Released in 1995 on the occasion of his 50th birthday, this Daniel Roth limited edition watch is a perfect example of the mastery and finesse achieved by one of the first watchmakers to become an independent, after a successful career in the Swiss watchmaking industry that included companies like Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and even Audemars Piguet. Now 72 years old, Daniel Roth is very well known for becoming an independent watchmaker after a very long tenure at Breguet and launching his own brand and atelier in the Vallée de Joux in 1989. After going selling his brand to Bulgari in 2000, not much is heard about this watchmaking genius lately, other than the fact that he is still making two to three watches a year out of his workshop located in the upstairs area of his home in Le Sentier. Originally born in Nice, France, Mr. Roth relocated to the cradle of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux in 1967.
Equipped with an asymmetrical case that blends in the round, rectangular and tonneau shapes, this Daniel Roth watch brings memories of those times where independent watchmakers like himself began to flourish and break the mold of conventional watchmaking. Well respected for creating 26 tourbillons on his own and for the conceptualization and execution of his fully handmade two-minute tourbillon sold under the Jean Daniel Nicolas brand name —named after his son and wife—, the name Daniel Roth still causes furor amongst savvy watch collectors.
Fitted with a 36 mm x 31 mm stainless steel case and a gorgeous salmon dial exquisitely finished with guilloché in a very Breguet-like way, the Daniel Roth Sports Automatic 50th Birthday Limited Edition watch is one of those watches that is definitely worth getting as a memento of the exquisite work done by one of the greatest independent watchmakers of our time. With blued hands and blued Roman numerals, the semi-circular chapter ring and the date aperture at 6 o'clock are unequivocal elements of the timeless design of this watch.
Even though the Daniel Roth Sports Automatic 50th Birthday Limited Edition is not powered by an in-house movement or a fully hand made one, the beating heart visible via the display case back shows the Daniel Roth calibre 157 which is a modified and decorated Frederic Piguet 21-jewel automatic movement known as calibre 951. Aware of the work done by Daniel Roth is not surprising that this somewhat generic ébauche is nicely decorated and finished off with a special oscillating weight bearing Daniel Roth's name and the inscription 50th Birthday.
On the wrist, the watch wears relatively smaller than its actual size because of its very unique asymmetrical shape. Now, for the price at which you can currently find a pre-owned example of one of these rare birds, this watch is a 'no brainer' for anyone looking to have a piece from one of the most renowned independent watchmakers that have ever lived. While information regarding the limitation of the Daniel Roth Sports Automatic 50th Birthday Limited Edition watch is unconfirmed and unknown to us, we assume that probably no more than 50 pieces were made to match the 50th birthday occasion.
If you find one, expect to pay anywhere between $4,000-6,000 USD based on the availability of box and papers and the overall condition of the watch.