The Story of Daniel Roth
Daniel Roth was born into a family with deep horological roots, with his grandfather and great-grandfather both working as watchmakers in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Following this path, he completed his technical apprenticeship in Nice, before fulfilling his ambition of moving to the Vallée de Joux, one of the world’s watchmaking epicentres. He joined Audemars Piguet at a young age, at a time where he was the only watchmaker who didn’t come from Le Brassus, the brand’s historic home.
Following seven years at Audemars Piguet, Roth was noticed by the Chaumet brothers, the then owners of Breguet. In the midst of the Quartz Crisis, they wanted to restore the brand to its former glory and were looking for a Master Watchmaker who could help. Inspired by the work of the famous watchmaker, Roth agreed to help resuscitate the manufacture, though only after going back to school to further study Breguet’s archives and techniques. Over fourteen years, he would help rebuild the watchmaker, cementing the style, finishing and complications in wristwatch form.
In 1989, Daniel Roth decided to establish his own manufacture. One of the first truly independent watchmakers working under his own name, he created Breguet-inspired pieces, with a twist. He cemented aesthetic codes which are distinctively his own, from the double-ellipse case to the sharply executed pinstripe guilloché dials used on some of his models. Though his output was limited, it was plentiful in its diversity and inventiveness, from tourbillons to chronographs. Daniel Roth was one of the key brand names of independent watchmaking in the 1990s, alongside Franck Muller, Roger Dubuis and Francois-Paul Journe, among others. In 2000, the company was sold to Bulgari, with the watchmaker no longer being involved from that point onwards.
The name “Ellipsocurvex” is derived from a hallmark of Roth’s designs, the “double-ellipse” case, which has become one of his signature elements. Neither round nor rectangular, this balances the two different shapes, complemented by a stepped bezel and sharp, straight lugs. If you compare it with his past work at Breguet, you can see that some of his design choices were transferred, such as the straight lugs, sloped bezel and polishing throughout the rose gold case. Whereas most of Daniel Roth's pieces were created in yellow gold, this one is distinguished by its rose gold case.
This time-only Ellipsocurvex features a particularly pared-back design, with only an hour and minute hand. The base colour of the dial is a dark grey, with a sharply executed pinstripe guilloché pattern. The silvered, brushed chapter ring has Roman numerals in addition to a dotted minute track encircling the numbers. The lance-shaped hands are rendered in blued steel, another remnant of Breguet’s influence on Roth’s work.
Furthermore, the dial is signed with "Daniel Roth" in capitals above the 12 o’clock mark, while the watch’s unique number is placed below the 6 o’clock mark. At 35mm in diameter, and with a thickness of just 2.4mm, the watch sits comfortably on the wrist and wears larger than its dimensions would suggest, thanks to its unique shape.
This Ellipsocurvex marked Roth’s first attempt at making an automatic movement, which was a move away from the Lemania ébauches that he previously used. Roth made use of the Frederic Piguet 71, one of the thinnest automatic calibres ever produced, and one that Roth was familiar with after his work at Breguet.
This off-centre rotor was originally designed by Frederic Piguet in order to allow others to add modular complications on top of the movement. By using this movement in the Ellipsocurvex, Roth showcases the purest form of this delicate calibre, ensuring that it lives up to the term “ultra-plat”, or, “ultra-thin”, which he uses to describe the movement.
This Daniel Roth Ellipsocurvex is accompanied by a Certificate of Origin and Ownership, which notes the movement type, dial details, and case type. It also confirms that the watch was sold in December 1994, through Orlogeria Pisa in Milan, Italy. The paperwork is signed by Daniel Roth himself. The watch is accompanied by a bespoke grained leather strap in taupe, along with the original black alligator strap and corresponding rose gold buckle.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Daniel Roth Ellipsocurvex will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.