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The Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date features an innovative case shape, Fleurisanne engraving and a finely executed movement.
Bovet has a wonderful knack of creating watches imbued with complexity and beauty in equal measure. Its latest model, the Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date, crafted to celebrate the maison’s 195th anniversary, is a horological tour de force and yet, despite its involved mechanism, it remains highly wearable.

Last year, I reviewed the Récital 18 Shooting Star and marvelled at the unusual case which resembles a lectern with its sloping form. The case is at its thinnest at 6 o’clock and steadily increases in thickness, reaching its maximum height at noon. I am pleased to see this innovative shape return with this new watch, the Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date.

However, beyond its unusual case, this timepiece is mechanically very complex with a lengthy specification destined to impress.

The dial

The hours and minutes are proclaimed with sinuous golden hands. The upper dial area features a black backdrop resembling an inverted apostrophe-shape.
At 2:30 a large date display resides. The ‘tens’ sit closer to the sapphire crystal than the ‘units’ but the difference between the respective heights of both date discs is minimal, aiding legibility. Despite the date display being large and clear, the size of the mechanism at its heart has been kept to a minimum, bestowing a sense of neatness.

Positioned at 10 o’clock is the power-reserve indicator. Surprisingly, despite having only one spring barrel, this timepiece has a prodigious power reserve of 10 days. Winding the watch is not too labour intensive either thanks to the spherical differential employed. This mechanism features ‘tridimensional toothing with multiple gearing of one of its pinions.’ This is subject to two patents, underscoring the innovative culture of Bovet. By equipping this watch with a differential it ‘halves the number of turns of the crown’ required to energise the mainspring fully.

Both winding and adjustment of indications, including the date, are performed solely with the crown, obviating the need to ever remove the watch from the wrist. Indeed, adjusting the date is performed with a simple press of the crown.

The flying tourbillon resides at 6 o’clock. The mechanism is festooned with thermally blued screws. The balance wheel features six masselottes set in-board to mitigate disruption to the airflow. The bridge of the tourbillon is titanium in order to reduce mass, mitigate power consumption and prevent magnetism. The tourbillon is fitted with a small, golden hand which is a seconds display, making one full revolution once per minute.

The lower hemisphere of the dial is the plate, exquisitely embellished with Fleurisanne engraving. The detail accords wonderful texture to the surface and is the product of an artisans use of deftly applied tools.

The case

The 44mm, 18-carat red gold case is highly polished and features the aforementioned inclined profile. The strap, adjacent 6 o’clock, is affixed at one point, bestowing a delicacy to the aesthetic appearance. Each end of the strap bar is adorned with a blue cabochon.
The upper strap attachment envelopes the crown and, once again, is fitted with a blue cabochon. It has a delightful arcing profile, conferring a visual lightness to its appearance.

Rounded edges grace the upper surfaces of the bezel which give way to the recessed surfaces of the case-band. The union between the case-back and the case-band repeats this interaction.

The brown alligator leather strap is paired with an 18-carat red gold pin buckle.

The movement

The sole spring barrel dominates the dorsal view of the watch. The barrel cover is adorned with sunray-brushing.
18-carat white gold case

Adjacent the crown, an aperture reveals the crown wheel and the castle wheel. The latter is adorned with the company’s nomenclature.

A large bridge above the spring barrel is beautifully decorated with an elaborate, scrolled motif. This is punctuated with blued screws, jewels and small apertures which disclose the wheels below.

The movement features “trompe l’oeil” going train bridges, which at first sight appear to be four separate bridges. However, this is not the case as the bridges are actually composed of two parts. The decision to adopt this approach grants easier servicing. The bridges are exquisitely appointed.

The wheels are circular grained and the bridges are engraved with golden text. The anglage is executed to an impressive standard. The disc plates are sunk and chamfered. Both sides of the plate are chiseled with an extremely delicate pattern. The inherent danger when performing this work is that one slip of a burin renders everything to the container labelled ‘waste’. There is no margin for error, reinforcing the prowess of the artisans at Bovet.

