To talk about this watch, we need to talk about Daniel Roth. Daniel Roth is an immensely talented watchmaker, making his name at Audemars Piguet and honing his skills at Breguet until he left in 1987. After that exceptional grounding, Daniel Roth decided to found his own, eponymous brand, which launched in 1989. With a focus on high-end, complicated offerings, heavy on tourbillons, repeaters and chimes and, of course, that unique squared-off oval shape. And while the Daniel Roth brand — like so many small watchmakers — didn’t make it in the long run, the name lives on. The brand — along with those distinctive cases — was acquired by Bulgari in 2000.
Which brings us to this particular Bulgari Daniel Roth. With a large 45mm rose gold case, in the aforementioned elliptical shape, this watch has undeniable presence on the wrist. It’s chunky and masculine, but also unusual and possessing distinctive charms. Charms that extend beyond the refined lines of the case. While most watches make do with conventional hands, this Papillon is not most watches. It’s a jump hour with wandering minutes display — the tip of either of those central lozenge-shaped indicators points to the current minute. It’s a very cool mechanism, and adds a load of whimsy to the typically day-to-day equation of telling the time. It’s powered by Bulgari’s own BVL 252 movement, which you can see, in all its automatic glory, through an open caseback.
On the wrist, this watch looks great, with its matt black dial and vaguely sporty dial layout in pink gold. It’s not what a lot of people expect from Bulgari, but it’s an intriguing watch, with an interesting horological backstory.
Bulgari Daniel Roth Papillon Heure Sautante
Bulgari Daniel Roth Papillon Heure Sautante, in rose gold, $50,800