With Daniel Roth’s revival having become official last year, the brand has just taken the covers off the prototype of the Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription at LVMH Watch Week 2024.
Retaining the style and dimensions of its 1990s inspiration, the Tourbillon Souscription is, however, an entirely new creation in mechanical terms, with the DR001 movement inside having been developed specifically for it by Geneva complications specialist La Fabrique du Temps (LFT).
The prototype of the Tourbillon Souscription arrives with subtle refinements compared to the images released last year. The aesthetics largely replicate the design of the 1990s originals, which was the brand’s goal from the beginning, at least for this opening act in its revival. Where the Tourbillon Souscription does better than the original is in the execution and mechanics.
The guilloche dial is evidently top quality and also on a solid-gold base. More notably, the recessed area around the tourbillon, which is the actually the base plate, is finished with Côtes de Genève. On the originals this area was unfinished except for a rudimentary micro-blasting.
But the calibre within is a more substantive achievement. The DR001 movement was conceived for this watch (though perhaps borrowing elements from LFT’s existing constructions) with aesthetics and traditional detailing in mind, explaining elements like the black-polished steel cock and linear winding click. In contrast, the originals relied on an off-the-shelf Lemania calibre that was high end for its time but produced on a large scale and relatively straightforward in execution.
In fact, one could argue the DR001 has too many decorative flourishes. The linear winding click and gold chatons, for instance, are not typically found together in historical watches.
As for the aesthetics, they do diverge in some modest ways from the originals. Unlike last year’s initial release, the finished prototype uses a serif font on the dial that’s closer to the typography on the original. The new font is well suited to the design, although not exactly the same as found on the originals. Here the printing has a heavier weight, perhaps intentionally in order to separate the two.
Refining the double-ellipse
In terms of look and feel, the Tourbillon Souscription sticks close to the template established by the original models, namely the inaugural ref. 2187/C187 of 1988 (which had a second face on the back for the power reserve and date) and the subsequent single-face model that this is based on. The case has practically the same dimensions, measuring 35.5 mm wide and 9.2 mm, but features more fluid lugs that curve downwards along with a slightly more ergonomic crown.
Like all earlier Daniel Roth models, the Tourbillon Souscription has a dial decorated with clous de Paris guilloche. The dial itself is solid yellow gold, while the engine turning is done on a hand-operated straight-line engine.
The Tourbillon Souscription has a solid case back secured by four screws, which is something of a shame since the DR001 movement is hidden. That said, the solid-back is probably a feature unique to this model; it is likely that future models will have display backs given the quality of the movements.
The DR001 is a traditional in style and function. It’s a hand-wound movement with a one-minute tourbillon regulator and a 3 Hz balance, though the long, 80-hour power reserve is a convenient feature that marks it out as a modern construction.
Though concealed beneath the solid back, the movement boasts several decorative flourishes inspired by historical high-end movements. Amongst them are the black-polished steel cock for the third wheel as well as the gold chatons for the jewels of the going train. The black-polished steel caps for the barrel ratchet and crown wheels are equally appealing, as are the bevelled edges of the bridges, which are spaced out to reveal the base plate and wheels of the going train.
Key facts and price
Daniel Roth Tourbillon Souscription
Diameter: 38.6 mm by 35.5 mm
Height: 9.2 mm
Material: 18K yellow gold 3N
Water resistance: 30 m
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and a one-minute tourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Manual winding
Power reserve: 80 hours
Strap: Calfskin strap with pin buckle
Limited edition: 20 pieces
Availability: Only available through selected retail partners of Daniel Roth with delivery in 2024
Price: CHF140,000 excluding taxes
For more, visit Daniel-roth.ch.
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