Posted on

Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso

Every luxury watch brand — no matter its level of technology and complication, no matter the affluence of its intended audience — makes a great effort to justify the often eyebrow-raising price tags on their most high-end models. Many tout their in-house movements, or high levels of hand decoration on the movement and/or dial. Others point to their complex, precious-metal cases with elegant finishing. There are exceptionally long power reserves, rare combinations of horological functions, and clever breakthroughs in micro-mechanical technology. And of course, there is collectibility brought about by the sheer rarity of a limited-production timepiece. The Bovet Fleurier Virtuoso V, whose price comes in at just under $70K, offers all of the above, as well as substantially more — namely, a patented case construction that makes it truly four timepieces in one.
Bovet’s Amadeo convertible case system allows the watch to be used as a wristwatch (one with two distinctively different dials; all of the pieces in Bovet’s Virtuoso series, in fact, are designed to provide information on both sides of the movement), a pocketwatch; or a small table clock. After reversing the case to display the opposite dial side, both ends of the strap can also be easily detached and reattached, by means of two push-pieces on the bow over the winding crown and a hinged bezel; the included gold-plated silver pocketwatch chain can also click easily into place to replace the top half of the strap, allowing the owner to channel his inner 1920s gentleman and carry the watch in a vest or jacket pocket. The same hinged bezel that folds out to disengage the bottom half of the strap also can be deployed as a stand to position the watch on a table or shelf.
The horological complications provided by the watch’s technically stunning and lavishly decorated Virtuoso II caliber include jumping hours, retrograde minutes, reverse hand-fitting, and a double co-axial seconds display. It’s probably best that we savor this horological smorgasbord one dial side at a time.

On one side, an off-center, white lacquered subdial — with gold hands, gold Roman numeral hour appliqués, an applied gold Bovet logo and a cursive-script “5 Jours” indicating the power reserve — draw the eye at 12 o’clock. Sensuously curved bridges surround it in a flowing embrace. At 9 o’clock, a blued hand indicates the watch’s power reserve: when it’s pointing at the “+” that means the watch is fully wound and ready to run for five days; when it’s hovering near the “-” it’s time to wind the mainspring. Cursive script can also be found on the dial’s flange, which is decorated with an inscription in French: “Faictes de mains de Maitres pour servir ponctuels Gentilshommes, ce par quoy attestons longue valeur,” which translates to “Born from hands of Masters to serve punctual Gentlemen, by which we certify enduring value.”
Between the 8 and 9 o’clock position, we get a view of the oscillating balance wheel, rhythmically beating at a leisurely frequency of 21,600 vph. Directly across from it, the center wheel and its bridge are in plain view. Balancing out the elegantly symmetrical dial architecture is the small seconds cage at 6 o’clock, with a wheel-like triple hand, each “spoke” covering 120 degrees, sweeping across a 0-20 curved scale. Tilt the watch to the side and glimpse into the seconds aperture through a loupe, and you’ll see this watch’s patented technical marvel — its co-axial seconds display with reverse hand-fitting, which allows the seconds to continuously run clockwise on both sides of the movement. Which brings us to the other side of the dial…
The watch’s other face offers even more lavish decorations, with a more unconventional and (to be honest) slightly less intuitive means of telling the time. The seconds are once again positioned at 6 o’clock, but here with a single blued hand sweeping across a 0-60 scale. Radiating outward from the seconds cage and curving voluptuously toward the large subdial at 12 o’clock are a series of layered plates, with alternating lacquered and hand-engraved finishes, held (and highlighted) by blued screws. The bright white lacquered subdial at 12 o’clock indicates the time via a jumping hour numeral in a centered aperture and a single retrograde minutes hand pointing at a 0-60 scale. Inscribed numerals in an elegant font appear at each 10-minute mark, with small but legible indices in between. At the start of each new hour, the numeral in the window changes, while the hand simultaneously jumps back from 60 to zero to begin timing the next hour. As Bovet points out, it’s a rarity in watchmaking to combine these two functions (jumping hour, retrograde hand) — perfectly synchronizing the jump of the hour disk with the flyback of the minute hand is an immensely difficult feat — and it makes for an effective and suitably dynamic visual for timekeeping, as you can see in the below video:
The five-day power reserve, which we have mentioned in passing thus far, is another important asset, and notable for the fact that it stores all this energy in a single mainspring barrel. This, the brand says, helps the balance’s frequency to remain stable over the entire power-reserve period. Of course, from a practical standpoint, a five-day reserve means winding the watch less frequently, which means putting less wear and tear on its gears overall. Some, like myself, will find fewer occasions to wind the watch to be an asset for another reason: the one aspect of this piece that I found less than ideal was the actual winding of it, by means of the onion-style grooved crown at the top of the case. Of course, this unusual positioning of the crown is a hallmark of Bovet that goes all the way back to its pocketwatch days, but on this wristwatch, ensconced under the curved bow that attaches the top half of the strap, the crown is a bit challenging for larger fingers to grasp and turn. That said, the winding system itself is quite efficient; just a few dozen turns moves the little power-reserve pointer up the scale to the plus side. Another elegant detail emerges here, too: blue sapphire cabochons in both the center of the crown and in the bolts on the sides of the bow.

All of this watchmaking artistry is contained within a gleaming, polished 18k rose-gold case measuring 43.5 mm in diameter and 11.8 mm thick; rather modest proportions, relatively speaking, for a timepiece of this level of complexity, but certainly large enough to draw admiring eyes from across a room, which, trust me, it will.
The black alligator leather strap — which is, of course, actually two specially equipped strap segments that allow for ease of switching in the Amadeo convertible case system — fastens this substantial but not-too-weighty timepiece to the wrist with a simple, elegantly curved gold buckle bearing an engraved Bovet logo. It’s best to be careful, however, if (as I was) you’re unable to resist demonstrating this watch’s cool convertibility to fellow watch lovers in a public space: the unattached strap loop can very easily slip off and get lost. We had a minor panic at my office when it fell off during photography and we needed all hands on deck to retrieve this tiny but crucial piece of the package before the cleaning crew arrived.

