A unique and attractive sapphire-set platinum wristwatch with baguette-cut sapphire bezel and lugs from the haute horlogerie Swiss watch brand Daniel Roth, founded in 1989 and active until the 2010s. Reference 121.Y.70.722 from the Master’s Grandes Complications collection was launched in 2007. Estimated production span: 2007–2010s. Double ellipse-shaped case in platinum 950, measuring 44 x 41mm, 13mm thick, matt silvered and mother of pearl skeleton dial, perpetual calendar correctors at 4, 8 and 10 o’clock, sapphire caseback. Caliber DR114, self-winding, 22k gold rotor with guilloché motif and peripheral weight in platinum 950, power reserve up to 45 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, perpetual calendar with date, day of the week, month and leap year indicators, equation of time sub-dial between 10 and 11 o’clock, number of days in the month indicator between 1 and 2 o’clock, moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock. Black leather strap with 18k white gold Daniel Roth double folding clasp. Piece unique.
A perpetual calendar is a very rare function for a mechanical wristwatch, while even more rare are examples when the function of the perpetual calendar is complemented by other complex mechanisms, such as a chronograph or a tourbillon. Even less often, watch companies equip perpetual calendar watches with an equation of time indication, the astronomic function to display the discrepancy between the apparent solar time, which directly tracks the diurnal motion of the Sun, and mean solar time, which tracks a theoretical mean Sun with uniform motion along the celestial equator. The first generation of Daniel Roth’s Perpetual Calendar Time Equation Ref. 121.Y watches was launched by the brand in 2004, and offered in 18k rose gold, 18k white gold or in platinum. In addition to the equation of time, the dial also features a number of days in the month indicator, which makes this perpetual calendar configuration one of its kind in the industry.
The Perpetual Calendar Time Equation watch is powered by the self-winding DR114 caliber, based on a Girard-Perregaux GP3000 movement-blank and accommodating an additional in-house module for the perpetual calendar, equation of time, moonphase, and number of days in the month complications. This movement was entirely finished in-house, including decoration typical of high watchmaking standards – hand chamfering, Côtes de Genève and perlage patterns, and a solid gold rotor decorated with a guilloché pattern. A notable feature of the second-generation reference 121.Y is the high embossed spiral finish of the calendar module mainplate, seen through apertures in the skeletonized dial.
The Perpetual Calendar Time Equation watch is powered by the self-winding DR114 caliber, based on a Girard-Perregaux GP3000 movement-blank and accommodating an additional in-house module for the perpetual calendar, equation of time, moonphase, and number of days in the month complications.
The present example belongs to the second generation, also designated as reference 121.Y, but with a skeletonized dial of a new design, produced by the brand from 2007 and offered in 18k white gold, 18k rose gold or in platinum, as well as in diamond-set jewellery versions in 18k white gold and 18k rose gold. Hereafter, according to our knowledge, the Daniel Roth brand did not produce watches with such a set of complications.
A particular feature of this unique piece is the blue finish of the calendar module mainplate, which is typical for pieces with a platinum case of serial issue. The blue movement finish, observable from the dial side of the watch, is exquisitely complemented by baguette-cut sapphires, which are set in the bezel of the case and the lugs. It is noteworthy that the tone of the finishing of the calendar module mainplate perfectly matches the deep blue tone of the sapphires. Moreover, the play of light in the faceted precious stones appears to be repeated in the reflections and shadows of the signature embossed spiral finish of the calendar module mainplate.
Reasons to bid
In addition to its unique set of complications, which cannot be found in wristwatches of any other brand, the Daniel Roth Perpetual Calendar Time Equation Piece Unique ‘Baguette Sapphires’ Ref. 121.Y.70.722.CM.BD.S11 benefits from an unusual dial layout, rare for perpetual calendars, with counters and hands shifted slightly upwards. Together with the skeletonized dial, this gives the model a unique, noticeable and memorable character. The present lot is made as a piece unique with appealing jewellery execution in platinum and baguette-cut sapphires. It would appear to be an extremely attractive purchase for the collector thanks to its uniqueness, haute horlogerie and jewellery finishings, and unusual signature Daniel Roth design.
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.