“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Heart art

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At the beginning of the 19th century, Éduard Bovet, a man from Switzerland discovered the Chinese market for himself with his reliable artisan watches. He soon became very popular; the Bovet name has become a synonym for the watch in China. At the onset of the 21st century another man, Pascal Raffy revived the Bovet and Dimier brands, not only with significant investments but by infusing it with a spirit that celebrates perfection, precise details and artistic design.

Pascal Raffy knows a thing or two about exclusivity. This year they showcased Bovet’s novelties at the Hotel Beau Rivage, which is located by the Geneva Lake. The “Impératrice Salon” and conservatory which holds the memory of Austrian Empress and Hungarian Queen Sissi provided a beautiful setting for the stunning new watches.

Anne and Christophe guide me through the salon, where in addition to the novelties I also glimpse into the work process of the artisans who create the brand’s miniature paintings and magnificent engravings. In the middle of the space several people are gathered around a large table chatting, as Bovet’s enthusiastic and dedicated fans admire the latest collection.

Bovet presented the first female watch with a tourbillon two years ago. The watch became hugely popular, and this year they introduced a new piece: the limited edition, unique, oval Récital 9 Miss Alexandra Tourbillon. The watch has perfect proportions, it is small enough to fit beautifully around a woman’s wrist, but large enough to include a significant mechanism too. The mechanical hand-wound movement is fitted with hours, minutes, power reserve, and precision moon phase functions. The illustration of the moon face is cartographically accurate; the engraved surface shows the moon phases even in the dark.

Pininfarina’s cooperation with the brand is rather fruitful, after several watches made together, the OttantaTre, 5-Day Tourbillon with retrograde Minutes and Reversed Hand-Fitting has been introduced in a limited edition of 83 pieces to the celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the Italian design house. “The hours are displayed in the centre of the timepiece. The jumping-hour numerals on the disc are literally cut out from the latter. When the hour numeral to be displayed reaches its aperture, it places itself above a super-luminova dot that lights up the time. The minute and power reserve indicator hands share the same axis as the hour disc, and each travels across a segment of a circle where its respective indication is displayed in an original way.” (Bovet press release)

The pieces in the Dimier collection are numbered Récital watches. The new Récital 10 (the limited edition includes 50 pieces in red gold and 50 in white gold) fuses the Récital 0 and Récital 1 versions. The hands and indications are reminiscent of the Récital 0 while the unique tourbillon carriage and bridges evoke the Récital 1. The discrete yet exciting exterior – the central hours and minutes are displayed by the iconic pair of serpentine hands – hides a 7-day tourbillon.

Two novelties have also been issued in the Amadeo series; both are available in a limited edition of 50 pieces in white gold and 50 pieces in red gold with a hand-stitched alligator skin strap. One of the watches is the Fleurier Amadeo 7-day Skeleton Tourbillon. It is a great challenge to create such a skeleton watch without technical compromises in the interest of aesthetics.  The Maison’s engraving masters did an exceptional job and the result resembles a jewellery-like miniature more than a watch mechanism.

The other Amadeo piece is the Amadeo Virtuoso with jumping hours, retrograde minutes, and seconds on the tourbillon, a power reserve and reverse hand-fitting functions. The Virtuoso is an ethereal and breathtakingly proportioned watch; it is clearly visible that during the design of the piece, beside the utmost precision the unique aesthetic principles so characteristic of Bovet were also kept in mind.

Bovet’s story is an exciting revival in which centuries of the past are merely the beginning… The brand not only has a distinct character and style, but there is a heart beating in every watch. The company has a kind of unique personal charm, which they infuse into every piece they create. It keeps on ticking on every wrist, neck or pocket that is adorned by Bovet.


Photo credits: BOVET, Loupiosity.com.
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