Pascal Raffy, the owner of Bovet, said that with the Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date he wanted to ‘opt for an architecture typical of 19th-century watches, with a full plate and bridges hollowed our into a series of scrolls.’ In this regard the craftsman and craftswomen at Bovet have fulfilled his wishes. However, they have also delivered more, much more in fact. Indeed, this is a movement with sublime functional and aesthetic qualities.

Closing remarks

The Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date blends two complications, a flying tourbillon and a big date display. This in itself is incredibly impressive. However, where the Bovet shines particularly brightly is with its exquisitely executed movement.

The bridges are sumptuously appointed with an engraved scroll motif. The plate is adorned with Fleurisanne engraving and the overall architecture of the movement implores the wearer to spend a little time admiring the case-back as well as the dial.

Such an impressive specification may lead the wearer to consider this watch only for occasional use, however, it is clear that the intention of Bovet was to craft a watch which could be worn on a daily basis and in this regard they have succeeded.

The innovative case shape distinguishes this timepiece as exceptional and, in every regard, it is. Indeed, I can’t think of many other watches which match the allure of this exceptional virtuoso performance.

Technical specifications

• Model: Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date

• Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 44mm; height 13.45mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); curved sapphire crystal to front and caseback.

• Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds on tourbillon; big date; power reserve indication

• Movement: Caliber 17BM03-GD, hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5Hz); 45 jewels; power reserve 10 days

• Strap: Alligator strap with 18-carat red gold pin buckle

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Bovet Fleurier Tourbillon Virtuoso III Perpetual Calendar

Bovet Fleurier SA is a Swiss brand of luxury watchmakers dating back to 1822, founded by Édouard Bovet. It was most famous for its pocket watches manufactured for the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century. Upholding its rich heritage and history, the company continues to pursue aesthetic finesse as well as technical virtuosity.

It is known for its high-quality artisan dials, seen in the Fleurier Miniature Painting models, engraving, and its seven-day tourbillon. Bovet watches were also the pioneers of the see-through case back and skeletonized movements. One of their most recent innovations is the Amadeo case, which allows a wrist watch to be converted to a pocket watch or table clock without the use of any tools. Once again, an innovation to uphold its heritage of pocket watches.

In this article, we review the Bovet Fleurier Tourbillon Virtuoso III Perpetual Calendar in 18k rose gold. It retails at S$300.
It is a 5-Day Tourbillon with Retrograde Perpetual Calendar and Reversed Hand-Fitting. This watch is not only aesthetically achieved, it is also technically innovative and at the same time a bastion of Bovet’s past.

The design concept was centred around allowing the tourbillon cage to remain visible at all times. The manufacture came up with a solution by cleverly tweaking the dial, to centre the hours and minutes display. This was against the convention of hour and minute markers being at the periphery of the dial. Since the human eye is accustomed to interpret this type of analogue display, reading the hours and minutes poses no problem despite of the smaller size.

As a result, abundant space was created both for the day and month indicators, as well as a large tourbillon cage. The day and month indicators were diametrically opposed and could use larger inscriptions. To further enhance legibility, the names of the days and months were printed in white on sapphire discs. This transparency allows the subtleties of the mechanism to be admired without taking up excessive space.
The design of the case also draws inspiration from its prestigious forebears. The two crystals are curved to evoke the Grand Feu enamelled case-backs of pocket watches manufactured by BOVET. This particular characteristic influenced the very architecture of the movement, since watchmakers concentrated the thickness of the movement in its centre, in order to optimise space requirements according to the theory beloved by Le Corbusier.

Because of the reversibility of the timepiece, each component is decorated by hand on both sides. As is customary, artisans at the Manufacture spared no effort in their work. Worthy to mention are the sharp edges of re-entrant angles and rounding-off of the tourbillon cage bridges. Two operations for which can only be accomplished by the dexterity of the human hand.
If you were wondering why a single watch has two faces, that is because of the reverse hand-fitting. It allows hours and minutes to be displayed on the reverse side. This original characteristic is present on all timepieces in the Grandes Complications collection and is closely linked to the convertibility concept of its Amadeo case. What’s more, the attention to detail and finishing is not left to chance. Every single spot on the bridges have been engraved by hand with the Fleurier motif beloved by collectors for 192 years.
With such a beautiful case and movement, the crown jewel, the tourbillon is set majestically in its cage at 6’o clock. The tourbillon was invented to counter the effects of gravity on the timepiece by placing its regulating organ in a vertical axis. This is significant for when the timepiece is used as a pocket watch or a table clock.

