Since both were jointly taken over by Bulgari, and under the direction of Gérald Roden, Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta have discretely developed in a serious, profound and continuous matter, what is becoming a veritable manufacture of Haute Horlogerie. Not targeting the complete integration of all the operations as much as the excellence in the mastery over the essential (the development, assembly and finishing of specific movements), the two brands conducted in parallel have, each in their own way, re-launched their destiny by deepening their respective ‘codes’.
The Octo Black Spirit of Gérald Genta
On the Gérald Genta side, it is quite obviously the boldness, the diversion, and the challenge that are most important. The latest Octo Black Spirit is the perfect illustration. A jewellery timepiece featuring a tourbillon with retrograde hours offers rare combinations both in terms of materials and display. The hours are displayed on a 240° arc (and thus never traverse the ‘territory’ of the tourbillon placed at 6 o’clock), while the minutes follow their own path by rotating around the dial. The plate and bridges are made of arcap (a material that is ultra-resistant to corrosion); the parts of the movement are chamfered, polished, and decorated with a concentric graining and the movement receives a black gold galvanic treatment. The tourbillon cage bridge is in sapphire crystal.
But the mix of materials does not stop there, since the very particular mosaic pattern of the stone-setting on the dial is constructed on two levels. On one base in white gold, the loges for the stones are cut with a wire, their base is satined and the visible separations are polished. The stone-setting includes 22 black sapphires and 14 rubies. And this is not all! The case is made of platinum and the crown, with a circular grain pattern, in tantalum with a bird’s eye cabochon. It is not possible to be more Genta.
The Instantaneous Perpetuel Calendar by Daniel Roth
On the Daniel Roth side, it is, on the contrary, a form of timekeeping classicism that reigns, but here with the very recent Instantaneous Perpetuel Calendar, it is as if this classicism has been driven into a corner.
If we begin by the appearance of the piece, whose case in a double ellipse is quite naturally that of an unchangeable Daniel Roth, we can immediately perceive that the large openwork Roman numerals and the disposition, both closely spaced yet very readable of the sub-dials, allows one to admire the extreme artisanal care with which the movement and its date change mechanism have been made.
A gold-plated form movement (based on a Girard-Perregaux calibre) in the same tone as the gold-based case, and the openwork dial with a two-toned galvanic treatment, hand chamfering, Côtes de Genève decoration, entirely engraved oscillating weight in 18 carat gold and platinum. It is a form of noble watchmaking that exudes but yet one must be attentive to the functionalities of the piece in order to grasp the watchmaking essence.
Contrary to most classic perpetual calendars, the displays of Daniel Roth’s Instantaneous Perpetuel Calendar do not change their position gradually over a period of several hours, but, as its name indicates, make the change instantaneously.
To arrive at these instantaneous changes, that take effect for example, at the end of the year where all the indications must jump at the same moment, it was necessary for the Daniel Roth watchmakers to ponder, calculate, and balance the forces of the various springs that come into play with extreme precision and a rare subtlety. These forces must be sufficiently powerful to be able to operate instantaneously, regularly, and perfectly adjusted so as not to block the mechanism at the critical instant. In passing, this instantaneous system eliminates the danger that exists in manipulating the mechanism and winding it while there is a gradual change happening. Refined, consistent, very readable and with a simplified usage, this realization of Daniel Roth perfectly demonstrates the level to which the brand has reached.
Source: Europa Star April-May 2006 Magazine Issue