Daniel Roth is a name that carries weight in the world of Haute Horlogerie. When LVMH, the brand’s current owner, announced its revival back in 2023, it filled us with anticipation and trepidation. Could this work under the umbrella of a big luxury group? Will LMVH do the Daniel Roth name justice? Well, today, we finally get to see and judge for ourselves.

We already saw the first renders and dial samples last year. Now, however, we can have a closer look at the finished product. Let’s dive in!

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

Daniel Roth before Daniel Roth

Before we get to the watch, let me paint some context. Daniel Roth (1945) started his watchmaking career at Jaeger-LeCoultre and later Audemars Piguet. After that, in 1975, he went to Breguet, where he had a significant impact.

Together with Maurice-Louis Caillet, he brought back Breguet’s classical style. The design language based on coin-edge cases and guilloché dials was revived, and watchmaking standards were once again set at the levels deserving of the Breguet name. Unfortunately, due to financial mismanagement, the house went under in 1987. Daniel Roth decided to branch out and set up shop under his name with financial backing from external investors.

An early Daniel Roth Tourbillon with engraved plates

The first fruit of his independent labor would come in 1989, with the Daniel Roth Tourbillon C187. It featured the now archetypal “double ellipse” case and an intricate guilloché dial. At the 6 o’clock position, there was a tourbillon with a minute track split in three above it. As the tourbillon made its rounds, three tourbillon cage-mounted seconds hands would point out the correct time on the three tracks. This is the watch that we see revived today.

LVMH’s involvement in Daniel Roth

Bvlgari acquired the Daniel Roth brand in 2000. The unlikely pair of Bvlgari and Daniel Roth produced co-branded watches in the typical Roth double ellipse style until 2015. By then, production ceased, and Daniel Roth, as a watch brand, went dormant. Bvlgari itself, including its subsidiary Daniel Roth, became part of LVMH in 2011.

Our story would not be complete without involving Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. This high-end watchmaking atelier can trace its roots to 2004, when Mathias Buttet, Michael Navas, and Enrico Barbasini founded BNB Concept. This high-end movement manufacture worked for clients such as Hublot and Jacob & Co. The business declared bankruptcy in 2010, and co-founders Navas and Barbasini went on to start Fabrique du Temps. They worked for, among others, Laurent Ferrier, Ralph Lauren, and Speake-Marin.

Bvlgari wasn’t LVMH’s only acquisition in 2011. The group also acquired Fabrique du Temps, and now we have all the ingredients for today’s revival of Daniel Roth. LVMH is reviving Daniel Roth — sans Bvlgari — with a new watch produced by Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. The big question is: can Navas and Barbasini, under the management of LVMH’s Jean Arnault, improve on Daniel Roth’s 1989 work?

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

The new Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

I usually reserve my judgment until the end of an introduction article, but let me make an exception here. I will come straight out and say it — wow! The people behind the new Daniel Roth showed that they had their priorities straight. They resisted the urge to commercialize the brand and, instead, focused on doing it justice from a watchmaking perspective. They made changes to the design. In fact, they made rather significant changes. However, they are all in line with the spirit of the original watch and a concerted effort to make it even better.

Looking at the dial of the watch, you may notice the changes in typography. The blue printing is now more cohesive and classical than before. The case has also been refined, with its characteristic “ridge” shifted to the middle of the flank rather than at two-thirds. Similarly, the lugs have been angled downwards for a more ergonomic stance on the wrist. The original 38.6mm × 35.5mm size remains, but the watch is now 2mm thinner at 9.2mm.

The biggest change happened inside. Daniel Roth used to work with Lemania calibers as a base. Those were, naturally, round, so they were hidden from view by closed case backs or additional backside dials. Navas and Barbasini took on the challenge of developing a new movement in the double ellipse shape to perfectly fill the case. Later production models will feature a display case back to show it.

Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription tourbillon cage close-up

Initial impressions

You have probably gathered by now that I rather like the new Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription. My enthusiasm is twofold. First of all, I think the watch itself is fantastic, from the unique case shape and the stunning guilloché dial produced by Kari Voutilainen to the improved typography and the seconds, split up and indicated via the tourbillon. And I haven’t even touched upon the ridiculous level of finishing, with all the black-polished details, for instance.

Second, I am happy to see how LVMH is treating the brand. It is easy to become a little bit cynical when luxury groups constantly revive iconic brands and models, cutting a few corners technically and design-wise and slapping a rather hard-to-defend price on them. I don’t see any of that here. The watch has actually been improved thanks to a lot of care and an eye for detail.

So, what about the price? All 20 pieces were already sold for CHF 140,000. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is an eye-watering amount to strap to one’s wrist. However, viewed in the context of similar watches from similarly exalted names, the price is quite modest. This makes me excited about the future of Daniel Roth. LVMH, bring it on!

What do you think of the new Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription? Let us know in the comments below!