Both a technical marvel and an aesthetic masterpiece, the large tourbillon is finely finished, and made to look good on both sides. The arms that connects it to the three-quarter plate emphasise its contours and combine with the circumference of the dial to form an “8”, the symbol of good luck and prosperity. The dimensions of the tourbillon, its inertia, and the design of the balance-spring, allow the heart to beat at a frequency of 21,600 V/h on a 5 days power reserve.

Bovet’s Amadeo Fleurieur Virtuoso Tourbillon III is indeed a virtuosic masterpiece. It is as if the watch makers were inspired by Liszt. Beautifully finished and technically superior, we have almost no qualms with this piece. However, it looks too extravagant to be worn on the wrist. It may be due to its size which wears a bit large at 46mm with an onion crown at 12. The size could be due to its pocket watch schizophrenia. Otherwise, the watch could have been perfect, if only it were more subtle.

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Bovet Rising Star

Pascal Raffy acquired the House of Bovet in 2001. That same year, Bovet co-founded the Fleurier Quality Foundation (FQF). On that occasion, Pascal Raffy promised that the first Bovet timepiece to be certified would be manufactured entirely in its own workshops. 

A stunning debut Bovet Rising Star

The Rising Star tourbillon is manufactured entirely by DIMIER 1738 Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale (Prestigious Craft Watchmaking Manufactory) which was acquired by Pascal Raffy in 2006; above all, this is the most complicated timepiece to have been developed and manufactured by the manufacture.

With its 608 components, the Bovet Rising Star tourbillon is the emblematic model of the Grand Complications Collection. Its movement has a 7-day power reserve. In addition to showing the hours, minutes and seconds, the Rising Star tourbillon displays two further independent time zones. Each of the two has a day/night indicator and a disc listing twenty-four cities for the twenty-four different time zones.
The Rising Star tourbillon features an Amadeo case which enables the timepiece to be converted into a reversible wristwatch, a miniature table clock or a pocket watch. Because the timepiece is reversible, the watchmakers decided to display the hours and minutes on an off-centre dial on the other side, so creating a fascinating second face.

Excellence is required

To qualify for the precious label, the timepieces must pass a wide range of stringent tests. Each timepiece must satisfy both chronometric and aesthetic criteria, guarantee perfect reliability, provide evidence of high quality manufacturing processes and be decorated according to the most rigorous norms of Prestige Watchmaking. Last but not least, all of the components must be manufactured and assembled in Switzerland (100% Swiss Made).

To justify a chronometric standard worthy of the label, the movements must first obtain a certificate issued by COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute). Since this certification is delivered for the movement alone, it is a recognized fact that the performance measured in the test may no longer be the same once the movement has been cased-up. That is why a second chronometry test is performed by the Fleurier Quality Foundation, once the timepiece has been completed and cased-up. These measurements are taken on a machine that has been specially developed by and for the FQF: the Fleuritest. This is a computer-controlled robot. The movements and daily activity of a wearer’s wrist have been programmed according to various models. With these different models, the Fleuritest simulates the natural movements of a day’s use, while at the same time measuring and analyzing the rate and accuracy of the timepiece.

The FQF label also requires the timepiece to be Chronofiable validated. Chronofiable is an independent laboratory whose role is to test the dependability of the components and entire timepiece over the long term. Accelerated “ageing” of the timepiece is simulated. 

The reputation of Bovet was acquired over nearly two centuries through the combination of perfect chronometry and unrivalled use of the decorative arts applied to watchmaking. The Rising Star tourbillon therefore had nothing to fear from the uncompromising rigour of the experts at the Fleurier Quality Foundation. 

The movement was presented to them first in kit form so that each component could be examined individually in its entirety. The choice of materials, the resources deployed, the manufacturing techniques, selection of finishes and decoration have all been analysed at great length to determine compliance with the regulations adopted by the Foundation. A second expertise takes place once the movement is finished and assembled in order to test the consistency between theory, aesthetics, functions, chronometry and durability of the movement. Because of the complexity of the Rising Star tourbillon movement, twelve months were needed to complete all of these tests.