Such practicalities aside, however, perhaps the most appealing of this watch’s many attributes — and to return to my earlier statement about four timepieces in one — is its versatility. While I confess I didn’t spend a lot of time with the Virtuoso V in its pocketwatch or table clock mode, I did switch from “classical” dial to jumping-hour dial quite often, depending on my mood and surroundings. Since I had the pleasure to wear it during several work-related trips, I was also able to use its two dials to keep track of two separate time zones; the jumping hour disk can be adjusted independently with a corrector in the side of the case.

The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso V is a limited edition of 100 pieces, priced at $68,500 — or, if you’d prefer, $17,125 each for the quartet of exceptional gold-cased timepieces you receive in this horological ensemble.
With its latest interpretation of the Virtuoso V, Bovet 1822 replaces the original stepped arrangement seen in the 2015 model with a guilloché-decorated blue dial that covers the entire surface of the movement. Adding purity to the design, this solution also enhances readability.After decorating the metal base with a guilloché motif, the artisans of the Maison applied a dozen layers of translucent blue lacquer, before finally polishing it to give a perfectly flat surface. This process creates depth and reflections adding appeal to the timepiece.The Virtuoso V integrates two complications that are difficult to combine: jumping hours and retrograde minutes. In fact, the jump of the hour disk must be perfectly synchronized with the jump of the minute hand.

Belonging to the Fleurier Complications Collection, the Virtuoso V is fitted with the patented Amadeo convertible case, allowing it to be transformed into a reversible wristwatch, a table clock, or a pocket watch, without the need for a single tool.As a result, hours and minutes can be found on both sides of the 21,600 vph hand-wound movement. A power reserve indicator completes the indications by displaying a remarkable autonomy of five days, ensured by the use of a single barrel.

Posted on

BOVET Amadeo Fleurier 39

For almost two centuries, the Maison BOVET has tirelessly elevated the decorative watchmaking arts, continually enthralling collectors and art lovers with the virtuosic skills of its artisans.
This collection unveils miniature painting variations produced on mother-of-pearl with fans as their theme. This choice is particularly appealing because of its universal nature, as fans have existed since antiquity on all continents and in many different cultures. Only very few objects have managed to survive the centuries unaffected by fashions and cultural change. But fans and timepieces share more than just this permanence. Dozens of different professions are involved in manufacturing both fans and timepieces, bringing together artists and artisans. Painters, embroiderers, sculptors, engravers, finishers and pleaters are some of the most commonly found professions, and fan-makers can be officially recognized as Maîtres d’art. BOVET Amadeo Fleurier 39

Just like watchmakers, the artisans work with many different materials including ebony, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, silk, paper, feathers, metals and noble gemstones. Very early on in their history, fans took on a number of different roles in addition to their original function. They became an essential accessory in the traditional Japanese theatrical form of Noh, as they have done in many ancient or contemporary dances. They have also been liturgical objects, a component of aristocratic dress, or simply a canvas for works of art over the years and across many cultures.

Fans made of feathers, silk, lace or inlaid mother-of-pearl are painted on the dials of the collection’s timepieces. Dozens of hours of work were required to render the materials and their volume, with the painter recreating every single detail and fiber of the material with astounding realism. To achieve such a level of definition, the painter uses a brush ending in a single marten hair, and produces the work entirely under a microscope.

Each of these miniature painted dials is a unique piece, fitting perfectly within the 39 mm diameter Fleurier Amadeo case, available in white gold or red gold. It took BOVET seven years to develop the Amadeo case. In just a few simple movements, this ingenious patented system enables the user to convert his or her timepiece into a reversible wristwatch, a table clock, or a pocket or pendant watch for men’s and women’s models respectively, without the need for a single tool.

This collection of fans is a facet of the Art of BOVET, which is renowned for the care lavished on its customizations. In addition to the miniature painting theme, the Maison offers individuals the opportunity to have their timepiece hand-engraved and gem-set with a personal design to match it to their taste and personality.
The Bovet Art of Miniature Painting
From its first manufactured timepieces, BOVET has distinguished itself through its extremely fine miniature paintings, making the Maison extremely successful with its first clients, which included the Emperor of China. Unfortunately, the industrialism of the 20th century would see the decorative arts dwindle to a point where the know-how of enamelers and miniature painters almost died out. These crafts were protected by a rare few, and BOVET is one of them.

The painting technique used by BOVET today for its miniature paintings is the polished lacquer method, which enables it to obtain all the characteristics of Chinese lacquer. Of the various techniques still practiced today, it gives the best definition of details and withstands impacts better than enamel. Like other techniques, polished lacquer requires several successive firings, according to the motif’s complexity and the number of colors used.

The Maison prefers to use a mother-of-pearl base as it offers an ideal level of grip for the tiniest details. It is coated in translucent lacquer to reveal the richness of its iridescent reflections. Hidden by opaque colors, it forms a miniature marquetry that varies according to the design. Every dial is unique.

The artisan’s work consists of firstly creating the design or reproducing it on a scale that is generally five times larger and adapting it to the shape of the dial. Once this initial operation is approved, the design is reproduced on the correct scale and a basic outline is drawn on the dial. This is then followed by many different operations; the background is painted and the decoration and details are successively applied, color by color, using a fine marten-hair brush. Between each operation, the artisan applies a layer of lacquer to set the details in each color. Whenever the lacquer is applied, the dial must be fired and then polished. Once the final layer of lacquer has been applied and fired, the last operation involves filing the dial down to its definitive thickness using ever gentler abrasive motions prior to the final polish, which reveals the depth of the work.

In accordance with this innovative spirit, BOVET and its artisans have developed many other techniques that can be used alongside polished lacquer. Some dials therefore feature gold leaf details, while others have been supplemented by Super-LumiNova so that the miniature painting can be viewed by day and by night.

