When we think of the big independents today, names such as Voutilainen, Dufour, Journe, and Smith come to mind. In fact, there is such a huge appreciation for independents today that it has become somewhat mainstream within collecting circles to own at least one watch from an independent brand.
Before all this hype though, there was Daniel Roth. To be honest, in my opinion, the story of the Daniel Roth brand is a tragic one that could’ve worked out very differently.
To add some context, Daniel Roth was one of the most talented watchmakers of his generation and was responsible for many things you see today but do not realize. For one, he was a leading figure that established the design language of Breguet dress watches that you see today. In the ’60s and ’70s, Breguet had become a below-average watch brand with no future, until they were acquired by Chaumet, who in turn brought in Daniel Roth to lead the helm. The reference 3130, with its guilloche dial and its straight lugged case, set the tone for Breguet and was created by Daniel Roth. Moreover, he played a significant role in producing complicated movements for Lemania who I may remind you up until recently still provided the likes of Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin with chronograph calibres. After having his brand to Bulgari in 2000, not much was heard about Daniel Roth himself, other than the fact that he is still making 2 to 3 watches a year out of his humble little workshop in his home in Le Sentier.
However, this year this most sought-after independent watchmaker will be run as an independent brand, with guidance and incubation from La Fabrique Du Temps Louis Vuitton, as of February 2023.
Daniel Roth, one of the defining independent watch brands of the 20th century, will be henceforth operated as an independent brand under La Fabrique du Temps umbrella, with personal incubation from two of the world’s leading watchmakers, Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini.
With product design and development currently underway for public reveal in a few months, DANIEL ROTH will aim to capture the mechanical ingenuity and contemporary classicism that defined Roth’s work in its earliest days. From the period of 1988 through 1994, the independent brand produced some of the most remarkable and collectible wristwatches in the world, including its original 25-piece commission of a hand-wound tourbillon for London retailer William Asprey in addition to the most finely finished hand-wound chronographs and perpetual calendars in the world, all in its signature ellipsocurvex case shape. By 1994, the DANIEL ROTH brand was acquired by the controlling family of iconic retailer The Hour Glass, then by Bulgari in 2000. As Bulgari has now decided to focus its production capacities on its own collections, in 2023 DANIEL ROTH is revived as an independent brand with the help and guidance of the minds behind La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.
Upon its revival later this year, DANIEL ROTH will produce no more than a few hundred pieces per year, recapturing its original mantra of “La Montre Objet d’Art”. More details will be shared in the second half of 2023, including the introduction of its first watch – produced in a 20-piece “souscription” series. We look forward to this new chapter of the Daniel Roth brand.
Follow the Revival on danielroth.com