The principles underlying the Fleurier Quality Foundation likewise embody those of the Bovet. Logically enough, the two seals therefore appear on the same timepiece. This event had to be awaited patiently because Pascal Raffy first needed to restore Bovet’s status as a Manufactory and guarantee its sustained excellence.

This first for Bovet is also afirst for the Fleurier Quality Foundation because the Rising Star Tourbillon is the most complicated timepiece to be certified by the Foundation in the twelve years of its existence.
Named after a Swiss watchmaker who was a pioneer in selling Swiss timepieces in China, Bovet watches are easily distinguished by the Lépine style pocket watch case with a crown at 12 o’clock. In fact, the straps on all Bovet watches are detachable to convert them into pocket watches, which Bovet calls the Amadeo convertible case. This pocket watch styled case has been the hallmark of the brand since it was resurrected in the nineties by Roger Guye and Thierry Oulevay (who later founded Jean Dunand). In 2001, the Fleurier-based brand was acquired by Pascal Raffy. And just earlier this year Swiss trading house DKSH acquired a fifth of Bovet, as well as the right to distribute the brand in Asia.Mr Raffy has made Bovet into a small high horology brand – production is about 2300 pieces a year – with a lot of focus on decorative dials and cases. Equally significant is Mr Raffy’s decision to vertically integrate Bovet. In 2006 Bovet acquired STT (formerly Progress Watch), which is best known for the tourbillon movements it supplies to various brands including Harry Winston and Peter Speake-Marin, renaming it Dimier 1738. Bovet also acquired dial producer Valor Lopez & Villa in the same year. Having acquired those companies, Bovet now makes nearly all its high complications in-house, along with all of its dials.  A good example of Bovet’s movement as well as dial expertise is the Rising Star Triple Time Zone Tourbillon. Equipped with an in-house Dimier calibre with seven day power reserve, the Rising Star is a limited edition of 190 pieces as well as nine unique pieces, one of which is shown here. The unique pieces have miniature paintings on the reverse dials.  The miniature paintings are inspired by the pocket watches Edouard Bovet sold in China in the 19th century. This elaborately styled aesthetic, which includes enamelling, engraving and even pearls, is the second design characteristic of Bovet, in addition to the crown at 12.
This is the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Rising Star Triple Time Zone Tourbillon. This exquisite watch has a round case made of 18K pink gold encrusted with 64 baguette-cut diamonds, weighing around 4.27 cts. The first guilloche dial is a brown color with golden hour and minute hands. The power reserve indicator is located at the 12 position. The second and third time zones are at position 9 and 3 positions respectively and include a day/night indicator. A unique two-sided tourbillon combined with a second hand resides on the bottom of the clock. On the reverse side of the watch is a small guilloche brown dial, branded hour and minute hands in pink gold. Like all watches in the Fleurier Amadeo collection, this model can easily be transformed from a wrist watch to a pocket, desktop watch, or even worn as a necklace on a chain. This model is equipped with a Bovet Fleurier 16BM01AI mechanism and has a power reserve of 7 days. Alligator strap with black classic clasp in 18K pink gold. Limited Edition of only 19 copies.

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Bovet Virtuoso IV

Bovet Virtuoso IV is really cranking out new high complication watches – which, in truth, is not a particularly new thing, given the luxury watch maker’s activities over the last few years. When Bovet comes up with a concept they like, the result is a lot of high-end artistic models that subtly build on one another. Put the new-for-2015 Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV next to one of the other Virtuoso models, and you might not be able to immediately tell the difference. If you find yourself in that position, you likely aren’t alone. In fact, the best way to identify the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV among the other models might very well be looking for the elephants. Or the doves, angels, or horses, that is.

