Daniel Roth is to independent watchmaking what the 911 GT1 is to modern Porsche products. He was there at the start, did it better than most with many accolades, paved the way for an entire category, and yet is recognized today with extremely high regard only by those who appreciate historic context. I overuse the automotive metaphor, I know. Give me a break, I used to be in car design. This one works. I can think of no early independent whose work is more deserving of attention, if only to daydream. Although perhaps one may not need be constrained to dreams, as most early Roths have yet to inflate in value as stratospherically as some of his early indie counterparts.
In much the same way that Cartier’s CPCP Monopoussoir was architected by the then-uncredited FP Journe, Denis Flageollet, and Vianney Halter, Breguet’s Chaumet era was created by Mr. Roth. The Chaumet brothers took a gamble on this relatively young master watchmaker who had trained in the Vallée de Joux and worked for AP. It paid off and the 3237 chronograph Mr. Roth created marked a high point in Breguet history. Shortly after, in 1989, Roth created his own manufacture. Students of history will note that this date places him amongst the very first eponymous independents (think Dufour, Muller, Dubuis, Journe, and a few others in that time).
However, Roth’s brand sold to Bulgari in 2000. Production carried on, but did not hold a candle to the ‘hands-on’ years. It is estimated that around 3000 pieces exist in total from this fully independent era (300-500 yearly). This reference hails from the very end of that era. While classical characteristic touches like the 38mm (platinum) double-ellipse case and pinstripe guilloché dial pattern remain, this chrono reference is openworked. Its Girard Perregaux ébauche (produced after the rare Lemanias, cal DR101) is displayed proudly with an abundance hand finishing to get lost in. Roth’s early years are in a groundswell these days, particularly in the East. It is not difficult to understand why.
As examples go, one can breathe easy. The case is strong and full, only point of note being a significant mark on the case back near the metaphoric seven hour marker. The sides, face, and lugs have only light even surface wear. Its crystal also appears clear. The watch is said to be running well. No known box or papers included. It comes from a well-regarded small retailer.
Find this 447.X.70 here from Dunaliga for 25800 USD.