I am never shy about taking an opportunity to cover one of Bovet’s exciting Recital collection timepieces and here is a look at the new for 2014 Bovet Recital 16. In the video below, you’ll see a bit of the Bovet Recital 16 as well as the other new Recital watches for the year. Recital watches exist in the Bovet Dimier collection, which is most notably marked by their lack of a “ribbon” crown protector (and crown) at 12 o’clock. Therefore, in addition to being often rather complex, the Bovet Dimier watches tend to have more traditional cases with crowns at 3 o’clock.
I believe that the official name for the Recital 16 is the Bovet Recital 16 Collection Dimier 7-Day Tourbillon With Triple Time Zone. It contains a mechanical movement known as the “Calibre Rising Star II,” and offers the main time plus the time in two other cities. For lovers of the complex and the bold, the Bovet Recital 16 is going to be a delight, even if it doesn’t have the elegant grace some aficionados seek out.
The dial is done in typically blancpain tourbillon carrousel style, and that’s to say it’s equally very classical and elaborate in its own styling. What captures your attention first would be the two big sub-dials at 10 and two o’clock. Time is read using both slightly off-center hour and minute hands. At 6 o’clock is the double confront flying tourbillon. Bovet also offers a choice of dials and owners are going to have the ability to select from black lacquer, ivory, or blue aventurine.The movement within has been given the 17BM03-GD, and it is lavishly hand-decorated into Bovet’s usual high standards. The plates and bridges are chamfered and polished, the disc plates have been sunk and also chamfered, and numerous bridges have been painstakingly engraved by hand.The flying tourbillon deserves particular mention since the bridges are made from titanium to decrease inertia and magnetism. But more importantly, they’ve been formed to resemble wings and have been mirror-polished to achieve maximum sheen.Aside from being beautiful to look at, the motion also has some practical features. The 10-day-long power reserve means owners want not end them regularly, but such a long power reserve usually requires dull winding as well. Not so in the event of the Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date, because the winding mechanism contains a round String that halves the numbers of turns necessary to fully wind the eye. Incredibly, it does so without increasing either the friction or force required.
Speaking of elegance and grace, there are other Bovet watches for that. Recital timepieces are often about technical excellence and pushing the design envelope. I also like that Bovet sort of exists out side of the rest of the watch making world. They produce their own movements, they produce a lot of their own parts for the cases and dials, they produce parts for other brands, and their design ethos is refreshingly unconcerned with what other luxury watch brands are doing.
For more about what the blancpain endurance monza brand is all about, I feel it useful to point to my interview of Bovet owner Mr. Pascal Raffy. There are really not that many luxury executives worth listening to at length, but Mr. Raffy is one of the exceptions. Perhaps because he actually has interesting and thought provoking things to say not only about luxury itself, but also in regard to the process of creating luxury goods. With that said, let’s explore the Bovet Recital 16 a bit more.
Considering that the “visibility” theme of the motion, one can intimately see the performance of this tourbillon from either side of this case. Bovet printed part of this second scale on the rear of the sapphire crystal so as to read it from the front – just another small but appreciated detail that shows the attempt of this very small watchmaker gnomes in action. When you put money into a timepiece of this ilk you should truly be investing in certain extreme when not obsessive attention to detail.The movement itself is manually wound and has a power reserve of five times – functioning at 3Hz (21,600 bph). Its layout might not be to everyone’s tastes (like I said, Bovet really isn’t going for this), but it’s damn impressive, and I think nearly any watch fan would feel blessed to have one of them in their collection.Bovet proceeds to come out with intriguing and exceptionally complicated watches like the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star in an yearly basis. Few if some brands push so hard – even in uncertain times – to keep creating cool and amazing stuff. Though you might not like all of it, you have to give Bovet charge for keeping things fresh and interesting frequently. I applaud them, also, for keeping so many watchmakers and micro-engineers employed.On the wrist, the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star is predictably a large but wearable watch at 46mm wide, here in 18k white gold. There is also an 18k red gold edition of this Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star that will be made this year. In addition to the different case substance, there’s the white lacquered dial choice in addition to a blue aventurine dial (where the time is indicated) alternative. The Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star is also 18.15mm thick (given the big domed crystal – which, incidentally, has excellent AR-coating for its shape), and is water resistant to 30 meters.
