The Swiss watch brand's neo-vintage pieces are gaining popularity on the secondary market, and LVMH wants to capitalize on that moment of fame...
In the past few years, collectors and dealers have become increasingly interested in purchasing neo-vintage Daniel Roth watches. Back in 2021, prominent Malaysian dealer Sean Song said he had the brand on his radar and listed it as a "brand to watch" in the secondary market. A Collected Man sold more than a few; An early '90s platinum-cased Monopusher sold for $110,000 on the site just last June. Therefore, we are not surprised by the fact that LVMH noticed an opportunity for cooperation and profit. Daniel Roth was owned the Bulgari brand since 2000 (it was acquired by Hour Glass in 1994 before being sold to an Italian jeweller), and LVMH then bought Bulgari in 2011. Now, the luxury conglomerate is moving Daniel Roth watches under the company's Louis Vuitton La Fabrique du Temps umbrella.
The brand will continue to operate independently, but will be guided by "guidance and incubation," La Fabrique du Temps master watchmakers Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini said in a press release. You can expect some serious creations to come out of this new direction, with pieces that are likely to be highly desirable - if done well.
Navas and Barbasini may be working behind the scenes on funnier, more modern (but still seriously complicated) watches for Louis Vuitton, but they've gained their experience working under some of the biggest names in watchmaking. They spent about seven years working for Gerald Genta while he was still at the helm of his company (which was also bought by Bulgari in 2000), and the duo were employed in Patek Philippe's High Complications division, where they worked on minute repeaters and other notoriously challenging complications. Navas also worked at Audemars Piguet, and both worked at Franck Muller, where they helped create the company's famous Crazy Hours and Revolution tourbillon watches. Eventually, the duo founded BNB Concept (along with Matthias Buttet) in 2004 working on major complications for Hublot, Bell & Ross, Jacob & Co. and much more. Navas and Barbasini eventually left this job and began working with LV as part of their newly founded workshop, La Fabrique du Temps, in 2007 until LVMH bought the operation in 2011 (the same year the luxury conglomerate bought Bulgari).
Daniel Roth's namesake, however, is no longer with the company, starting from the moment it was sold to the Bulgari brand, but remains a living legend in the world of watchmaking. Roth is considered a master watchmaker and rose to prominence alongside François-Paul Journe and Roger Dubuis. The latter is also no longer involved in his eponymous company, which is now 100% owned by LVMH rival Richemont. The watches, however, are a big departure from those made by their founder and veer more in the direction of an avant-garde high street aesthetic over the more traditional Swiss watchmaking codes.
Will Daniel Roth follow the same path now that LVMH is part of the story again? According to a press statement, "Daniel Roth will aim to capture the mechanical and contemporary classicism that defined Roth's work in his earliest days." That's good news for collectors who know and love the brand's past work. But given the production of only 100 pieces per year, few will be able to see them on their wrist. The first watch available for order will be produced in a run of 20 pieces (meaning customers must "subscribe" by paying before seeing the finished product in metal). The new watch is expected to appear in a few months.