The Jean Daniel Nicolas (what a name: so emotional to us since it acknowledges son and wife, who are essential to his watchmaking atelier, after Daniel Roth is no longer able to use his own name!) 2-Minute Tourbillon is a watch which attracts the seasoned collectors:
Made by one of the most under-appreciated heroes in watchmaking, Mr Daniel Roth, an immensely skilled craftsman who has left a lasting mark in the industry, with the revival of Breguet or the establishment of Daniel Roth, the company. He ultimately set up his workshop as a family-operated business (hence name) centred solely on the romantic ideal of an entirely handmade watch, down to the construction which is accomplished without modern tools like CAD.
Roth is a watchmaker of classical training and philosophy, using traditional tools and materials to the finest degree, complemented – rightfully in this case! – by an exterior of equally classical appearance, with a hand-guilloched dial and a superb mirror-polished tourbillon bridge (its shape is devised such that it holds the large upper support jewel for the cage, but still does not obstruct the seconds sector. The result is a dynamic design – and 6 difficult to finish inward angles):
Also the finishing on the movement bridges is extraordinary, with Geneva stripes applied as tenderly as a breeze, and hand-engraved inscriptions:
According to Quill & Pad’s Ian Skellern (who owns a 2-Minute Tourbillon), Daniel Roth was fascinated by an extraordinary version of the Geneva stripe decoration he once spotted with a fine pocket watch: the waves are applied as hard circles, precisely one sharply touching its adjacent neighbour. Roth reportedly taught the technique himself, which took weeks until he reached a satisfying skill level.
There is nothing loud about the man or his watches, instead they rely on the discerning collector to be discovered and appreciated, which is not an easy task given that (i) tourbillons are so abundant these days (… so the connoisseur needs to take time an effort to discover this rare 2-minute implementation!) and (ii) the Roth family completes only about 2 watches each year.
It was therefore a movement to remember when I was able to inspect one of these masterpiece during a preview of a Philipps auction in Geneva a few years ago. One of these moments where you hold your breath and just savour the beauty in your hands…
A true piece the résistance which seems to have fallen out of time!