Posted on

Bovet Fleurier fired enamel miniature painting

Miniature painting and its various techniques have always underpinned the renown of Bovet Fleurier timepieces. Recognised and highly prized in the 19th century, richly decorated pocket watches were made essentially at the behest of the Emperors of China.
Rich in colour and varied themes, dials deployed all the creativity of artists of the time. Today BOVET perpetuates this Art by offering a collection of FLEURIER timepieces featuring essentially mother-of-pearl dials decorated with miniature paintings reprising the themes of period pocket watches or meeting growing demand by offering subjects such as portraits, animals and floral themes.
Certain religious themes such as the Madonnas of Russian icons are enhanced by a rarely seen technique never before used to decorate dials: Gold and silver leaf gilding. The gold or silver leaf can be applied only to a perfectly smooth base. The artist must then apply an intermediate lacquer to the mother-of-pearl or metallic base. This lacquer, called “mixion” is a kind of glue specially formulated to be compatible with other resins and able to withstand the same stoving temperatures. The technique of application remains traditional and involves the use of the gilding cushion and gilding knife. After stoving, the gold and silver leaf is “burnished” or polished with agate, and the contours are straightened with a dry point.
At the 2009 Show Bovet Fleurier presents a pair of Unique dials produced using the lacquering technique. Lacquerwork was a major art form representative of the Art Deco years. While enamelled lacquer may show similarities with enamel in terms of the final result, it is on the other hand more resistant to shocks and can be applied to any base provided the latter can withstand a temperature of at least 170°C. Its application involves no risk of deformation of the base, even when precious stones are present.There can be no denying the success of these techniques and their exceptional and unique finish. Thanks to the handful of artisans who practice their craft exclusively for BOVET, this Art has been placed on a sure footing for the future.
mother of pearlMiniature painting on mother-of-pearl calls for exceptionally sharp eyes and dextrous hands. To complete a single dial, the painter spends an average of 40 hours, peering attentively through the binocular magnifier.
1st stage: adapting a subject to the dial
Pictures are usually rectangular, BOVET Fleurier dials are round; and they have a hole in the middle for the hands. These constraints often mean the artist has to recompose the original subject so that it is adapted to its new canvas.
The artist draws an outline of the paintable area of the dial five times as big as the original, in which he composes the subject in a pencil drawing for approval.
2nd stage: transferring the subject to the dial
Transferring the subject to the dial is done by tracing a grid of horizontal and vertical lines over the picture. The same grid, but smaller, is also painted on the mother-of-pearl dial with a fine brush. The grid provides points of reference of each element of the picture. 3rd stage: preparing the palette of colours
After a first visual appreciation of the colours needed for his task, the painter composes his palette, preparing paint mixes, which will be maintained and modified as the need arises.
He then reshapes his brushes. Its bristles made from hair of a marten, as none available on the market are fine enough for this art. He will get through at least 10 and as many as 20 such brushes before the painting is finished.
4th stage: the most difficult part first
Given that miniature painting needs total concentration and sometimes up to 70 hours of meticulous work under the magnifying glass, the painter’s rule is to start with the most difficult details. In a portrait, the eyes and the facial features are dealt with before anything else.5th stage: in search of colour
The search for the right shade is a constant challenge; the artist has to identify the dominant colour of each detail of the subject. The base colour for each element is painted on uniformly to prevent the mother-of-pearl showing through.
6th stage: applying the paint
The base shade is applied and the other colours are progressively blended in to achieve the desired gradation and nuances. Many extremely fine additional layers are then applied, yet the completed painting is hardly five hundredths of a millimetre thick.7th stage: drying in the kilnThe dial has to pass through the kiln several times to dry each layer of paint, so that a new layer of colour can be painted on. Repeated drying also minimises the wet paint’s exposure to dust, which can ruin the work. The paint takes between 30 and 60 minutes to dry — depending on its thickness — in a 100° C kiln. Particularly complex subjects need up to 60 passages in the kiln. The completed painting is finally baked for five hours to prepare it for finishing.
8th stage: dial finishes
A transparent lacquer is now delicately applied over the whole dial surface. This is done in a special cabin in which air is filtered to two microns. Five layers are needed to apply 0.15mm of lacquer. The dial is then dried in the kiln for 24 hours at 120°C, before being smoothed on disks to reach its final thickness. After cleaning, the lacquer is polished to its full brilliance. The holes in the centre and for applied hour-markers are then pierced. Finally, the dial markings are transferred and the gemstones or hour-markers are fixed in the dial.Each miniature painting is unique and made to order only.

