Bovet is an independently run watchmaker with a historical past, although the company as we know it today was revived in the 1990s. Bovet’s watches are of exceptionally high quality. Most would probably say the quality of their work is higher than that of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of watchmakers. However, Bovet and similar companies lack staying power in their names; we’re more likely to forget they exist. That means that these watchmakers need to constantly push the boundaries of watchmaking to ensure people buy their products.
The newest of these boundary-pushers from Bovet is the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined, two of the most technically complicated pieces that Bovet makes. It starts with a 44mm diameter case made of titanium with the brand’s trademark Writing Slope, which is what Bovet calls the crown and case assembly at 12 O’clock. As you’ll have noticed, the strap connects to a fastener that wraps around the crown, which is placed at the top of the watch, it’s a signature of Bovet watches (although not all have it), it’s not remarkably different from the regular crown placement on a watch, but it’s a talking point. The case only weighs 64.7 grams as well.
The dial seems a little complex, but when you take a second look at it, you’ll see that this is not the case. There are only three indications: the time, the power reserve and big date, although you can use the one-minute flying tourbillon as a seconds hand if you wish. Unusually, for a wristwatch of this calibre, Bovet went mad with the lume applied to this watch.
The big disks containing the date and power reserve are painted in either sky blue or salmon colour, and the paint doubles as lume. There’s also lume on the tips of the hour and minute hands and lume forming a ring around the flying tourbillon. You can’t fault them for not being daring.
The movement in this watch is pleasing from both sides for different reasons. At the front is the tourbillon with some wheels exposed and some good finishing on the plates (it’s not fair for me to say anything other than ‘good’ as I haven’t had one of these under my macro lens). The back of the watch features the other side of the flying tourbillon (which is as dramatic as the front) and some darkened plates with brushing, and brass wheels, the dark grey tint with contrasting wheels gives off a Laurent Ferrier vibe with this movement. Visible from both sides at 12 O’clock is Bovet’s patented differential winding system (with Bovet engraving) that halves the number of turns needed to wind the single barrel, the power reserve of this piece is ten days.
Bovet makes nearly all the components of its watches, including the springs in the barrel and balance wheel, which most manufacturers cannot claim to do. As such, it takes time to craft these, there will only be eight of each colour made, and they’ll set you back $230,000.