You can search through long lists of watch brands that ceased to exist, but finding a sleeping beauty like this one seems impossible, at least to me. And mind you, it’s not one of the hundreds of brands that didn’t make it through the seventies, a.k.a. quartz crisis, but one that started shortly after, during the rebirth of mechanical watchmaking. Heck, this brand and especially the namesake of this brand, played an important role in this renaissance of high-end mechanical watchmaking in general! I’m talking about Daniel Roth, the man and the brand bearing his name. The brand is being resurrected, and the man is in close contact with the team at Louis Vuitton – La Fabrique du Temps to oversee how his brand is brought back.
Put everything in a period-correct setting – no AutoCAD or computers to do the calculations AND high-end watchmaking did not necessarily exist as such – and you understand why my admiration for the man Daniel Roth and the brand he founded is unparalleled. If you want to understand more about Daniel Roth, I can recommend our Complete Story of Daniel Roth, From Breguet to his Eponymous Brand and Jean-Daniel Nicolas.
Today we can show you the first images of the very first “new” Daniel Roth watch. It will be for sale as a subscription watch, twenty pieces to be precise. Twenty pieces of a yellow gold Daniel Roth Tourbillon, which looks at first glance as a re-creation of his first tourbillon wristwatch, reference C187.
At first glance, I said… The proportions of the case are precisely the same, so in that respect, it’s all true to the original one featuring that iconic double-ellipse case (also named ellipsocurvex). The lugs are soldered to the case, similar to the original C187. However, on the new one, they have been angled downward just a bit, but enough to make for a better, more comfortable fit on the wrist. The main plate, which is visible to the left and right of the tourbillon, features Geneva striping and that is new; you won’t find this on the original C187.
Another difference compared to the original C187 is the clous de Paris (hobnails in English) finishing on the plate around the dial. Pretty much every original Daniel Roth Tourbillon features straight-line guilloche, and examples with a clous de Paris pattern are rare; there’s a very early model made for Asprey and this one. The dial is produced in Kari Voutilainen’s workshop – not in his Comblémine dial manufacture. Although the dial retains the same markings as the original, the typography has been slightly modernized to give it contemporary finesse.
“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.
What you do not see is an entirely new movement. Yes, the positioning of the hours/minutes sub-dial at the upper half of the face, and the tourbillon at the lower half, is an exact copy of the original C187 Tourbillon. But the engine driving it is entirely new!
This new movement is calibre DR001, a manually wound movement that boasts a generous 80-hour power reserve, more than enough to keep it running for a weekend.
The most significant difference is that these first twenty pieces in yellow gold will come with a closed caseback, while the original featured a power reserve and a date indication on a ‘second dial’ on the backside of the watch. The new Tourbillon Souscription, or reference DR0011YG-01, showcases a closed caseback. The gentlemen responsible for resurrecting the Daniel Roth brand were clear: the movement inside has been finished according to the highest possible standards.
So for this first edition, the movement will remain hidden behind a yellow gold case back. The solid back bears the individual number of each watch, which is a tribute to early Daniel Roth timepieces that featured similarly-engraved solid backs. Back in the day, this (hiding a stupendously beautiful movement behind a closed case-back) happened more often than not, as the perception was that quality need not be seen to be known…
“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.”
The star of the newly conceived movement, calibre DR001 is, of course, its tourbillon regulator, which makes one revolution every minute, allowing it to function as a second indicator. The tourbillon cage comes with a three-armed seconds hand, each arm having a different length, each pointing at a different sector of the second’s scale.
FUN FACT is that the longest arm of the second hand is actually too long for the case, and thus requires a tiny groove in the inner wall of the case to allow it to pass through.
Before you start looking for an email or phone number to order one, these twenty pieces are sold out. If you’re set on owning a new Daniel Roth, you (and I) will have to wait for what comes next… For more details, please visit www.danielroth.com.