In a world that seemingly goes mental from time to time, it’s worth trying to keep a clear focus on things. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 Tiffany is out of reach for pretty much all of us, and prices for the Rolex Oyster Perpetual with Turquoise dials have been pushed to ridiculous heights. The watch world tends to sway back and forth between reference numbers, colours, materials, complications and whatever you can differentiate in a watch. With Turquoise blue (or “Tiffany” if you will) gearing up fast to become one of 2022’s hottest colours, it made me wonder what alternatives are out there. One such watch is the recently introduced Bovet “Monsieur Bovet” Turquoise, a spectacular piece by the Swiss independent watchmaker.
If we talk about colour, our Managing Editor has recently mentioned the shifting trend towards brighter, more frivolous colours. Along with various other watches, this Bovet follows that trend to the letter. It was presented a little while ago, even before the whole “Tiffany” craze and is a colourful adaptation of the existing “Monsieur Bovet” we know since 2015. It is all things we love by Bovet packed into a single watch, with a few very technical surprises up its sleeve.
To me, watches by Bovet have always been captivating, with a slightly dramatized edge to them. Which I mean in the best possible way! And in all honesty, while I can really enjoy a sleek, restrained dress watch, I am just as much about the more extravagant side watchmaking. Hence why Bovet often resonates with me, as it upholds traditional Haute Horlogerie standards but isn’t afraid to mix in contemporary aesthetics, materials and complications.
When going through the Bovet “Monsieur Bovet” Turquoise, you get drawn in by the bright blue dials, reminding me of crystal clear waters of a tropical island. As with all “Monsieur Bovet” watches the dials, as there are two sides to this watch, are adorned with a Lotus-flower motif guilloché decoration. This radiates out from the central axis of each dial. This perhaps works best in such a bright colour as you get much more detail out of it than with darker tones. Compare it with the white gold and black dial version we covered in 2018 and this becomes apparent.
On one side of the watch, let’s call this side A, you have a full dial with central hour and minute hands. The dial also reads “1 of 30”, the limitation of the watch (30 in red gold, 30 in white gold). Turning the watch over reveals a whole second world to be discovered, the “dramatized edge” I referred to earlier. Side B of the watch reveals bridges, gears, jewels, screws and much, much more. The turquoise theme continues on this side, but with an off-centred dial instead. You’ll see a similar guilloché pattern, but with more classical shaped hands.
Surrounding the movement on side B of the watch is an engraved ring. The inscription reads “Faictes de Mains de Maistres – Pour Sevir Ponctuels Gentilhommes – Se par Quoy Attenstons Langue Valuer”. This translates into “Masterfully handcrafted – to serve punctual gentlemen – whereby we certify lasting value”. Again that touch of drama I referred to earlier. The small seconds indication in the bottom half of side B uses a triple hand and passes along a one-thirds seconds scale only. The final complication visible on the Bovet “Monsieur Bovet” is the power reserve display on the left side. A nice touch is the visual balance between the exposed balance wheel on one side and the centre wheel over the barrels on the other.
Such an intricate pair of dials need a bit of grandeur from its habillage as well, and Bovet doesn’t disappoint here either. Measuring a sizeable 43mm in diameter, it is available in either 18k red or white gold. The most stand-out feature of the polished case is the patented Amadéo convertible system. The cabochons are actually hidden pushers to release the upper strap. A second pusher, hidden in the bezel, releases the other end of the strap. Once removed, you can either put down the “Monsieur Bovet” as a desk clock or attach the gold- or rhodium-plated silver chain that comes with it. Once again, this is exactly the sort of extravagance in watchmaking I am talking about.
Naturally, we have to cover the mechanics as well even though we’ve gone through its indications earlier. The trick is that Bovet uses a single movement to drive two sets of hands and that requires a bit of a re-think. Routing timing indications from the front side of any mechanical movement to the backside of it would result in the second pair of hands revolving in a counter-clockwise direction. Not exactly something we’re accustomed to when reading the time. To bypass this, Bovet uses two superimposing seconds wheels driven by the same axis but rotating in opposite directions.
And it’s not just such technical solutions that make this Bovet such a desirable piece either. Everything on display is finely finished to Haute Horlogerie standards, with blued screws, Côtes de Genève, hand-engraving and more. The techniques used date back to the early days of mechanical watchmaking. Add to that the fact Bovet is one of the very few watchmaking companies that even manufactures hairsprings in-house and you’ll get a sense of why this really is a very special watch.
By now you’re probably wondering something more down-to-earth as limitation and pricing. Well, the Bovet “Monsieur Bovet” is available in red gold and white gold, each limited to 30 pieces only and costs USD 60,000. Obviously, this is a rather large sum of money but it does provide you with something far more special than let’s say an overhyped turquoise dialled watch currently making the rounds on social media. It is meticulously crafted (mostly by hand), offers great versatility and simply looks amazing. And to me, that is something that shouldn’t be overlooked in today’s strange times.
For more information, please visit Bovet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.