Posted on

Bovet Fleurier

It is impressive the number of high-end watches that Bovet comes out with on an annual basis. Among the most complicated models they have recently released, most of them have Amadeo-style convertible cases, and many fall under the Virtuoso family – like the Bovet Virtuoso VII that I reviewed here. This model looks a bit like an Amadeo Virtuoso piece, but isn’t; instead, what we have here is the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart – and it feels a lot like a Virtuoso but with a cooler name. Let’s check out what interesting surprises Bovet put into this rather exclusive timepiece.
The name “Braveheart” conjures up a lot of memories for me – all of which revolve around the classic Mel Gibson movie about him fighting the English in Scotland. I think of the great fight scenes, the cool face paint, and the incredible sound track. Sadly, the masterpiece of a score was done by James Horner who recently passed away, quite young, actually. I had a chance to meet him one time and he was a super sweet guy. Anyhow, knowing that most people would imagine the film, what relevance does “Braveheart” have to this watch?
I’m actually not entirely sure, but I think it has to do something with the fact that this watch doesn’t use a regulation system like that in most other watches – and there is a series of at least three important parts to it. First is the fact that rather than using a traditional hairspring like most mechanical watches, the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart uses a cylindrical hairspring as part of the regulation system of the watch, which timepiece lovers also often happen to warmly refer to as the “heart” of the watch. Is a cylindrical hairspring “braver” than a standard flat one? Maybe, if you are a watchmaker…
Does a cylinder-shaped hairspring do something different or better than a flat one? Well, theoretically, a cylindrical hairspring offers a bit more isochronism, which means more consistent accuracy over time. You might recall seeing cylindrical hairsprings on other watches from companies such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre, with the Duometre Spherotourbillon and the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique Quantieme Perpetual Calendar. In terms of real-world performance, I don’t really know if the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart or other timepieces with cylinder-style hairsprings are more accurate, but they look really cool, and when anything in a mechanical movement appears more three-dimensional, we all benefit as a result.
The second interesting element to the in-house made Bovet Dimier caliber 17BM02AI22J (sexy name, right?) movement is the fact that it also doesn’t use a traditional balance wheel. In fact, it isn’t really a wheel at all, but rather, a “felly.” This three-prong balance device has three weighted sides, and the idea was to both reduce weight and improve aerodynamics to reduce air drag. Bovet also designed the “balance felly” to be fully adjusted for inertia to ensure the best performance. This patented device within the movement is a further point of visual interest and mechanical distinction helping the beating heart to be that much more brave.
Of course, the entire regulation system spins on its own axis, as it is a tourbillon. It also happens to be a flying tourbillon with a new system (also patented by Bovet) which is designed to increase efficiency as well as improve the view of the tourbillon from either side of the case. Recall that because this Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart watch has an Amadeo-style case, the wearer can choose to wear the timepiece with either side being on top… and yes, the watch has a dial to read the time on each side.
All of the above areas of uniqueness are said to be about improving chronometric performance, but of course, Bovet (like most watch makers) does not make actual claims about accuracy. In a sense, to most collectors, the actual performance is less important than the idea that the movement was designed to perform better and is thus unique (and has an interesting story). I’d actually like to see a return to brands mentioning actual performance ratings rather than merely waxing poetic on how hard they worked to create an accurate watch. It Is like they get the consumer all excited about this cool technology to increase the accuracy of a mechanical watch and there is no reward at the end of explaining how accurate they are.
So we will never know if the six patented elements inside of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart make for a truly high-performance mechanical timing machine or rather one that is just designed to theoretically work better. Despite the performance enhancing tech, the movement inside of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart actually has a rather low 18,000 bph (2.5Hz) frequency. If the watch had all that new stuff and was at least a 4hz movement, I think I would be a bit more impressed.

Nevertheless, the manually-wound movement does have a long 22 days of power reserve (along with a handy power reserve indicator). More so, the movement displays the time differently on each side of the watch. One has a dial for the time with traditional hour and minute hands, while the other side has a traditional hour hand that is topped with a retrograde minute hand. The movement also happens to be quite beautiful not just in design but also in decoration.
On the latter front, you have a welcome amount of polishing and finishing, but also some lovely hand-engraving – which, thankfully, doesn’t feel like “too much.” Also, note the view on one side of the dial of the crown winding system that uses an interesting looking “spherical” gear to wind both of the large mainspring barrels at the same time. Given the dual-sided and skeletonized view of the movement, you can not only see right through it, but you can also see the movement’s operating parts in extremely exposed detail.
The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart case is a larger 45.2mm wide and available in 18k red gold, 18k white gold, or platinum. Moreover, among those models are a range of limited edition or piece unique models going up to over a million dollars in price. Again, the Amadeo-style case is designed to be convertible, which means you can wear the watch with either side up, and use the watch as a pocketwatch, pendant, or desk clock. The Amadeo case is, of course, inspired by traditional pocket watches which one reason why the crown and “ribbon-style” crown guard are at 12 o’clock.
Impressive and interesting, the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart watch is nevertheless exclusively an exotic treat at an exotic price. I don’t know if I’d wear one everyday (assuming I could afford it) but somewhere among these many interesting and nicely detailed tourbillon watches made in-house at Bovet is something for every aspirational (or actual) luxury watch owner. All the iterations of the watch are limited editions of 30 pieces, and there is one piece unique model in platinum with a matching bracelet that is covered with diamonds. Price for the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Braveheart watch

