Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta are two names that resonate with watch fans. The first was a watchmaker who made Breguet great again and later started a brand of his own. The second gave the world some of its most iconic watch designs. Both names are now on the LVMH payroll, so to speak. In its ambition to become a stronger player in the high-end watch market, the largest luxury group in the world has resurrected both the Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta brands, which it already had in its possession when it acquired Bvlgari. This already led to some interesting and incredibly expensive creations, and more are on the way. In the back catalogs of these brands, however, are affordable alternatives for future (unobtainable) watches, and they’re waiting to be picked up at accessible prices all over the world. It’s a “shop the look” kind of thing.

First, let’s have a quick refresher course on Daniel Roth. Roth is a watchmaker who worked for Jaeger-LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet before joining Breguet in 1975. After the Chaumet brothers made a mess of Breguet and Investcorp stepped in, Roth stepped out. Then, in 1989, he started the brand bearing his name with the help of an investor from Zürich. Roth created many watches with his now-famous double-ellipse case design. He also received much praise for his Tourbillon C187, an elegant 35 × 38mm gold watch with a stunning hand-finished one-minute tourbillon and both a date and power reserve indicator on the back. Singaporean retailer The Hour Glass took a majority stake in Daniel Roth in 1995, and five years later, Bvlgari acquired the brand and incorporated it into its line of high-end watches.

Daniel Roth

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Shop the look: finding alternatives for recent Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta watches

In 2011, LVMH acquired Bvlgari, and only recently, the group announced that Daniel Roth would reappear as a standalone brand (within LVMH, of course). It resulted in the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription, which debuted in March of last year. It is a stunning watch, a costly watch (CHF 140,000 excluding VAT), and a “very Daniel Roth” kind of watch. By the way, if you want a “real” contemporary Daniel Roth watch, this is not the watch for you. Instead, you will have to take a look at Jean Daniel Nicolas, the brand that’s a mash-up of the watchmaker’s name, his wife’s, and his son’s. Roth has a small atelier in the Vallée de Joux where he creates complicated, hand-made watches that are very recognizable as his creations.

Daniel Roth

Bvlgari Daniel Roth Petite Seconde

What if you like the Daniel Roth design language but don’t have €150,000 to spare on a yellow gold tourbillon watch? There’s no need to despair. Just take a look at the Bvlgari Daniel Roth Petite Seconde (ref. BRRP44C14GLP) on Chrono24.

Okay, it doesn’t feature a tourbillon, but with its neat propeller-shaped small seconds hand, typical case in rose gold, and beautifully finished, hand-wound caliber DR206 (a modified Frédéric Piguet movement), it does tick a lot of boxes. Even better, this particular example is unworn. Plus, the price will knock your socks off. This little gem — okay, not so little because it measures 44 × 41mm — is located in Japan for a price of roughly €10,660 (¥1,680,000).

Daniel Roth

Daniel Roth Masters Chronograph (ref. S247) — Image: S.Song Watches

El Primero inside

If you prefer a dial without the Bvlgari branding, the Daniel Roth Masters Chronograph (ref. S247) might be the watch you want. There are quite a few available on Chrono24 in the €10,000–16,000 range. This watch stems from the 1990s when The Hour Glass was running the show, and the chronograph has something very interesting inside — the Zenith El Primero caliber.

The case of the Masters Chronograph is 41mm long and 38mm wide, making it neither too small nor too big. And it’s the shape and design of the signature Ellipsocurvex that makes this watch. There are many dial variations. Black is the safe choice, blue the bold, and salmon the traditional one. The delicate dial pattern and finely shaped hands are details that complement the classic yet distinct Daniel Roth style.

