News February 2008

Chronographs are currently enjoying a major comeback as the useful complication and a significant token of horological expertise. Sensitive to this renewed interest, Daniel Roth proudly introduces the first ever chronograph version of its iconic Papillon watch:
the Papillon Chronograph

Papillon Chronograph

The flight of time

The Watch Quote™ - February 7th, 2008




The makings of an icon

First, however, a brief historical reminder is in order. Introduced in 1999 as part of celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Daniel Roth brand, the first edition of the Papillon created a considerable stir among watch connoisseurs. Its blend of aesthetic and technical innovations eloquently illustrated the distinctive features of the Daniel Roth approach to watchmaking, combining prestigious traditions and techniques with groundbreaking design.

Issued in a limited edition of 250 watches, all of which were sold, the Papillon was subsequently revisited by Daniel Roth in 2005. Powered like its predecessor by an ultra-thin self-winding Girard-Perregaux movement and capable of accommodating the additional modules for the complications developed and manufactured by the Daniel Roth engineers, technicians and watchmakers, it is naturally finished entirely at the Manufacture Daniel Roth in Le Sentier. This excellent calibre is housed in the new version of the brand’s signature ellipsocurvex case ensuring an optimal fit on the wrist. A polished “cover” encloses the upper part of the watch, the smooth surface of which is broken only by the jump hour window and a smaller central seconds window. Meanwhile, a “smile-shaped” display extending over the entire lower part of the dial enables one to follow the intricate workings of the fascinating minute-hand mechanism in operation.


More than meets the eye

Far more sophisticated than one might initially imagine, what at first glance seems to be a traditional retrograde minute display is in fact composed of lozenge-shaped pivoting-head minute hands that have become the trademark of the Papillon line. Positioned at a 180° angle, they turn in the same direction on a single axis, driven by a disc rotating on the central axis. Upon reaching the 60 position, one pivots 90° on its own axis to retract, and the other instantly extends to appear at 0 minutes. Compared with a traditional retrograde minutes system, this mechanism uses less energy and requires less parts. It is thus both stronger and more reliable, while drawing less upon the movement’s power reserve.

Transparent timekeeping

2008 sees the introduction of the unique Papillon Chronograph on which the cover has disappeared, thus fully revealing the patented two-hands mechanism highlighted by larger blued hands, and also providing ample space for the chronograph indications. This model is powered by an FP Calibre 1185 base movement, specially modified for Daniel Roth. The generous 43 x 46 mm case in yellow, white or red gold, the first curvex-style Z version, features larger lugs and naturally implies a greater inter-horn width and thus a more opulent wristband. To ensure ideal wearer comfort, the leather strap is enhanced with inserts to ensure a perfect fit on the wrist. The case middle also carries the trademark Daniel Roth ridged crown, framed by the two chronograph pushbuttons, while the curved case is fitted with a flat sapphire back revealing the beautifully decorated movement. The original dial comprises a number of visual elements that both facilitate read-off and draw the gaze. Perhaps the most striking aspect of all in this model is the sense of openness and transparency. The silver-coloured or ruthenium dial base is adorned with Côtes de Genève, while the whole is topped by a transparent sapphire curvex crystal, glareproofed on both sides.

The transparent 12-hour and 30-minute chronograph counters are positioned at 10 and 2 o’clock respectively, overlapping the central chronograph seconds circle with its black numerals. The black minute semi-circle lends a visually appealing technical touch, while its large numbers ensure perfect readability on a multi-layer dial also featuring a guilloché clous de Paris motif framed by a white semi-circular minute track located inside the chronograph seconds circle and complementing the outer minute display. Providing eloquent proof of the characteristic attention devoted to details by the Daniel Roth designers, the chronograph seconds hand stops at 6 o’clock so as not to hinder the visibility of the jumping-hour display as it would if its resting position were in the conventional spot at 12 o’clock.


When the imagination takes flight

Introduced within the horologically refined Académie collection, the new Papillon Chronograph is driven by a high-end Frédéric Piguet Calibre 1185 mechanical self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement. Worn on a black, blue or brown crocodile leather strap, complete with the Daniel Roth buckle, this distinguished model embodies a sportier, more refined grand complication model with strong mechanical connotations. The designer has clearly allowed his imagination to take flight, and the result is an intriguing and original chronograph version of an icon model that embarks its wearer on a fascinating mechanical journey through the timekeeping stratosphere…

The Papillon Chronograph in a nutshell: Mechanical self-winding Frédéric Piguet column-wheel chronograph calibre, entirely finished by Daniel Roth and enriched with additional proprietary complication modules. Unique patented pivoting double minute-hand mechanism, two chronograph counters and central chronograph hand. Chronograph seconds hand that stops at 6 o’clock so as not to impede the readability of the jumping hours. Yellow gold, white gold or red gold case, silver or ruthenium-coloured dial with transparent counters and markings. Black, blue or brown crocodile leather strap.

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