Posted on

Bovet Dimier Récital 11

Shattering the prevailing opinion that women just want a pretty dial and couldn’t care less about mechanical complications, Bovet presents a timepiece that seduces on the mechanical and aesthetic fronts – and how! Complicated yet feminine, poetic but not affected, Bovet’s red gold version of the Bovet Dimier Récital 11 Miss Alexandra puts on a blue-hued show of the phases of the moon. Equipped with a precision moon phase mechanism developed by Bovet, and displaying some of the most refined artistic finishes in watchmaking, this watch is a wearable piece of horological art.Bought by Pascal Raffy in 2006 with a quest to convert the historic brand into a temple of decorative arts and Haute Horlogerie, Bovet is very much a niche brand. Like Jaquet Droz, Edouard Bovet focused on the Chinese market and by 1822 was supplying the Imperial Court with richly enamelled pocket watches set with pearls and precious stones. Such was the admiration and success of Bovet in China that the founder’s surname became synonymous with the word ‘watch’ Bo Wei in Chinese. Many of Bovet’s sumptuously decorated pocket watches and richly engraved movements are museum pieces and the high degree of ornamentation led Edouard Bovet to create the first transparent casebacks.Much to the delight of collectors, about a third of the pieces are one-off treasures and production is limited to around 2,000 watches a year. Because of its high level of vertical integration – with its own movement and dial manufactures – Bovet is currently able to craft about 85% of its calibres in-house. The Dimier collection, to which the Récital 11 Miss Alexandra belongs, is conceived and constructed entirely in-house at Bovet’s Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale DIMIER 1738. Characterised by a crown at 3 o’clock (as opposed to the majority of Bovet’s collections with crowns at 12 o’clock) the Dimier collection is populated by tourbillons, jumping hours, triple time zones all the way up to the spectacular Récital 22 Grand Récital, a 9-day flying tourbillon, tellurium-orrery and retrograde perpetual calendar.The Récital 11 we are reviewing follows in the footsteps of the 2013 Récital 9, a 7-day tourbillon and moon phase model that marked the brand’s first oval-shaped watch case for women. Like Breguet’s royal Reine de Naples timepiece, the Récital 11 is housed in an egg-shaped case that, in my opinion, is one of the most flattering and feminine of shapes. Measuring 41mm in diameter, the watch is large, but who would want anything smaller when there are so many beautiful details to admire?Crafted in warm 18k red gold, the oval case is set with 58 round-cut diamonds on the bezel and briolette diamond in the crown. Winding the watch with the large fluted crown is a real pleasure. Instead of the traditional corrector on the caseband to adjust the moon phase complication, Bovet has integrated the corrector directly into the crown (the diamond, in this case) avoiding problems of water-resistance and fiddly corrector tools, as well as respecting the pure and polished contours of the case.This is where things get really interesting. Packed with details, the dial is a showcase of Bovet’s refined artisanal and artistic handiwork. Starting with the protagonist, the moon is rendered with a high degree of realism and the exact cartography of our celestial neighbour has been engraved on a mirror-polished steel plate. The craters of the moon are filled with a luminescent substance and the sky surrounding the moon is engraved on a blue PVD-treated nickel plate that appears to be twinkling with stars. Unlike traditional moon phase functions with two moons on a moving disc, Bovet uses two pallets (like lollipops) that move over the fixed Moon. Fitted with a precision moon phase module, entirely developed and manufactured by DIMIER 1738, it will only require a one-day correction every 122 years.As you can see, blue is the thematic colour of the dial but is used in different shades to denote different functions. The background sky and pallets that hide and reveal the Moon are picked out in an almost electric metallic blue, hand-chiselled with a bris de verre (shattered glass) motif. Forming an elegant figure eight, a bit like Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde family, the lower half of the dial features the hours and minutes disc in a much darker, almost midnight-blue tonality. Carved from translucent blue aventurine glass with ten diamond hour markers, the hours and minutes dial recreates a sparkling, star-studded night sky. But there is another detail that cannot be overlooked. The hands, with their squiggly shape and rounded arrow tips, perform a romantic gesture every hour. When the minutes hand rests on top of the hours hand, the combined shape forms a heart!Behind the time and moon phase functions is a richly hand-chiselled background with a shooting star on the left (crowned with a diamond) and a view of the hand-chamfered and polished steel levers and jumper spring of the moon phase corrector on the right. Winding the watch with the large gold fluted crown is a real pleasure, but watching the mechanics responsible for resetting the moon phases jump into action is a true spectacle.The reverse side of the watch offers more aesthetic pleasures and reveals the mechanical self-winding movement – calibre 11DA16-MP – with its generous 72-hour power reserve. Paying homage to the founder’s predilection for hand-engraving his movements with floral motifs, the 22k gold rotor displays the classic Fleurisanne engraving for which the House is famous. Naturally, the blue motif of the dial is carried over to the movement with the inclusion of blued steel screws.As you can tell, I am bewitched by this timepiece. I love the generous case size, the realistic rendering of the Moon and the celestial blues, but what really gets me going and makes me extremely happy is that some brands are finally listening to women who enjoy complications, who enjoy mechanical wonders but still insist on beautiful, feminine objects.The Dimier Récital 11 Miss Alexandra is also available in white gold and with baguette-cut diamonds. It can also be ordered without diamonds and with a hand-chiselled case to match the decoration of the movement. Presented on a blue alligator strap, the 18k red gold model with diamonds is attached to the wrist with an 18k red gold ardillon buckle and retails Bovet Dimier Récital 11 Moon Phase

Posted on

Bovet Dimier Récital 9

If you are reading this article on the day of its release then it is Valentine’s Day. Lucky you (and lucky Bovet)! For me, Valentine’s Day is a charming occasion when men are expected to be unpredictable, extra-thoughtful, and gift-bearing. But it can’t be just any gift, it needs to be one that stretches our resources to a point where we can show her that we love her THAT much. Basically we need to hire a consultant on how NOT to be ourselves and take out a loan. If you really want to stretch all that to the max, you can invest in the close-to-$200,000 Bovet Miss Alexandra jewelry tourbillon timepiece. She will hopefully be impressed (because we can never predict that can we?). In the end it is worth it when they smile and gush with positivity.

Depending on your tastes of course, this is the first true women’s Bovet Dimier Recital collection watch. Its formal name is the Bovet Recital 9 Tourbillon Miss Alexandra 7-Day Tourbillon with Moon Phase… in the Dimier case with a Dimier movement. Boy is it nice. That egg-shaped case in precious metal with optional diamonds and skeletonized and decorated movement is stunning. Kind of makes you wish it was a men’s piece. No, Bovet has enough of those for the guys already.At 37.2mm wide and 41mm tall it isn’t a petite piece, but the overall look and feel of the watch are of course inherently feminine. That goes for the graceful curves and “heart” hands. As you can see, the shape of the hands makes it so that several time a day they form a heart. It happens most nicely at about 11pm or 11am, and you know what that means? “Love time…” because the watch said you have to. Thankfully that is the extent of the hearts on the watch. Bovet implemented them in a tasteful and subtle way as they know nothing makes a high-end watch more cheesy that making hearts out of too many precious materials.

The Recital 9 Miss Alexandra will come in either an 18k red or white gold case – with a range of diamond options, or no diamonds at all. Actually, no matter what, there will be a diamond as the endstone on the tourbillon bridge. The version I got to check out was in red gold with lots of smaller round-cut diamonds, but you can get one with larger baguette-cut stones in the bezel. Don’t forget that rather sizeable diamond cabochon in the crown.For me, the Bovet Recital 9 is all about the movement. I simply love these delicately skeletonized calibres with their timeless cut lines. Inside Miss Alexandra is an in-house made Dimier caliber 15BM01-MP manually wound movement with a seven day power reserve. Note that right above the large “realistic” moon phase indicator is a useful power reserve indicator. It is easy to miss but nice to know it is there.

