Just a few weeks ago, Louis Vuitton presented its high-end watchmaking pieces at one of the brand’s chalets in Courchevel, France. But there was also another big announcement afoot. In the presence of Louis Vuitton’s head of watchmaking Jean Arnault and master watchmakers Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini, the plans for the resurrection of the Daniel Roth watch brand was unveiled.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

The revival of Daniel Roth

A few days before, the news got out that Arnault would be reviving the Daniel Roth brand. In recent years, it was in somewhat of a hibernation mode with Bvlgari (also an LVMH-owned brand), but Daniel Roth has an interesting history. Roth (1945) was a watchmaker that worked for Jaeger-LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet before joining Breguet in 1975.

Daniel Roth’s Breguet Tourbillon ref. 3350 — Image: Phillips

Roth’s work at Breguet

Together with Louis-Maurice Caillet, Daniel Roth set the direction for Breguet over the next 13 years. Using coin-edge mid-cases and hand-guilloché dials while relying on movements from Lemania and Frédéric Piguet, Roth and his coworkers reinvented the Breguet style. References 3050 and 3130 are perfect examples of his creations for Breguet.

Daniel Roth in his workshop — Image: Fred Merz for FHH Journal

Another one of Roth’s impressive milestones was the first tourbillon wristwatch for Breguet, reference 3350. Unfortunately, Breguet was in misery nonetheless. The owners (the Chaumet brothers) made a financial mess of the company and had to declare bankruptcy in 1987. Breguet was quickly sold to Investcorp, and Daniel Roth left in 1988.

Daniel Roth’s Tourbillon from the late 1980s

The first Daniel Roth watch

Roth started his own watch brand in 1989 with the help of an investor from Zürich. In the following years, Daniel Roth created beautiful watches with his now-famous double-ellipse case design. Roth started where he left off at Breguet by creating a tourbillon wristwatch as the first watch under his name. It was the Daniel Roth Tourbillon C187, an elegant 35mm × 38mm wristwatch in gold with a beautiful hand-finished one-minute tourbillon. On the back of the watch were the date and a power-reserve indicator. Over the years, Daniel Roth created incredibly nice watches, always with the double-ellipse case as his signature.

Daniel Roth’s Tourbillon from the late 1980s

In 1995, the Singapore retailer The Hour Glass took a majority stake in Daniel Roth. Five years later, Bvlgari acquired the brand and incorporated it into its own line of high-end watches. While Bvlgari continued to use the double-ellipse case shape and incredibly complex movements that Roth designed, most dials featured a double Bvlgari/Daniel Roth signature. This latest announcement marks the return of Daniel Roth as a standalone brand, albeit within the LVMH group.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

The new Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Just like the first Daniel Roth watch, the Tourbillon C187, this new watch will be a Tourbillon Souscription, underlining the craftsmanship of Daniel Roth’s watchmaking. The new Daniel Roth Tourbillon will be manufactured at LVMH’s La Fabrique du Temps, where the production of Louis Vuitton’s high-end watches also takes place.

The Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription will feature a yellow gold case, respecting the original dimensions of the watch (35.5mm × 38.6mm). This new timepiece will only have a single dial, resulting in a case thickness of just 9.2mm. As you can see, the designers at Daniel Roth have also reshaped the case slightly. It now has a bit of a downward arc to enhance the comfort of the watch on the wrist.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

With the help of Kari Voutilainen

The dial of the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription is also yellow gold with beautiful Clous de Paris guilloché decoration. It is produced in the mountain-top workshop of another famous independent watchmaker, Kari Voutilainen. On this dial, you will find a slightly updated typography compared to the original Daniel Roth Tourbillon C187.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Caliber DR001 — a tourbillon

To demonstrate that the revived Daniel Roth is Haute Horlogerie, the new DR001 tourbillon movement is finished entirely by hand. According to the brand, this even includes the mirror-finished screw heads. Caliber DR001 is also made to fit the gold double-ellipse case, which is very aesthetically pleasing. I always find it kind of annoying when rectangular watches in the high-end segment use round movements, for example. This specially designed movement is of the hand-wound variety and provides 80 hours of power reserve. Although the tourbillon mechanism can be observed through the dial side, the case back is made of solid gold with the individual number of the Tourbillon Souscription engraved.

The tourbillon makes one revolution every minute, which makes it suitable to use as a seconds hand on the dial. As you can see, the 460mg tourbillon cage has three differently sized heat-blued second hands that each correspond to a 20-second scale on the dial.

Daniel Roth’s DR001 movement measures only 4.6mm thick and consists of 206 components. It ticks at 21,600vph and uses 19 jewels. The development, production, decoration, and manual finishing all take place at LVMH’s La Fabrique du Temps.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Twenty pieces only

This first new Daniel Roth watch will be available on a souscription basis, with a deposit required upon order confirmation. In early 2024, the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription watches will then be delivered to their new owners (and hopefully wearers). Daniel Roth’s Tourbillon Souscription will be limited to just 20 pieces, but fear not, the brand will announce other variations with additional complications as well. This is only the (new) beginning.

According to Jean Arnault, Daniel Roth watches will only be available in select retail stores. The retail price of the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription is CHF 140,000 excluding VAT. For more information, visit the Daniel Roth website.