One of the new aesthetic features of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV is the placement of hand-engraved figurines on the dial of the watch. All Bovet Virtuoso models that I can think of already exhibit lots of hand-decoration, but for the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV, clients can choose characters in addition to merely decorative engraving. Bovet hasn’t made it clear how many they will produce of each version (my guess is that production will be limited and many of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV models well be “on order” only), but the options for the “mirrored characters” that appear to support the subdial for the time on one side of the dial are available as a pair of elephants, doves, angels, or horses.
The effect is pleasing, and the expressive engravings give the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV a character much more like a relic from the past as compared to some of its related Virtuoso models. The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watches come in 44mm-wide 18k red gold or white gold cases. A key distinguishing factor for these particular Bovet watches is the rich doming of the sapphire crystal which allows for a deeply expansive view of the dial and movement from either side of the watch.
Bovet’s double-sided watches make for a great gimmick – but are they just a trick? The Amadeo-style case allows for the watch to be worn with either side up. That means by flipping the straps around you can make either side of the watch the “front.” This is a theoretically highly appealing opportunity that in practice requires two dials with very distinct appeal. Is it just me, or are the two dials on the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watch slightly redundant? One dial offers just the time with rear view of the tourbillon. I actually like this side a lot, given its attractive view of the movement and more traditional dial with a hand for the hours and one for the minutes.
On the other side of the same watch is another dial for the time (same time as on the other side of the watch) and here you have a better view of the tourbillon, a power reserve indicator, and the time expressed with a retrograde minutes hand and a jumping hours window. Yes, this side of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV does more than the other side, but does it do that much more? Alternatively, what is the compelling reason for a wearer to place the other more simple side of the watch face up if it looks aesthetically similar (but with no animals) and actually less functionality?
There doesn’t exactly need to be an answer to this and it is nitpicking, for sure, but at the same time, it is an important question about overall conceptual refinement in a watch that costs over $300,000. Bovet has offered dual-side watches in the past that, in my opinion, have more good reasons for each side to be displayed. The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV’s major theme seems to be an impressive watch dial and then a similar but slightly more impressive watch dial on the other side. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love the watch, only that I don’t think changing the sides will be a big part of why I love the watch.
The Amadeo-style case continues to get a lot of attention from Bovet. Perhaps rightly so, with its “convertible character” meaning that you can not only wear the watch case on both sides, but you can also turn the watch case into a small desk clock (by removing the straps and using the caseback as a stand), a pendant watch, or a pocket watch. I would, however, like to see Bovet offer additional executions of the case so that it has some new visual style elements with each new model.

The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watch contains the in-house made Bovet caliber 16BM02AI-HSMR manually wound movement. A cool “trick” of the movement is having a full 5 days of power reserve without visually having the space for any sizable mainspring barrel. The movement also operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph), which is rather standard for most tourbillons. With that said, I would quite like to see more tourbillons that operate at 4Hz versus 3Hz. I wonder what is materially stopping more 4Hz tourbillons from being produced.
The Replica Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watches will, once again, be available with one of four dial engraving styles in an 18k white or 18k red gold case

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Bovet Virtuoso

Can’t a guy just want everything? People will often tell you that you can’t have everything you want; the pessimists will go further and say you won’t get what you want, you just have to accept what you get. To them I say, “phooey!” Bovet Virtuoso

Phooey to the notion that I have to accept things the way they are and phooey to the belief that I can’t get what I want. I understand it won’t be easy, and some things are definitely out of my control, but I refuse to accept that I need to give up on wanting what I want!

The world convinces us that we shouldn’t hope or dream, that we shouldn’t ask for “too much” and should be happy with what we are given, have realistic expectations. Sure, gratitude is a virtue that can smooth out the roughness of existence, but it shouldn’t become complacency that dulls the passion within the soul. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (and the thousands of people at NASA) didn’t just accept that walking on the moon was too difficult to even try. They worked to make the things they wanted a reality even if they did know it may not happen.

That is my position on life: being happy with less but working for more. I fully expect not to get everything I want (I’m not delusional), but I am not easily discouraged when going for things I truly want. When it comes to my passions, I’m willing to put up with a lot of failure and setbacks while trying to achieve something great. Failure is always an option, and some paths are doomed from the start. But I still try because I’m always searching for better. Bovet Virtuoso

Or at least that is how I hope to be: seeing inspirational people striving to have all the things they want helps keep the fire alive inside of me. That brings me to Bovet (and demonstrates my masterful use of the segue).