The moon phase moon disc doesn’t move on this watch, but rather a double-circle disc in sparkly blue moves over the moon to cover it as a way of representing the moon phases. The Bovet logo applied to the rear of the sapphire crystal is a tasteful touch and looks oh so nice over the “sky” blue area around the moon. Below you will see the tourbillon anchored only by the bridge assembly. What I like about this is how well it allows you to inspect the movement and see how the tourbillon operates. Her inner watch nerd (which she undoubtedly has if you are getting her this watch, or if she is getting it herself) will come to appreciate this as well. And if she doesn’t, maybe you’ll take a stab at wearing it? Come on, how far will you go to wear a rather exclusive high-end tourbillon watch?
The decoration style of the movement is interesting. It consists of small cuts to the bridges and plates which almost create the illusion of more gems. The same decor is applied to the blue area around the moonphase – only that area has been PVD coated blue. The result is a fantastic sparkle and adds a classy look to the movement. If you want to read another review of a Bovet Recital watch you can check out the aBlogtoWatch Recital 0 watch review here. While she’ll probably still love you if you don’t get her one of these for this (or future) Valentine’s Days, you might still want to show her. What I most like about Bovet is that they operate in a mindset that royalty and aristocracy are still plentiful and more than present. The Recital 9 Tourbillon Miss Alexandra watch will be limited to 50 pieces in 18k white gold and 50 pieces in 18k red gold.

Posted on

Bovet Dimier Récital 20 Astérium

Bovet creates some of the most masterfully crafted and highly complicated timepieces out there. Last year, in 2016, they released the Bovet Récital 18 Shooting Star watch – a limited, otherworldly timepiece that we looked at hands-on here. Alongside the recently announced Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date release, Bovet is continuing the tradition of their Récital models with the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium watch which includes a flying tourbillon with a night sky chart, perpetual calendar, and a celestial array of astronomical functions, all with a 10-day power reserve. It’s an absolutely breathtaking creation that retains Bovet’s reputation for making rather grandiose pieces.Bovet knows how to capture the hearts of those fascinated by wonderfully complicated and intricate timepieces that aim to be a symphony on the wrist. With so much going on, it’s a safe bet that the translucent blue sapphire dome stands out first. It has been fully laser-engraved with a map of the stars and constellations visible from Earth before being filled in with Super-LumiNova. This touch alone is indication enough that Bovet set out to create something that goes far beyond what most would expect from a wristwatch. With such a majestic set of functions, design aesthetic, and extreme attention to detail, we can agree that at this point it actually belongs to the ranks of high-end mechanical art.The Bovet Récital 20 Astérium watch is 46mm in diameter and built around the concept of the sidereal year, which follows the actual orbital period of the Earth around the Sun – 365.25 days. It’s a calendar function that is actually visible from the case-back, where we find a single central hand that performs a complete rotation every 365.25 days. Additionally, as we move from the outer edge at the case-back bezel, we find the annual calendar (dates and months), signs of the zodiac with corresponding constellations, and indications for the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes. At this point, it’s easy to see how one could simply revel in sheer admiration for such dedication and attention to detail. But as is typical with Bovet’s designs, there’s always more.Moving to the dial-side of things, the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium manages to pack in two hemispheric indicators and a hemispheric precision moon phase indicator with an integrated equation of time complication. At the lower right-hand portion of the night sky, we find a 10-day power reserve indicator that shares a spot with the retrograde minutes hand. Now, the hour hand itself manages to take care of three functions. As it moves along the dedicated 24-hour dial, it also points north and carries the elliptical window characteristic of the night sky in addition to indicating the time.To top it off, we get a stunning view of the patented double face flying tourbillon, which gives us a glimpse at what’s powering it all. The movement is the 17DM02-SKY – a hand-wound caliber that operates at a frequency of 18,000vph. The tourbillon itself is equipped with a variable inertia balance wheel, which Bovet pairs with carefully selected balance springs. It appears to be a serious dedication to chronometry along with everything we’ve come to expect from Bovet and more. The Bovet Récital 20 Astérium will be made in either red gold, white gold, or platinum case configurations which can be customized as Bovet has historically offered. It comes on an alligator leather strap fitted with an 18K red or white gold ardillon buckle.Bovet concerns themselves with creating works of horological art for collectors who can appreciate and afford the product of their craft. The Bovet Récital 20 Astérium takes its rightful place within the Récital range and it will be a visual horological treat to hopefully share in hands-on photos soon. The Bovet Récital 20 Astérium

Posted on

Bovet Dimier Récital 16

Iam never shy about taking an opportunity to cover one of Bovet‘s exciting Recital collection timepieces and here is a look at the new for 2014 Bovet Recital 16. In the video below, you’ll see a bit of the Bovet Recital 16 as well as the other new Recital watches for the year. Recital watches exist in the Bovet Dimier collection, which is most notably marked by their lack of a “ribbon” crown protector (and crown) at 12 o’clock. Therefore, in addition to being often rather complex, the Bovet Dimier watches tend to have more traditional cases with crowns at 3 o’clock.

I believe that the official name for the Recital 16 is the Bovet Recital 16 Collection Dimier 7-Day Tourbillon With Triple Time Zone. It contains a mechanical movement known as the “Calibre Rising Star II,” and offers the main time plus the time in two other cities. For lovers of the complex and the bold, the Bovet Recital 16 is going to be a delight, even if it doesn’t have the elegant grace some aficionados seek out.Speaking of elegance and grace, there are other Bovet watches for that. Recital timepieces are often about technical excellence and pushing the design envelope. I also like that Bovet sort of exists out side of the rest of the watch making world. They produce their own movements, they produce a lot of their own parts for the cases and dials, they produce parts for other brands, and their design ethos is refreshingly unconcerned with what other luxury watch brands are doing.