There are two versions of the blancpain quantieme complet 8 jours Recital 16 that you can see in this article. One model is in 18k red gold and the other is in 18k white gold. This latter model has a few other decorative elements that include mother-of-pearl dials for the secondary and tertiary time zones, as well as a ring of baguette-cut diamonds around the bezel. While these aren’t traditionally particularly masculine decorative features, they actually work pretty well in the Bovet Recital 16 and don’t take away from the “men’s watch” appeal of the piece.
The dial is done in typically Bovet fashion, which is to say it is both very classical and ornate in its styling. What catches your attention first would be the two large sub-dials in 10 and 2 o’clock. The former is a power reserve indicator and the latter retains the huge date complication. At 6 o’clock is your double face flying tourbillon. Bovet also provides a choice of dials and owners will be able to choose from black lacquer, ivory, or blue aventurine.The movement within continues to be designated the 17BM03-GD, and it’s lavishly hand-decorated to Bovet’s usual high standards. The bridges and plates are chamfered and polished, the disk plates are sunk and also chamfered, and numerous bridges are painstakingly engraved by hand.The flying tourbillon deserves particular mention because the bridges are made from titanium to reduce inertia and magnetism. But more importantly, they have been shaped to resemble wings and also have been mirror-polished to achieve maximum sheen.Aside from being beautiful to check at, the movement also has some practical capabilities. The 10-day-long power reserve means owners need not wind them frequently, but this kind of long power reserve usually necessitates tedious winding as well. Not so in the case of this Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date, since the winding mechanism includes a spherical String that halves the numbers of turns necessary to completely wind the watch. Incredibly, it does so without increasing either the friction or induce required.
At 46mm wide and relatively thick, there is perhaps little that can take away from the masculinity of the blancpain piece unique Recital 16. Even with the large size, the curved lugs ensure a very pleasant fit on the wrist, that never feels loose or obnoxiously large. 46mm wide is one of those sizes that can make a watch look much too large on most wrists, or absolutely appropriate, depending on the shape of the case. Note the rounded blue sapphire crystal as the cabochon in the crown (most commonly seen in Cartier watches).
Some 195 years ago, Bovet was founded by Edouard Bovet in London, who would go on to create watches to market in China. The history thereafter is a bit hazy, but something that’s sure is that Bovet watches are unlike any other. Love them or loathe them, many of Bovet watches have a fashion quite unlike anything else, and I need to respect them for that. Unlike other manufacturers that might seem subject to trends and fads, Bovet seems blissfully unconcerned, producing watches which are uniquely theirs. Furthermore, many of the high-end pieces feature interesting technical inventions. Since 2017 marks the 195th anniversary of Bovet, the brand has just released the brand new Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date watch, a limited-edition piece to commemorate the occasion.The Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date watch will probably be available in three case materials: 18k red gold, 18k white gold, and platinum. Case size is 44mm wide with a depth of 13.45mm. Coupled with its unique and elaborate drag construction, we now have here a huge watch with certainly lots of wrist presence.But beyond this, what’s special about the case layout is the fact that it’s tapered such as the Bovet Récital 18 Shooting Star and Récital 20 Astérium – meaning that it is in its thickest at 12 o’clock and then gradually becomes thinner sloping toward 6 o’clock. Bovet calls this “a likely crystal aperture.” Whatever you call it, it’s pretty cool as it’s something which you don’t see much in other watches.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to do with the Bovet Recital 16 is adjust the time. Typically such a basic act isn’t all that interesting, but here you get the added delight of seeing all three of the time dials moving at the same time. It is a fun view despite being, of course, rather simple. With that said, it is clear that you can adjust all of the time zones at the same time, which will all have synchronized minute hands. That means this isn’t the type of watch that allows each of the different times to be totally independently set. Having said that, you’ll find that on a travel watch, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What makes the other two time zones interesting isn’t just that they are there, but that they each have their own day/night (AM/PM) indicator, as well as reference city indicator. The former function is displayed in the middle of the subsidiary dials as a disc displaying the sun or stars moving around slowly throughout the day. This is a pretty useful feature, as the other time zones are in a 12 hour format – making it difficult to know whether it is day or night in those places.
