The story of the Maison BOVET officially began on May 1, 1822, but its destiny was set in motion by a major event four years earlier, in 1818.
The experienced watchmakers Frédéric, Alphonse, and Edouard Bovet left their home village of Fleurier in 1814, bound for London, to develop their sales skills. There, Edouard Bovet displayed remarkable talent combined with a visionary mind. This far-sightedness led him to board the Orwell, a ship belonging to the East India Company, on April 20, 1818 for a four-month odyssey that took him all the way to Guangzhou. He arrived in the Chinese city as a trailblazer on August 16 the same year, carrying four timepieces whose technical and aesthetic qualities were hitherto unseen. As the Swiss journal of watchmaking reported, a Chinese collector bought the four pieces for 10,000 Swiss francs each, which is the equivalent of 1,000,000 Swiss francs today. The enthusiasm for the Bovet brothers’ watchmaking quickly reached the Emperor, and then his court, and before long their work had captivated the nation. The impact was such that Bovet (pronounced Bo-Wei) became synonymous with high-end watches in the everyday Chinese language.
To mark the bicentenary of this key event in BOVET’s history and that of Swiss watchmaking, Pascal Raffy and the craftsmen in his manufactures have naturally chosen to design and make a timepiece dedicated to travel. Himself a collector of fine watches both old and new, Pascal Raffy has a perfect understanding of the expectations of fellow collectors, as well as those of Maison BOVET aficionados.
The Maison’s watchmakers have revisited the tried-and-true architecture of the flying tourbillon, introduced into BOVET collections in 2015, to offer a new and prestigious rendering of this classic feature. However, the comparison stops there. Having been fully redesigned, the movement is truly original. The Edouard Bovet Tourbillon is powered by a single barrel that ensures its impressive autonomy of over ten days, despite its many complications and 472 components.
Using this same power, three different time zones can be displayed based on an entirely original configuration that offers complete and intuitive readability, with the local time zone occupying the center of the timepiece. In addition to the hour and minute hands, a dome indicates the day-night cycle. This dome turns anti-clockwise to represent reality as closely as possible, with the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Each of the two additional times displayed correspond to any one of the earth’s twenty-four-time zones, set according to the user’s preference. Each window displays the name of the chosen city and the time in this same zone via a hand that moves over a 24-hour dial. This hand follows the contour of a hemispherical dome representing the Earth and naturally passes over the meridian of the chosen time zone.
The Edouard Bovet Tourbillon is housed in the emblematic Amadeo convertible case. Patented in 2010, the Amadeo system transforms a timepiece into a reversible wristwatch, a table clock, or a pocket watch without the use of any tools. This feature requires the time to be displayed on both sides of the movement and in the case of the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon, the second face presents hand-engraving that adorns each detail of its surface.
Because Maison BOVET is one of the only watchmakers to master the manufacture of traditional balancesprings, the example found inside the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon is crafted according to precise calculations to work in perfectly isochronous tandem with the variable-inertia balance wheel. The regulating mechanism thus formed oscillates at 18,000 vibrations per hour, the frequency dear to the Bovet brothers and to purist watch collectors. Whether in chronometric technical prowess or the decorative arts, BOVET artisans have once again redefined distinction in watchmaking.
Directly in line with the Maison’s founding moment, the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon perfectly fulfills Pascal Raffy’s desire to develop useful complications that are suited to our present age and everyday use. Three time zones now simplify the day-to-day lives of not just globetrotters but also ordinary people, made necessary by the interconnected nature of the modern world.
Available in red gold, white gold, or platinum, the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon offers exceptional ergonomics despite its dense mechanics. With collectors in mind, the limited edition restricts the number of movements that will be manufactured, independently of how they are defined. Only sixty movements will leave the manufacture’s workshops, ensuring a level of exclusivity that reflects the excellence of this historic timepiece.