Gérald Genta

Post-2000 Bvlgari Gérald Genta Gefica Bi-Retro in bronze — Image: WatchBox

The Gefica Safari is on the prowl

When it comes to watch design, Gérald Genta is way more famous than Daniel Roth. Mr. Genta designed some of the most famous watches in history, and, in 1969, he also started his eponymous brand. In the 1980s he made a special licensing deal with the Walt Disney Company, which made Mickey Mouse and his friends appear on the dials of his creations. In the same era, Genta also introduced what was quite possibly the first-ever bronze wristwatch, the Gefica Safari. This luxurious adventure watch made for big-game hunters debuted at Baselworld in 1984 and was ahead of its time. It featured a thematic and “practical” compass on the folding clasp and a quartz movement inside, offering the time, day and date, a 24-hour indicator, and moon phases on a slate or tortoise-shell dial.

The Arena is another interesting and typical Genta creation. Displaying retrograde minutes and jumping hours, it appeared first in 1996, and it was one of the first of its kind along with the Chronoswiss Delphis. The name Arena is a reference to the architecture of ancient arenas, and Mickey Mouse also made his appearance on many versions of the watch. When Bvlgari acquired the Genta brand in 2000, the Arena stayed in production. Under LVMH ownership, both Mickey and the retrograde minutes and jumping hours are still alive and kicking. Gérald Genta is not a separate brand (yet) but is still managed by Bvlgari. The Roman brand started putting Gérald Genta watches back in the spotlight with several new creations based on familiar themes.

2020 Bvlgari Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retrograde Sport

Mickey comes with a premium

There’s the 2020 Arena Bi-Retrograde Sport, for instance, which debuted with a €15,000 price. It has a fully brushed titanium 43 × 12mm case with a smooth, rounded bezel, straight lugs, and a distinct coin-edge profile. The colorway, with its black, gray, and yellow hues, is bold and sporty. And Mickey is also back. The 2021 Mickey Mouse Watch with retrograde minutes and digital jumping hours was a limited edition of 150 pieces. They were gone pretty quickly, and if you want one now, you will have to pay an extra €10K on top of the original retail price of €16,500.

Gérald Genta

2021 Gérald Genta Mickey Mouse

Shop the look: Gérald Genta

There’s also a Gérald Genta Mickey Mouse that is truly unobtainable. That’s the Mickey Mouse Minute Repeater made for Only Watch 2023, the biennial charity auction that, because of controversy, is postponed to an undisclosed date later this year. Whether this complicated creation will ever be auctioned remains to be seen, but despite the uncertainty, it might reveal LVMH’s strategy for the Gérald Genta brand. And that is similar to that of Daniel Roth — high-horology creations produced with the help of La Fabrique du Temps, Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking manufacture.

Gérald Genta

Bvlgari Gérald Genta Gefica Bi-Retro — Image: WatchBox

If you want to shop the look with or without Mickey Mouse, just type in “Gérald Genta” on Chrono24, and way over 300 watches with very distinct designs pop up. There’s a legendary Gefica Bi-Retro Safari up for grabs for “just” €7,840, for instance. That’s a post-2000, redesigned Gefica Safari in a 46.5mm case that debuted under the wings of Bvlgari. It has lots of bronze that will create a nice camouflage shade over time but won’t stain the skin thanks to the titanium case back.

And if the bronze is just too much, there’s also a plethora of Arena Bi-Retro models for sale all over the world. The Arena Bi-Retro is a bit less extravagant than the bronze Gefica, but it is by no means a wallflower.


Gérald Genta Arena Bi-Retro with retrograde minutes and date and jumping hours — Image: WatchBox

The alternative is the original

In the case of Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta, the original creations are not the current ones but the watches from the past. They’re from the time when the brands’ name givers were actually involved in creating timepieces with a unique signature. And even in the case of the now very successful Bvlgari Octo creations, if you want an “OG” Octo, a “GG” Octo is the way to go. The contemporary Octo stems directly from a Genta design introduced in the 1980s. Anyway, with LVMH ambitiously active in the world of horology, expect to see more Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta timepieces being put in the spotlight. That could mean a resurgence of bi-retrograde jumping-hour watches and timepieces with an Ellipsocurvex-style case. Luckily, you can shop the look for relatively affordable sums. Right now, the market is quite literally screaming, “Don’t delay; purchase today! Crazy watches for crazy prices!”