That includes all three case styles that are accessible as the reference TPINS002 in 18k red gold, the TPINS001 in organic titanium, and the TPINS003 from DLC-coated black titanium. Last, it seems that blancpain leman moonphase has also updated the guarantee in their watches (at least some of them) in light of moves from other watch industry players, so the Bovet Pininfarina OttantaSei 10-Day Tourbillon will have a movement guarantee of five years. Including all three case styles that are available as the reference TPINS002 in 18k red gold, the TPINS001 in natural titanium, and the TPINS003 in DLC-coated black titanium. Last, it appears that Bovet has also updated the warranty in their watches (at least some of them) in light of moves by other watch business players, therefore the Bovet Pininfarina OttantaSei 10-Day Tourbillon is going to have a movement warranty of five years. Price is $165,000 in titanium and $180,000 from 18k red gold. I’ve been writing about watches for a very long time; I have been working on these even longer; and I have been in the market more still. I’m not certain when I decided where I stumbled on the “are watches art?” Problem, but I can tell you that: I can not remember regarding watches like anything but works of art. Some of it’s high forehead, a few of it low. It doesn’t really matter where the watch falls upon the scale in order for it to be regarded as an art form. But maybe that has more to do with your definition of art (and that I have a true broad definition of the term). What I have always thought is that something qualifies as art if it is that the “expression of what cannot be said.”
Pushers on the side of the case are used to adjust the second and third time zone indicator faces on the dial. The good news is that the Bovet Recital 16 case doesn’t have a lot of extra crowns on it, but the bad news is that you’ll need a small tool to adjust the watch as your naked fingers will not be able to do it. Bovet isn’t the only brand to do that, and I wonder how owners feel when it comes time to adjust their watches. Actually, to be fair, most watch makers supply little pusher tools to adjust the watch which will not scratch the case. Then again, how many owners carry these small tools around with them? I’ve always thought it would be good to have a small tool in the strap buckle if a watch relies upon inset pushers to make adjustments to the movement.
The Calibre Rising Star II is a rather complex manually wound movement that also contains a tourbillon and 7 days of power reserve. What makes it the most interesting to me isn’t what it does, but more how it looks. The Bovet Recital 16 has no real dial, but makes the most out of having a totally open movement with various dials and pieces of information on it. Let’s be honest, despite the many items on the dial, hands, and indicators, the Bovet Recital 16 is rather legible for what it is. There is even lume on the hands for darkness reading.
I must acknowledge that given the “bow style” crown position in 12 o’clock, it wears in a rather sizable fashion, but it is not uncomfortable. Bovet asserts that even in gold, the case only weighs 51.66 grams (minus the strap). The whole purpose of this design was to create the Bovet Pininfarina OttantaSei 10-Day Tourbillon light-looking… and light-feeling. There are a total of four sapphire crystals in the situation, and using flat crystals onto the top in addition to the horizontal planes on the sides make the watch feel just like a massive coin onto your wrist. Laser engraving is used on the faces of the case to publish the “limited edition” and “Pininfarina” tagging, whereas the partial seconds index scale is printed on the one of the main crystals and then read on the other hand. Manually wound, the movement operates at 18,000 bph (2.5Hz) and has a very long power reserve of 10 times in one barrel. To see and operate the motion is real beauty. Bovet decided to keep things as simple and elegant as possible by offering the time on a subsidiary dialup, large-diameter tourbillon (which doubles as the small seconds index), and a power reserve indicator.
A question you probably shouldn’t ask is “who needs to know just three time zones?” I am sure enough people do and hopefully they will find Bovet. Thankfully, the complex dial is also laid out more-or-less symmetrically – which adds a few attraction points to the watch. The top of the watch dial contains a power reserve indicator for the movement indicating the full seven days, while the lower part of the dial has the tourbillon on its long and thin bridges. Don’t miss the dark gray finishing of the movement bridges which add just a bit more visual interest.
Bovet didn’t design the Bovet Recital 16 for all luxury consumers able to afford its rather outstanding price. It is the shining example of a niche model for a select group of people that nevertheless aims to garner enough “horological street cred” to ride with the bigger boys. Price for the Bovet Dimier Recital 16 watch starts at $299,000 in 18k red gold and $304,500 in 18k white gold. Price in 18k white gold with the diamonds is $373,500. bovet.com