I’ve spoken before about how Bovet and its designers and engineers often work very hard to keep design intent through the manufacturing process, demonstrating via the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One how the brand definitely works to make all the things a reality.
In 2020, Bovet released two new versions of the Amadeo Virtuoso VII that show once again how the brand strives to maintain design intent and continue pushing to achieve more with each model.

Bovet Amadeo Virtuoso VII
First released in May 2015, the Virtuoso VII has seen at least one limited edition update in the intervening years. And 2020 sees the launch of two new models that upgrade decoration and finishing, reminding me that Bovet brings its A-game to every launch.

With so many cool models every year, I never got around to covering the Virtuoso VII back then and it is long overdue: luckily Bovet decided to spark my memory by taking the model a bit further. And that is saying something for this piece.

The basis for the Virtuoso VII has to start with it being an Amadeo model, meaning it comes in the famous Bovet interchangeable case system that allows for the watch to be a pocket watch, a wristwatch, and, if desired, a small table clock.

Not to mention that with the Amadeo system, the wristwatch can be flipped over and worn with the “rear” facing out because it features dual-sided dials for a handful of possible configurations.

Even if there was nothing else interesting about the Virtuoso VII , being dual-sided is cool by itself. But that is only the beginning.
Since the Amadeo system isn’t restricted to just this model, what do we have specific to the Virtuoso VII? I’m glad you asked, dear imaginary reader!

The Virtuoso VII is, as previously mentioned, a dual-sided watch with both sides displaying the hours, minutes, and seconds. On what we might call the front there are center-mounted hours and minutes with a subsidiary seconds window at the bottom of the dial. Due to the overlap with the center dial it only displays zero through 20 seconds using a triple-spoked indicator tied to the fourth wheel.

On the opposite side is another display for the hours, minutes, and seconds, and, unusually, these seconds don’t run backward as you might expect.

The time subdial is offset above center at 12 o’clock; thanks to a reversing gear train, it runs the proper direction to keep things straight. Being offset means that the system doesn’t have to be stacked concentrically like a flat differential to make the direction change.

The seconds subdial is different and looks somewhat like a differential system when you look through the window to the movement. As the gears cascade through the movement, they change direction to maintain the clockwise motion on the other side.

Perpetual calendar anyone?
That takes care of the basics of the time display, so what else is there that makes the Virtuoso VII special? Well that would be the incredible and easy-to-read perpetual calendar encircling the central time dial on the “front” of the watch. Built on top of the main plate of Caliber 13BM12AIQPR (or as I have nicknamed it, the “smash the keyboard” caliber), the perpetual calendar mechanism is partially displayed behind a set of sapphire crystal disks that display the day, month, and leap year indications at 9, 3, and 12 o’clock respectively.

The date is displayed via a retrograde hand positioned concentrically around the center dial, arcing from 8 to 4 o’clock. Previously, this was a ring that had either white or black lacquer applied with the opposite color pad-printed for the numerals; the new versions have a circular brushed steel finish with black pad-printed numerals.

This is the same on both the green and red guilloche versions as well as the brushed blue-dial variation. That departs from the previous models as the ring was set to match the black or white lacquered portions of the dial, but on these models it is kept more in line with the movement aesthetic.

Most of the perpetual calendar mechanism is sadly still obscured beneath the central dial and date ring, but enough is visible to get a sense of what is going on. The sapphire crystal disks containing the day, month, and leap year indications use white pad printing for the letters and numerals, which then blend somewhat into the heavily finished and engraved movement below except for the selected indication.

These float above chamfered and polished quasi-bridge structures that are filled with black lacquer to provide a backdrop for the indications, helping them stand out visually for quick reading.

Thanks to these design choices, the highly complex mechanism below allows for a very user-friendly display, which is not always the case with complex high-end mechanics.
As a triangular pointer hovering between the central dial and the date ring, its arm and mechanism hidden, the retrograde date display also works at keeping things easy to read. Now you know I love a great retrograde mechanism and would always love it to be visible, but given the visual focus of the Virtuoso VII I can understand instead trying to bring focus to craftsmanship and decoration.

