An extremely rare, unusual and attractive limited-edition wristwatch from the haute horlogerie Swiss watch brand Daniel Roth, founded in 1989 and active until 2010. Limited edition launch year: 2005. Double ellipse-shaped Ellipsocurvex case in 18k rose gold, measuring 43 x 46mm, 9.5mm thick, matt white dial with black printed Roman numerals and gold tone guilloche, brushed sector of 3-arm small-seconds hand. Caliber DR651, hand-wound, power reserve up to 48 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds hand. Daniel Roth black crocodile strap with 18k rose gold Daniel Roth double folding clasp. Limited edition of 15 pieces.
Daniel Roth, considered to be one of the most important modern watchmakers, has been hailed a visioner of high-end complicated mechanical watchmaking. In 1989, he founded his own brand after fifteen years as the leading watchmaker at Breguet, where he recreated the classic Breguet style and developed some iconic watches, including tourbillon, chronograph, and perpetual calendar pieces, as well as the charismatic Ref. 3130, inspired by Breguet’s pocket watch No. 5 of 1794. For his own brand, Daniel Roth developed a unique style, a kind of late-20th century Breguet with a double ellipse-shaped Ellipsocurvex case design, instantly recognisable amongst watch connoisseurs, along with ruthenium-plated guilloché dials and blued steel arrow hands. Among Daniel Roth’s masterpieces, the tourbillons and the perpetual calendars are probably the most memorable and desirable. In 1994, looking for opportunities to develop the brand further, he sold the business to the Singaporean Hour Glass luxury retailer, and finally left it after it was again sold to Bulgari in 2000. Nevertheless, his approach to complicated watchmaking and inimitable style were still preserved in the Daniel Roth collection under Bulgari’s supervision until 2010, when the production of collections with the Daniel Roth brand name ceased to continue. Finished to the highest standard, his watches reveal appealing and finely elaborated dials, charismatic Ellipsocurvex cases and haute horlogerie movement finishings. The solid gold dials are decorated with different guilloché motifs, creating a beautiful contrast to his signature blued steel hands.
The rare movement received a unique finish for the Daniel Roth collection and DR651 designation in the brand’s catalogue. The outer surface of the caliber’s rhodium-plated bridges was decorated with guilloché.
The Académie Athys Limited Edition was presented in 2005 (later described as Athys I), and immediately attracted a warm response from experts and connoisseurs. The reason for this was the unusually large Ellipsocurvex case (43 x 46mm), remarkably thin (9.5mm) for this size. The entire space of the large white dial is given only to the function of time indication, with hour and minute hands and a branded three-pointed small seconds hand. The most attractive feature of the watch turned out to be the mechanical pocket watch caliber – the traditional thin caliber 952 from the IWC watch company, which has been produced since 1967. In reports and interviews with the management of Daniel Roth, it was stated that the movements were accidentally discovered during an inventory of warehouse stocks. Obviously, the number of movements found was limited, so the production of all three versions of the Académie Athys Ref. 108.Z was limited to only 35 pieces: rose gold Ref. 108.Z.50 – the present lot – is limited to 15 pieces, white gold Ref. 108.Z.60 is also limited to 15 pieces, and platinum 108.Z. 70 (with a blue sector of the seconds scale) – to 5 pieces.
The rare movement received a unique finish for the Daniel Roth collection and DR651 designation in the brand’s catalogue. The outer surface of the caliber’s rhodium-plated bridges was decorated with guilloché. This feature predetermined the collectible nature of the model and it instantly sold out. Subsequently, due to strong demand, the brand launched the second generation Académie Athys II models in 2006, equipped with the superb ultra-thin caliber 151, supplied by movement-blank producer Frédéric Piguet. In the Académie Athys II watch, it was designated as DR206. The decoration used a traditional style with Geneva stripes (Côtes de Genève) and now without guilloche, which is why the first-generation Académie Athys watches remained a unique case of using guilloché in the decoration of Daniel Roth watch movements.
Reasons to bid
The Académie Athys Limited Edition Ref. 108.Z.50 would appear to be an excellent purchase, a real must-have for the collector who desires an extremely fine, rare and important limited-edition watch thanks to its unique design, and unusual elaborated hand guilloché finishing of the movement. This reference turned out to be a rarity immediately at the moment of its launch; nowadays, the chance to purchase one of the limited-edition Académie Athys timepieces of 2005 is extremely rare and valuable.