Daniel Roth Chronograph
Daniel Roth founded his eponymous brand in 1989 and created some of the fascinating complications made to date, he was also instrumental in Breguet’s resurgence.
The name Daniel Roth still causes furore amongst collectors for reasons that are known to most. In his quest to become a recognised watchmaker, Daniel Roth completed his technical apprenticeship in Nice, before moving to the epicenter of watchmaking, Vallée de Joux. The revered school in Le Sentier and a seven-year period with Audemars Piguet laid the foundations of Roth’s craft. When the Chaumet Brothers, the then owners of Breguet, were attempting to revamp and restore the glory days of Breguet, they turned to Daniel Roth. Before commencing his work at Breguet, Daniel Roth first went back to watch school in Le Sentier for a year to get a solid technical and academic base in complications and spent an entire year studying Breguet archives. Fourteen years later, Roth, not only brought back the glory days for Breguet, he created some of the most specular watches since Abraham Louis Breguet’s time.
The end of the Chaumet tenure and allowed Daniel Roth to pursue ambitions of his own, in 1989, Daniel Roth decided to establish his own manufacture. The rise of the independents was almost renaissance like Roth was one of the pioneers in this newfound era of ‘freedom’, other honourable names such as Svend Andersen, Franck Muller, F. P. Journe, Roger Dubuis played a crucial role in allowing this movement to flourish. Interestingly, Roth was able to carve out his own design language that made most of his pieces instantly recognisable. There were subtle cues and nods to Breguet’s work in his designs although what made Roth’s instantly distinguishable was his double-ellipse case, the difference polished facets found on the case, and the unique construction of the case was ahead of its time.
The relatively young brand paired with its eponymous founder, Daniel Roth, had grand ambitions. In order to realise this, the brand accepted external investments, which resulted in Daniel Roth being sidelined to an extent, similar to that of Roger Dubuis. In 2001, the Daniel Roth brand was sold to the Bvlgari Group and eventually morphed under the name. This resulted in Daniel Roth losing the right to use his own name for his future project.
This double-ellipse stainless steel Daniel Roth measures 41mm x 38mm in diameter and 11.40mm in thickness. The unique shape of the modernised case along with the addition of the downward slopping lugs allows this ‘large’ sized Daniel Roth to offer unparalleled comfort on the wrist. The dial features a sharply executed Salmon pinstripe guilloché pattern, which complements the light, brushed chapter ring with roman numerals. The time only function can be easily distinguished from the chronograph complication due to the variety of the hands. The sub-dials found at both 3 and 6 o’clock are solely used for the 30 minute and 12 hour chronograph counters, the larger anchor shaped hand found at 12 o’clock is used for the seconds, once the chronograph is activated. The use of arrow-shaped hands are used to indicated the hours and minutes and the sub-dial placed at the 9 o’clock marker is used as a 60-second counter. The dial is signed “DANIEL ROTH” at 12 o’clock and “SWISS MADE” at 6 o’clock, the individual number of the watch is placed on the case-back. Additionally, the outer dial features 12 silver plots found above the roman numerals.
The automatic movement signed Daniel Roth, is adjusted to five positions and features thirty-one jewels. The calibre 400 is based off the legendary El Primero, it is argued that when the El Primero was first introduced it was ahead of its time, not only did it possess a fully integrated (non-modular) full rotor self-windering chronograph, it was also a high-frequency movement 36’000 vph and remained remarkably thin.
Brand: Daniel Roth
Movement: Calibre 400, El Primero
Case Diameter: 41mm x 38mm
Box & Papers: Full Set