Happy Birthday, Bovet! Celebrating 195 Years of Complicated Watches

Today, 195 years ago Bovet was officially founded in London. Ironically it did not mark the beginning of the journey, as Jean-Frédéric Bovet had already had the foresight several years earlier to send his three sons to London, the epicenter of watchmaking during those days. From there the brothers would venture out and win the favor of the Emperor of China and his court, with their elaborately decorated pocket watches.

Early Bovet pockect watch with glass back
Early Bovet pockect watch with glass back

They show off these decorations the brothers were the first to develop a glass case back. This sense of innovation lived on later in the history of the brand as they introduced in the 1920’s a pocket watch with a still mind-boggling power reserve of 370 days.

1920's Bovet pocket watch with 370 day power reserve
1920’s Bovet pocket watch with 370-day power reserve

Since 2001 Bovet is in the capable hands of Pascal Raffy, who reinvented the manufacture based on its history. High-quality finishes and elaborate decorations are still one of the brand’s pillars, much in the same way as they were during the time of the Bovet-brothers. Raffy didn’t stop there and went out to create a manufacture for which complications became a second-nature, all bound together with a design that stands out.

Bovet Virtuoso VIII
Virtuoso VIII
One of the watches Bovet is celebrating their 195th anniversary with is the Virtuoso VIII. It combines many of the historical aspects of the brand, such as elaborate engravings of the movement, and a generous power reserve of ten days. Bovet complements this with a big date function, as well as a flying tourbillon. Dials are made from black lacquer, ivory or blue aventurine, and you seriously wonder why Bovet felt the need to put “handcrafted” on the dial, as such intricate beauty can hardly be created by a machine.

Bovet Récital 18 Shooting Star
Récital 20 Astérium
The Récital 20 Astérium is another way in which Bovet celebrated its 195th anniversary. Again, this watch will tempt you with a flying tourbillon, generous ten-day power reserve, and even an annual calendar, but that is only scratching the surface of what this Bovet is really about. Constellations are laser-engraved on a blue sapphire crystal and even coated with Super LumiNova, displaying the night sky with great precision. An equation of time indicator provides you with the correct deviation between solar time and time as we measure it. The back of the Récital 20 Astérium only shows part of the movement, as the majority of it is dedicated to showing the dates, months, seasons and zodiacs.

It is this combination of complications, craftsmanship, and eye for detail that have made Bovet one of a unique brand in the field of Haute Horlogerie. Happy birthday, and that the best may yet to come!

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