For more about what the Bovet brand is all about, I feel it useful to point to my interview of Bovet owner Mr. Pascal Raffy. There are really not that many luxury executives worth listening to at length, but Mr. Raffy is one of the exceptions. Perhaps because he actually has interesting and thought provoking things to say not only about luxury itself, but also in regard to the process of creating luxury goods. With that said, let’s explore the Bovet Recital 16 a bit more.There are two versions of the Bovet Recital 16 that you can see in this article. One model is in 18k red gold and the other is in 18k white gold. This latter model has a few other decorative elements that include mother-of-pearl dials for the secondary and tertiary time zones, as well as a ring of baguette-cut diamonds around the bezel. While these aren’t traditionally particularly masculine decorative features, they actually work pretty well in the Bovet Recital 16 and don’t take away from the “men’s watch” appeal of the piece.At 46mm wide and relatively thick, there is perhaps little that can take away from the masculinity of the Bovet Recital 16. Even with the large size, the curved lugs ensure a very pleasant fit on the wrist, that never feels loose or obnoxiously large. 46mm wide is one of those sizes that can make a watch look much too large on most wrists, or absolutely appropriate, depending on the shape of the case. Note the rounded blue sapphire crystal as the cabochon in the crown (most commonly seen in Cartier watches).

Perhaps the most interesting thing to do with the Bovet Recital 16 is adjust the time. Typically such a basic act isn’t all that interesting, but here you get the added delight of seeing all three of the time dials moving at the same time. It is a fun view despite being, of course, rather simple. With that said, it is clear that you can adjust all of the time zones at the same time, which will all have synchronized minute hands. That means this isn’t the type of watch that allows each of the different times to be totally independently set. Having said that, you’ll find that on a travel watch, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

What makes the other two time zones interesting isn’t just that they are there, but that they each have their own day/night (AM/PM) indicator, as well as reference city indicator. The former function is displayed in the middle of the subsidiary dials as a disc displaying the sun or stars moving around slowly throughout the day. This is a pretty useful feature, as the other time zones are in a 12 hour format – making it difficult to know whether it is day or night in those places.Pushers on the side of the case are used to adjust the second and third time zone indicator faces on the dial. The good news is that the Bovet Recital 16 case doesn’t have a lot of extra crowns on it, but the bad news is that you’ll need a small tool to adjust the watch as your naked fingers will not be able to do it. Bovet isn’t the only brand to do that, and I wonder how owners feel when it comes time to adjust their watches. Actually, to be fair, most watch makers supply little pusher tools to adjust the watch which will not scratch the case. Then again, how many owners carry these small tools around with them? I’ve always thought it would be good to have a small tool in the strap buckle if a watch relies upon inset pushers to make adjustments to the movement.

The Calibre Rising Star II is a rather complex manually wound movement that also contains a tourbillon and 7 days of power reserve. What makes it the most interesting to me isn’t what it does, but more how it looks. The Bovet Recital 16 has no real dial, but makes the most out of having a totally open movement with various dials and pieces of information on it. Let’s be honest, despite the many items on the dial, hands, and indicators, the Bovet Recital 16 is rather legible for what it is. There is even lume on the hands for darkness reading.A question you probably shouldn’t ask is “who needs to know just three time zones?” I am sure enough people do and hopefully they will find Bovet. Thankfully, the complex dial is also laid out more-or-less symmetrically – which adds a few attraction points to the watch. The top of the watch dial contains a power reserve indicator for the movement indicating the full seven days, while the lower part of the dial has the tourbillon on its long and thin bridges. Don’t miss the dark gray finishing of the movement bridges which add just a bit more visual interest.

Bovet didn’t design the Bovet Recital 16 for all luxury consumers able to afford its rather outstanding price. It is the shining example of a niche model for a select group of people that nevertheless aims to garner enough “horological street cred” to ride with the bigger boys. Price for the Bovet Dimier Recital 16 watch

Posted on

Bovet Dimier Récital 15

Each released during the same year, the Bovet Dimier Recital 15 replica is the slightly larger brother of the Bovet Dimier Recital 12 watch (hands-on here). If you check out the previous article, you’ll recall that I really liked the Recital 12 for a range of reasons. It is not only the first Recital family watch that is good for daily wear, but it is also the the thinnest, and houses a new in-house made Bovet movement. The Bovet Recital 15 uses the same “Calibre Virtuoso II” base mechanical movement, but adds retrograde minute and jumping hour complications to the mix.

“Dimier” is a sub-family of watches in the larger Bovet watch brand. They are most notably known for having more “standard” watch cases with traditional lugs, and without the “ribbon crown” of many other Bovet watches, such as those in the Amadeo collection. It seems like almost all Bovet Dimier watches are in the Recital family, which continues to expand quickly, with at least one or more new models each year.At a glance, the Bovet Recital 12 and Recital 15 watch models are very similar. The case is the same 42mm wide style, though the Bovet Recital 15 is a bit thicker, due to the extra complication of the jumping hour and retrograde minute functions. In truth, I think it was very strange from a marketing perspective for Bovet to release both of the watches during the same year, and for the numbers in their names to also be so far apart. Though, that is sort of how Bovet works, being independently owned and operated. So they can do whatever they want.

