“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 Rothcase, 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.
The name Daniel Roth is often mentioned alongside the great independent watchmakers of the 20th
century: George Daniels, F.P. Journe, and Philippe Dufour. And indeed, he is a contemporary and sometimes collaborator of these great names in traditional watchmaking. Roth was born into a family of watchmakers in France and quickly began his training at no less than Audemars Piguet. He was quickly recruited by Breguet to lead the re-development of the brand in 1976, when he re-established the brand in Switzerland by opening its first workshop in Le Brassus. His influence in defining what Breguet would become over the next 12 years cannot be overstated. By 1988, Roth was one of the first watchmakers to leave the steady work of a major brand to begin an eponymous brand. Setting the bar right away to the highest of standards, the Master watchmaker started working on a wrist-worn Tourbillon housed in a unique double-ellipse case that would become a design signature of his brand. In 1988, a commission from Asprey of London for 25 hand-wound double-faced Tourbillon with special seconds display enabled him to fund the launch of his brand and vision.
In 1989, this distinctive Tourbillon would go into production as reference 2187/C187. Shortly after, Roth would introduce the C147, a two-register chronograph based on the legendary Lemania 2310, and a run of special rattrapante pieces using a Venus 179 caliber. This was a time, one must remember, that did not see hand-wound chronographs in the catalog of any of the major Swiss manufacturers, let alone any small brands. Roth would then go on to produce the C107 Ultra-Thin automatic, the C127 Retrograde, and the C117 Perpetual Calendar all in his now iconic elliptical case shape. The C117 Perpetual Calendar’s instantaneous jump mechanism was a direct collaboration with no one less than Philippe Dufour.
La Fabrique du Temps
Since 2014, La Fabrique du Temps produces complications for Louis Vuitton exclusively. The resulting work has led to the introduction of the first Poinçon de Genève Tourbillon the same year, the Escale Worldtimer capable of displaying 38 timezones at once, the Tambour Minute Repeater – comprised of 400 components – and the Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon with a case made from a single block of transparent sapphire. The creations of La Fabrique du Temps, under Navas and Barbasini’s guidance, have been twice awarded prizes by the GPHG while working with Louis Vuitton, and have contributed in the past to win numerous prizes for prestigious watchmakers.
Since 1854, Louis Vuitton has brought unique designs to the world, combining innovation with style, always aiming for the finest quality and preserving biodiversity. Today, the House remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, Louis Vuitton, who invented a genuine “Art of Travel”
through luggage, bags and accessories which were as creative as they were elegant and practical. Since then, audacity has shaped the story of Louis Vuitton. Faithful to its heritage, Louis Vuitton has opened its doors to architects, artists and designers across the years, all the while developing disciplines such as ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches, jewellery, and fragrance. These carefully created products are testament to Louis Vuitton’s commitment to fine craftsmanship.