Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription

I can't help but feel there is some artisanal dissonance in the announcement of this piece.

Daniel Roth, the watchmaker, still makes hand-crafted timepieces—just two each year. However, those hand-crafted tourbillons, whose cages spin at unusual rate of two minutes rather than the more common one minute, are sold under the name Jean Daniel Nicolas. Through a somewhat complicated series of events, Daniel Roth the man no longer has anything to do with Daniel Roth the brand. The Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription pieces are being produced and profited from by the luxury conglomerate LVMH. I can only begin to imagine what it must feel like to see a multinational with a market capitalization north of €400,000,000,000.00 using your name to take five-figure prepayments on watches that have yet to be manufactured.

While there is a certain disingenuity in the branding of this timepiece, the technical execution does at least strive to be worthy of the level of execution that Daniel Roth—the man—operates at today. Produced by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the manually-wound caliber DR001, made specifically for this timepiece, is well finished. As are the dial and case. Notably, the dial itself is crafted at Comblémine SA, which is owned by independent watchmaker, Kari Voutilainen, who learned from the myriad independent watchmakers, like Daniel Roth, who came before him and has succeeded in avoiding a similar fate for his own name by blending business savvy with the impeccable quality of craftsmanship his timepieces are renowned for.

Interestingly, the seconds indication borrows a design that Daniel Roth employed during his time architecting timepieces at Breguet, alongside Louis-Maurice Caillet. Although I prefer the visual simplicity that the Jean Daniel Nicolas two-minute tourbillon confers to this style of seconds indication, it is a fitting nod to the watch's namesake. As a testament to the tight integration of design between the case and the movement, a slight cutout was engineered into the form of the case at the 6 o'clock position to accommodate the longest of the seconds indicators that traverse the three-tiered seconds track.

Image credit LVMH