In 1987, Daniel Roth left Breguet to start his own manufacture. His grandfather and great grandfather had also been watchmakers in the La Chaux de Fonds region of Switzerland. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his own watch manufacture he created the Papillon. The Daniel Roth Papillon is a striking timepiece. It has the ability to appear round, rectangular and tonneau at the same time. It features jump hour and retrograde minutes’ complication as well as a patent for the “small automaton” of the minutes function. There are only 250 Papillon watches ever made. Mr Roth made 110 each in white and rose gold, and 30 in platinum. Like me, you will no doubt appreciate the Geneva stripes on the upper bridges and glorious perlage on the main plate. The guilloché dial is also a masterpiece (and creates the link between Daniel Roth and his past at Breguet). This week we had the pleasure of sitting down with @papillonwatchman, a collector based in Holland and owner of a stunning Rose gold Papillon.
When did you first get into watches?
I bought my first watch when I was 18 years. For years, I wanted a real watch, and at that time I saved enough to buy a Breitling. It was some years before that I was already interested in watches, always reading books and articles, and slowly getting ready to buy one myself.
What drew you to Daniel Roth as a brand?
2 years before I bought my Daniel Roth, a friend of mine bought one, and basically he introduced me to the brand. When I saw the existing models, when I felt them, I had a positive feeling about the brand. A year later I was ready to buy the first one, but when I had it on my wrist in the shop, strangely I begun to doubt. It was very light and I couldn’t feel it – and didn’t buy it. I decided to wait for a watch that could give me a better feeling.
Why the Daniel Roth Papillon?
I was on the airport in Netherlands, leaving for holidays and I bought a watch magazine to read on the plane. I didn’t know there was an article about Daniel Roth and that there was a picture of the new watch from Daniel Roth, the one to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand.
When I saw this picture, I just had the ultimate wow feeling, and knew this could be my watch. During these holidays, I looked several times at the magazine – and I couldn’t wait to go back home and to go to that watch dealer, who I knew would have it. I went the next day to that shop, and I knew this would be my first high end watch!
What is more important to you: Accuracy / Rarity / Resale value?
What is more important to you: Aesthetic / Brand heritage?
Can you tell us more about the movement in the Papilon?
The movement is a Daniel Roth Calibre DR113. Like many other movements from Daniel Roth, it is based on a Girard-Perregaux 3300 calibre. It is worth noting that Daniel Roth has added multiple layers to provide the jump hour function and the minute indicator mechanism. To be very honest, I don’t know that much about the movement. I am more interest in how the movement has been finished rather than its technicalities.
What is the case material?
How much wrist time does it get?
The last years not too much, maybe a couple of times a year, but just after I bought it, I used it as my daily watch.
What sort of day/event do you find yourself strapping it on?
A nice dinner, a nice watch-event, or even on a free day, walking in the city.
What (if anything) do others think when they see the Daniel Roth Papilon on your wrist?
If they see it, interested in watches or not, they see it is something special, but most don’t understand a watch like this.
What does it say about you do you think?
THAT I LOVE WATCHES!!!
Do you listen to the advice of anyone before buying?
I listen to the opinion of others about watches, but when I want to buy, I know that every 2 till 4 years I find something that gives me THE feeling. Of course with an extreme budget it would be different, but I can find a lot of watches great and beautiful that just aren’t for me.
What (if anything) have you got your eye on next?
I would love to have something with some carbon…
Can a collector ever be fully satisfied with his/her collection?
Let’s hope not. I think the fun in collecting is the search, to look around and to discover new brands. Furthermore, the tastes are changing with time. I have watches I really like now, but 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have bought them.
Other than Daniel Roth, which brands do you think are doing interesting work out there?
Well, there are coming more and more new and young interesting brands. Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin will always do interesting work. Cartier is getting serious, but brands from the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants) and other independents will always have a special place: small brands, one man with his ideas and his unique vision (and here I name Kari Voutilainen, the Gronefeld Brothers, de Bethune…)
What piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a collection?
Just begin with one watch that you really like, buy it for a fair price, but don’t buy to invest, or to keep it in a safe without wrist-time. Just enjoy it. I’m not sure that you begin with the idea to start a collection; I think it is a slow process. It has to start with a first one – and then comes one more, then the third, and without knowing it, you have a real addiction!
When collecting do you think its important to stick to a brand or a category (Patek/IWC or aviation/dive)
No, not at all. I own many brands, and very different sorts of watches, but when starting with the Daniel Roth Papillon – and the next ones – I knew that unconventional time display watches will always grab my attention.
Is the Daniel Roth Papillon a keeper or can you see it leaving your collection one day?
I think that it could. To be honest, I had not sold any of my watches, until recently. Now, for the first time ever, I’ve started to sell some watches I had for 20 years, because I don’t see myself wearing them ever again. There is just no connection with them anymore.
What would or could complete your collection?
Vacheron Constantin Mercator – Ulysse Nardin Freak – my ultimate grail watch, the Harry Winston Opus 5 (the one created with Felix Baumgartner from URWERK)