Celebrating the 5th anniversary of their landmark Papillon chronograph, which in its own turn itself celebrated the 10th anniversary of the brand, Daniel Roth has recently revealed the new take on their famous and much-adored timepiece. Presenting it in a fresh blue-and-silver color scheme, the brand has also equipped the device with a new movement. The mechanism is made by one of the most revered manufacturers in the country, which is famous for its high-precision mechanisms. Featuring the same Ellipsocurvex case and a pair of patented lozenge-shaped pivoting-head retrograde minute hands, the new Papillon Chronograph (ref. 319.Z.60.394.CM.BD) now sports a mechanical self-winding Frederic Piguet column-wheel chronograph caliber.
The new engine replaces the ultra-thin self-winding Girard-Perregaux movement that ticked inside that famous 2005 Papillon Chronograph model. Regrettably, at this time there is virtually zero information regarding the new engine besides the fact that it is a self-winding job branded as Daniel Roth caliber DR 2319, built on 37 jewels that has an approximate power reserve of 38 hours and beats at a slow frequency of 21,600 vph.
As the company says in its press release, the Swiss watchmaker buys blank movements from Frederic Piguet and then finishes and decorates the ebauches solely in-house.
When the movement is ready, it is further equipped with Daniel Roth’s own complication module that drives this “semi-retrograde” minute hands.
As you may gather from the photo, both hands are constantly in motion rotating slowly on a skeletonized disk around their common center of gravity.
When one hand reaches its 3 o’clock position on the disk (“00” mark on the minute track,) it instantly rotates 90 degrees clockwise and becomes a “pointer” of the minute hand. At the same time, another hand that’s just passed the “60” mark, rotates the same 90 degrees, “retracting” itself into the rotating disk.
That’s why they call the whole design “semi-retrograde”: the minute hand passes only half a dial, but doesn’t return to its starting position in a single swift jump like it is done in real retrograde watches.
The design not only makes the timekeeper’s dial more entertaining to look at but must also save some energy that would otherwise go to waste transporting the minute hand counterclockwise to its “00” position.
Lacking the shield-like cover that hid the action of the pivoting minute hands, the new timepiece from Daniel Roth looks much more refined, partly due to a guilloche Clous de Paris motif on its face and the famous Cotes de Geneve pattern on the silver-colored dial base.
I must also note that these promotional images (somewhat counterintuitively) don’t do this gorgeous timekeeper justice. The combination of heat-blued hands, painted rings on the sub-dials, as well as the way the shadows play on its vertical guilloche stripes looks fascinating if not plain mesmerizing. Perhaps, this particular model is one of the most elegant dress wristwatches that are currently available on the market.
Although Daniel Roth plans to limit the total production run to only 250 units, which is still a lot considering its sky-high price of some €50,000, I highly doubt that the Swiss manufacture will have a hard time selling the stock.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Daniel Roth Papillon Chronograph specification
Movement: Frederic Piguet column-wheel chronograph caliber, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph, retrograde minute hands
Case material: White, yellow, or red gold, a flat sapphire back
Diameter: 43.00 x 46.00 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Dial: Silver or ruthenium-colored dial with transparent counters and markings
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black, blue or brown crocodile leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire crystal, antireflective