If you are wondering what the Bovet Recital 13 and 14 watches are, you can keep wondering. I believe Bovet informed me that there will never be a Recital 13 because of many people’s belief that 13 is an unlucky number, and the Bovet Recital 14, to my knowledge, has not yet been released… even though there is a Recital 15 and Bovet Recital 16 (hands-on here). Given the work put into the new base movement in the Recital 12 and 15, I believe that it is likely Bovet will return to this movement in the future with additional variations.While the Recital 12 watch is 9.1mm thick, the Bovet Recital 15 is 12.8mm thick. That isn’t “very thick” by most standards, but it doesn’t have the svelte feeling of the Recital 12 on the wrist. I also don’t know if the Bovet Recital 15 has the option of coming with an 18k gold bracelet (like the Recital 12 does) in addition to the black alligator strap. The dial combines both traditional elements with the beautiful aesthetic of an open face showing off the movement. The design is pretty elegant and feels like it was meant to be looked at, in contrast to some open-face dials that look like you caught a mechanical watch movement in its underwear. In other words, I have to say that both the Recital 12 and Bovet Recital 15 watches are very nice to look at. Of course, given Bovet’s nature, you can also get this watch with a diamond-set bezel.While the Recital 12 and Recital 15 are both based on the same movement base, they are quite different in how they are laid out and the Bovet Recital 15 makes a case for itself with the almost three extra millimeters of thickness. One of the most interesting features is the “double seconde coaxiale” system. The subsidiary seconds dial at 9 o’clock goes right through to the back of the movement, and there are double seconds hands. However, the two seconds hands are not directly connected by a single axle. That would imply that if the seconds hand is running clockwise on the front of the dial, it would run counter-clockwise on the rear of the dial. Instead, there is special gearing in the movement to ensure that the seconds hand is running clockwise on both sides of the dial. Not super functional, but still rather cool, and a nice detail.Whereas the Recital 12 watch has a power reserve indicator on the dial, the Bovet Recital 15 has a power reserve indicator on the rear of the watch. In fact, the caseback of the Bovet Recital 15 is much more impressive looking than that of the more simple Recital 12 caseback. In fact, if you look at them both, the funny thing is that the dial side of the Recital 12 is actually the caseback side of the Recital 15 (though without a time display). It shows you how flexible the Virtuoso II Calibre is. Each of the watches should have the same seven days of power reserve and are manually wound, operating at 21,600 bph (3Hz).

The indicator for the time on the Bovet Dimier Recital 15 is appealing because it has a nicely functioning retrograde minutes and instant-jumping hour indicator. While this is clearly a non-traditional means of indicating the time, it is nevertheless still very legible. To the far right is a window that displays the current hour, and to its left is a 0 – 60 scale meant to indicate the minutes. A retrograde hand is one that jumps back to its starting position when it gets to the end of a scale. Retrograde hands are interesting and fun to use but are generally less reliable than standard hands because they require increased maintenance over the years and can sometimes be set in only one direction.Bovet offers the Dimier collection Recital 15 watch in a few versions that include case in 18k white or red gold. The dials on the face can be in white or the pictured black as well. Also, as I said, the bezel can be polished gold or decorated with Baguette-cut diamonds. A fascinating and attractive timepiece, the Bovet Recital 15 might not have the simple appeal of the Recital 12, but satisfactorily adds some complication on the same interesting base movement for a distinct experience – though I still feel that it was odd for Bovet to release both models during the same year. Perhaps it was just their way of showing some of the variety possible in the Virtuoso II movement.

Posted on

Replica Bovet Recital 12 Watch

ovet is a brand I always like to watch carefully because they tend to come up with truly interesting new products and often in a quirky way. What do I mean by quirky? Well let’s take their high-end Dimier Recital collection. This year they released a total of four new Recital watches (often it is maybe just one). Those being the Recital 11, 12, 15, and 16. Why no 13 and 14? Well because according to Bovet those are unlucky numbers in one culture or another. Ok then… So, this is the Recital 12 and it uses a new movement concept. It also happens to be the thinnest Recital watch, being 9.10mm thick. Not “ultra-thin” but still really thin given most Bovet Dimier collection watches.It also has an impressively long and regal sounding name that I happen to be quite amused by. For the most part I will just call this watch the “Recital 12,” but its full name is the “Bovet Récital 12
‘Monsieur DIMIER’
Calibre Virtuoso II Spécialité Horlogère Dimier 1738.” Impressive sounding right? What do they mean by “Monsieur Dimier” exactly? Not really sure. A lot of Bovet design language exists on a plane of existence that I have not yet ascended to. Perhaps someday I will. Until then, I will respect that there are forces at play larger than myself which are both designing and giving titles to these timepieces.The watch itself is a relatively handsome creation that emphasizes mechanical interest as well as Bovet’s more eccentric take on elegance. Complex features are minimized in favor of a more simple movement that is nonetheless pleasant to look at with welcome convenience features. The movement is the Calibre Virtuoso II (13.75-70-A1) and it is a new base movement that does something interesting. The seconds hand pin goes straight through the movement giving it the ability to have a seconds hand on both sides of the dial or offering a view of the seconds hand mechanism from both sides of the movement. In terms of thickness the Virtuoso II is 3.9mm thick. The Recital 13 watch also uses this same base calibre for a similar effect.

In the Bovet Recital 12 you can see the seconds hand gear assembly spinning through the rear of the movement. On the dial side the seconds hand has only a partial distinct dial with numerals, but it does have a three-sided blued steel hand so that you can always track the seconds properly. This is part of a trio of circular elements which include a view of the gear train to bottom and above, a view of the balance wheel. Clearly the design of the movement was for it to be viewed and its detailing and symmetry is certainly enjoyable to observe.To the right of the seconds counter is the off-center dial for the hours and minutes. Against a black dial it is simple and legible with Arabic numerals and lume for darkness viewing. The dial for the time is available both with a black lacquered face as well as a white one. The dial is pleasantly classic and actually incredibly simple for Bovet standards. Though given its smaller sizes this helps legibility quite a bit.Above the hour and minute dial is a power reserve dial. The Virtuoso II is a manually wound movement, but one of the good ones. That is because it not only has a power reserve indicator, but a power reserve of seven days. That week’s worth of power reserve is based on the movement operating at a frequency of 21,600 bph. Given the overall simplicity I would say that the movement as well as the Recital 12 overall have a nice mix of features and aesthetic design choices.At 42mm wide the Recital 12 actually is small given most other Recital pieces, but it wears nicely on the wrist and is very comfortable given the shape of the case as well as the relatively thin profile of the case. The highly polished gold case certainly has a high-end feel to it, while Bovet offers the Recital 12 both in 18k white or rose gold. There is also an option to outfit it with a fully baguette-diamond studded bezel (it is a Bovet after all).I was quite happy with the Bovet Recital 12 actually as a dress watch. It incorporates elements of an elegant watch as a view into the movement for lovers of horological mechanics. It is also undoubtedly a Bovet in style and composure. At this price range there is a lot of competition, but few watches can quite match the rich personality that the Bovet brand has built around it. The Bovet Recital 12 watch will be limited to 150 pieces per gold color