A fine, rare and unusual limited-edition rose gold wristwatch from the haute horlogerie Swiss watch brand, founded in 1989 and active until the 2010s. Limited edition launched in 2005. Double ellipse-shaped Ellipsocurvex case in 18k rose gold, measuring 44 x 41mm, 13.55mm thick, curved solid gold cover of the dial with butterfly-shaped opening for minutes indication and windows for small seconds hand and jumping hours. Sapphire caseback with engraved brand logo, reference and limited-edition number. Self-winding DR115 caliber, power reserve up to 46 hours. Functions – jumping hours at 12 o’clock, retractable hands for retrograde minutes indication, small seconds hand at the centre. Black leather strap, Daniel Roth double folding clasp in 18k rose gold. Limited edition of 210 pieces.
Daniel Roth developed the ‘papillon’ complication with jumping hours, retractable minute hands and central small seconds hand on the occasion of the brand’s 10th anniversary in 1999. Offering an original alternative to the traditional retrograde function, the first-generation Papillon limited edition (250 pieces, calibre DR317) was the last creation of Daniel Roth himself. He was actively involved in the design of this watch before leaving the company when it was sold to Bulgari in 2000.
A polished cover encloses the upper part of the case, with the windows for jumping hours and a central small seconds hand, along with a smile-shaped display, extending over the entire lower part of the dial.
The Papillon design was subsequently revisited by the brand in 2005, which launched the Académie Ellipsocurvex Papillon Ref. 318.Y limited edition of 500 timepieces in total: 210 pieces in rose gold (as in the present example), 210 in white gold, and 80 in platinum. The watches were powered by the self-winding DR115 caliber, based like its predecessor on a Girard-Perregaux GP3000 movement-blank and accommodating an additional module for the ‘papillon’ complication. This movement was entirely finished in-house, including decoration, hand chamfering, the Côtes de Genève pattern, and solid gold rotor decorated with a guilloché pattern. The DR115 caliber was housed in the newer Ellipsocurvex version of the brand’s signature double ellipse-shaped case, which featured an accentuated convex upper surface. A polished cover encloses the upper part of the case, with the windows for jumping hours and a central small seconds hand, along with a smile-shaped display, extending over the entire lower part of the dial. This enables one to follow the retractable minute-hands mechanism in operation, and of course to read the minutes. Subsequently, the brand turned to the ‘papillon’ complication several times, offering various design options, including very sophisticated models with a chronograph function or a central tourbillon (as a part of the Bulgari collection).
Reasons to bid
The Daniel Roth Académie Ellipsocurvex Papillon Ref. 318.Y.50 would appear to be a desirable purchase for the collector thanks to its unusual design, elaborated hand finishing of the case, dial and movement, as well as the unique branded ‘papillon’ complication. This limited-edition watch in 18k rose gold rarely appears at auctions and is undoubtedly highly collectible. It is easily recognizable and instantly memorable. Its stand-out design is sure to move a person who strives to show independence in creating their own style.
The Daniel Roth Académie Ellipsocurvex Papillon Ref. 318.Y.50 would appear to be a desirable purchase for the collector thanks to its unusual design, as well as the unique branded ‘papillon’ complication.
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, 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, 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. Therefore, Daniel Roth’s watches are now regarded as very attractive collectibles.