As I wrote about a few weeks back, Daniel Roth was a pioneer in the independent movement and made what in my opinion was, some of the most beautiful watches ever created. In fact, personally, I first took notice of early Roth pieces in 2020 amidst lockdown when we had more time at home and not much else to do. Browsing the web, there was not much information at the time about Daniel Roth and there was no separation between his original pieces, and the later, lower quality pieces after the company had been taken over. Bar a few Italian articles that I had to translate, I slowly discovered that the distinction between the original era and was smitten immediately.
The chronograph, retrograde, perpetual calendar, self-winding ultrathin, manual winding midsize, and of course, the tourbillon made up his core original offerings. These were made in incredibly low numbers and despite this, they were surprisingly readily available on Chrono24. Snapping up a few hastily, I admittedly did it with a bit of anxiety not knowing what to expect. Two weeks later, when a retrograde and tourbillon popped up in my mailbox and I opened it up, I immediately knew, that these watches were something special.
Since then, my inclinations have been right and what used to be forgotten and not wanted has now become one of the hottest Neo-vintage brands around. Slowly but surely people started realising that his early pieces were completely different watches to the more common later Roth’s that we thought they were. I am sure it was this growing appreciation and enthusiasm for the brand by collectors that sparked what we see here today, the Daniel Roth Revival, no less a Tourbillon, which was the Roth’s first piece 35 years ago.
LVMH, who owns Bulgari- had the rights to the Roth name and as a result, decided to do something with it. While Daniel has no involvement in the brand anymore, he seems to be on board with the concept and it is nice to see the return of his name, even if it is only as a tribute.
The Tourbillon Souscription will be made in a 20-piece edition and is a near replica of the original in dimensions, dial and look of the Tourbillon. Featuring Roth’s signature double ellipse case, it now features a champagne dial as supposed to the grey gold dial we are used to. Interestingly, the earliest Roth pieces comes with a Clous de Paris Guilloche before he eventually moved on to his signature ‘ligne’ Guilloche style so to see this detail on the new piece is a nice touch. Made by Voutilainen’s workshop, the Guilloche is fantastic and defined and I am sure in person will reflect fantastically.
While the watch looks identical to the original, the movement itself is new and not a Lemania based calibre like the original. Manufactured by La Fabrique du Temps who produced movements for Laurent Ferrier, the DR001 is an entirely new calibre. I do think this shows seriousness about the brand’s revival. One thing I do have to mention though, is that it comes with a solid case back rather than the original’s double face that showed the date and power reserve. That being said, Roth did produce single face examples in the past so it is not entirely incorrect to do so now. Regardless, I am a bit disappointed about this as I am an ardent fan of the double face.
There has been a lot of conversation about how a direct recreation of the original is somewhat lazy, the price point being extremely high and also how the font of the revival pales in comparison to the original but I am still on the fence. To me, this watch looks fantastic- the champagne dial and gold case will be a winner and it is without a doubt only the beginning for the brand. The 140,000 CHF price point has to be considered relative to the proprietary Tourbillon movement and also to the fact that back in the 90’s, Daniel was already charging 120,000 CHF already. The font, is idiosyncratic in my opinion, but I am in two minds whether I like this quirk or whether it is part of the ‘blanding’ design trend that has been plaguing fashion trends.
To judge immediately seems a bit premature and only after a few releases will I be able to decided my opinion. That being said, if I were to have the original next to this example, I know which one I’m choosing.
The Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription is priced at CHF140,000. For more information on this new piece, visit danielroth.com.