to allow it to pass through.
Continuing the philosophy of unobtrusive refinement exhibited in the case and dial, the tourbillon boasts discreet enhancements. It is framed on either side with plates decorated with Côtes de Genève, while the plate below the tourbillon is finely frosted.
Limited to just 20 watches, the Tourbillon Souscription takes after the 1988 original in not just concept and execution but also availability. The Tourbillon Souscription will be sold on a souscription basis – patrons of DANIEL ROTH will “subscribe” with a deposit upon order confirmation, with the balance due upon delivery in early 2024. Priced at CHF140,000 before taxes, the Tourbillon Souscription will be available only at select retail partners. Just as the first DANIEL ROTH tourbillon wristwatch of 1988 gave birth to subsequent variations and additional complications, the Tourbillon Souscription is merely the opening act in the revival of DANIEL ROTH.
Technical Specifications - Tourbillon Souscription
• DR001 Calibre: mechanical movement with manual winding developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton
• Tourbillon 1-minute
• Thickness: 4,6mm
• 206 components
• 80 hours of power reserve
• 21,600 oscillations per hour – 3Hz
• 19 jewels
• Tourbillon: flat spring
• Tourbillon’s cage: 460mg
• 18K yellow gold 3N
• Dimensions: 38,6 x 35,5mm
• Thickness: 9,2mm
• Flat anti-reflection sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 30m
• Lug width: 20mm
• 18k Yellow gold 3N with Clous de Paris guilloche
• DANIEL ROTH and watch individual number engravings
• Côtes de Genève on side plates of the Tourbillon
• Plate underneath the Tourbillon: frosted
• Brown calfskin leather
• 18K Yellow gold 3N tang-type buckle
• Approx. 77,5g