Having everything
Aesthetics define Bovet in my opinion: it’s a style that doesn’t simply focus on one or two aspects, but highlights everything if possible. It wants you to get all the things. This is also why the updated models benefit from even more complex finishing, because Bovet realized there were even more things that the Virtuoso VII could have.

In this case, it is a complex amalgamation of what appears to be two different spiraling guilloche patterns that represent the brand’s lotus flower symbol. A spiraling wave pattern diced up by a sunburst pattern, the dials and small decorative trim pieces further out present a stunningly vibrant aesthetic, thanks in large part to the translucent enamel on top of the pattern.

Available in either emerald green or ruby red, the guilloche dials take what was already a stunning watch and turn the volume up to 11. But what if you don’t want it turned up to 11?

That is what the rear side of the watch is for. Missing the extensive hand engraving across all of the bridges and plates, the “rear” of the watch, when worn flipped over, has a more technical look to it with the exposed balance, power reserve display, and a focus on the clean and simple gear train.
The more minimalist look is aided by the more traditional and ubiquitous Geneva stripes, circular graining, and snailing found on the visible components. The two carryovers from the front of the dial are the numerous blued screws and the guilloche dial giving the face a pop of color but in a more subdued fashion compared to the front.

But no matter which way you end up wearing or displaying the Virtuoso VII, there are details to fit a wide variety of moods.
The Virtuoso VII is a mighty impressive timepiece, although it’s hard to say it stands head and shoulders above the rest that Bovet offers because this brand’s lineup is chock full of examples that follow the same principles as this: namely giving a watch as much value with the details as possible.

The Virtuoso VII is a strong continuation of a history of excellence extending back over the centuries. Because of that commitment I am perpetually excited (see what I did there) to see what Bovet does next!

But first, the breakdown!

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Bovet Amadeo

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

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Bovet Fleurier 0

Bovet Fleurier SA is a Swiss brand of luxury watchmakers chartered May 1, 1822 in London, U.K. by Édouard Bovet. It is most noted for its pocket watches manufactured for the Chinese market in the 19th century. Today it produces high-end artistic watches (priced between US$18,000 and $2.5 million) with a style that references its history. The company is known for its high-quality dials (such as the Fleurier Miniature Painting models), engraving, and its seven-day tourbillon. 
Watch making was introduced to Fleurier by Daniel-Jean-Jacques-Henri Vaucher, an apprentice of Daniel Jaenrichard, in 1730. At the time the area was known for metal working, a natural result of the iron deposits discovered locally in the 15th century. Watchmaking flourished in and around Fleurier during the late 18th century but because production was sold on credit for the international markets, prices were undercut and economic destabilization brought about by the Napoleonic warscaused watch 
Bovet watches include much artistic detail, and the company gives the artisans a great deal of independence in creating the elements of the watches, thus encouraging creativity. The Chinese watches were originally sold in pairs in a mahogany box, both for good luck and so that the user would have a back-up watch if one needed repair, as repairs would sometimes take more than six months to complete. The design characteristics of the watch emphasized the elements which appealed to Chinese
Brief Brand History for : Swiss Luxury Watch brand Bovet Fleurier SA was launched May 1, 1822 in London, U.K. by Edouard Bovet. Well-known for its 19th century Chinese market pocket watches, today, . Today Bovet produces high-end luxury artistic watches and has become famous for its incredibly intricate dials, engraving and its seven-day tourbillon.
Nestled in among the mountainous green forest overlooking the valley’s larger towns of Fleurier and Môtiers is one of the area’s historical attractions: a stone castle whose earliest sections were built in the early fourteenth century. Since its purchase in 2006, the Château de Môtiers has been fully renovated by Bovet owner Pascal Raffy and now serves as the brand’s headquarters
Bovet Tourbillon Fleurier 0 features the AMADEO  case, which allows the tourbillon watch to be converted into a miniature table clock, a pocket watch or a reversible wristwatch without the use of any tools whatsoever. A match made in heaven, considering that the tourbillon was invented in the era of the pocket watch to counter the effects of gravity when the timepiece is positioned vertically

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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.

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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.

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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.