There are no "watches" at Bovet 1822, only "timekeepers."You might think this is a bit of semantic capriciousness, but it's not. Whosoever has listened to Pascal Raffy, the company owner, as he corrects an interlocutor will realize that there is something deeper there, the translation into words of a sincere obsession for precision and detail. The new 19Thirty is no exception to the rule. It does not boast "Swiss made" on the dial, but rather "Swiss handcrafted."
A complete collection
This collection picks up the streamlined codes of the 1930s pocket watch that inspired it, one of the last collections manufactured by Bovet before it switched to making wristwatches. It also borrowed the hands from the original piece, which bears the signature "Bovet Frères" and a font that is both efficient and surprising.It comes in two different cases, the Fleurier, with its crown and hinged bow at 12 o'clock, or the Dimier, which is more traditional, with the crown at 3 o'clock and four lugs to affix the alligator strap.The dial comes in four colors, ivory, black, or blue, and the hours can be indicated in Roman, Arabic or Chinese applique numerals.
With its play of symmetries, the gentleness of the lines, the small seconds at six o'clock, this timepiece is quite magnificent. It features very high quality finishing and a power reserve of seven days. I have a few days now to discover it in greater depth and feel how it ticks on my wrist. I close the strap – at the second hole, because I like to give the watch a bit of freedom of movement – and now I am ready for a business meal or a sophisticated evening. The first word that comes to mind is "comfort," thanks to the thinness of the case (7.3 mm without the sapphire crystal, diameter 42 mm) and the ergonomic lugs. I also like the steel arc of the case that peaks timidly out of my sleeve, a harmonious curve that nothing can disturb since the crown and the hinged bow on this Fleurier model are at midday.
Playing with the crown
The crown not only stirs up the esthetic layout of the timepiece, but also the wearer's gestures. I tug on it gently to wind it up and I suddenly have the feeling I am handling a pocket watch.I twiddle the crown between my thumb and index finger, and I look at the hand of the power reserve indicator at 3 o'clock as it slips smoothly from the minus to the plus sign.There's no indication of duration on the edge of the aperture, just a sentence in a font so fine that I need a loupe to appreciate its classic calligraphy: Pour servir ponctuels gentilshommes("To serve punctual gentlemen").The piece is all symmetry. An identical aperture at 9 o'clock opens onto a section of the spring barrel, where another phrase is written in older French: Faictes de mains de maistres ("Made by the hands of masters").
Everything on this timepiece is round and symmetrical.The roundness comes from the circular côtes de Genève that appear on the dial and on the bridges that show through the sapphire crystal back, from the perlage on the plate, from the steel case, from the double dial of the hours and the subsidiary seconds.The symmetry comes from the two apertures and from the two pairs of blued screws that hold the dials.More symmetry appears on the back of the timepiece, where one sees the escapement as it responds to the gear train of the subsidiary seconds.
Two cases for two histories
Going from one case to the next, the most visible difference is the movement, which was moved a quarter turn to allow for proper positioning of the crown.Depending on how you look at the Fleurier or the Dimier, the power reserve indicator is either at 3 o'clock or 6 o'clock. And the way the small seconds, hour and minute dial and crown are aligned will draw your eye either to the right or to the top of the watch. So, one collection can tell two quite different stories.