The article starts here… Part #1
The brand returned to Môtiers, Bovet’s cradle, in 2006, when Pascal Raffy purchased the Château de Môtiers –once owned by Henri-François Bovet. The castle built in 1350 in the side of the mountain offers a stunning view of the Val-de-Travers sprawled out beneath. The master engraver works in the dust-free and tempered workshop established within the old walls, here is also where the assembly and the final quality control and the after-sales take place. It is a truly special experience to observe the engraver’s work first-hand. At the end of the multi-step engraving process, that requires firm strength in addition to delicate fingertips, the Fleurisanne pattern takes shape beautifully. One of the representative rooms of the castle holds true specialities. An antique display is filled with Bovet pocket watches, adorned with beautiful miniatures-all made in the 1800s. To my great surprise among them was one of my favourites, the 1835 Bovet Mandarin Duck timepiece purchased by Pascal Raffy at the Christie’s Important Watches auction last November in Geneva.
Bovet’s commercial office is located in Geneva’s Plan-les-Ouates district, and the watch dials are also created in this building. Depending on the dial work, the dial first receives an enamel layer, and then the individually polished numbers and diamond fittings are applied by hand. Gravure printing is also done in-house; the paint used is first evenly spread onto an engraved metal sheet, and is then applied to the dial with a special printing silicone head. As in every phase, the absolute perfection of the enameling, joining and painting is meticulously checked.
Bovet have always put great emphasis on the face of the pieces. Just as back in the 1800s, the manufacture paints astonishing miniatures on the dials, many of which are custom made.
The timepiece is assembled in Tramelan as well as in Môtiers for the Dimier collections, and the final quality tests are done in Môtiers.
How serious Pascal Raffy is about the family business is clearly exemplified by the fact that he appears on Bovet’s posters with his son Amadeo and his daughter Audrey embodies the feminine advertising campaign. It was mesmerising to see the faith and enthusiasm that the artisans working in the workshop have for their profession and Bovet, and to witness the captivating awe with which they explain the intricacies of watchmaking. They are a little – beyond their work- part of the watches.
Photo credits: BOVET, Loupiosity.com.
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