Bovet Timepieces Worth Breaking The Bank For
Watches of Switzerland’s new Bovet pop-up in Las Vegas proves that what happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.
Anybody who has ever rolled the dice in Las Vegas has no doubt fantasized about leaving the strip with an opulent impulse purchase, like an extravagant timepiece. And because Bovet bills itself as a brand desired by many but enjoyed by only the lucky few, it makes sense for them to set up shop on the strip (if only for a limited time).
On November 1st, Watches of Switzerland launched Bovet’s first pop-up shop in North America at its boutique in the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. While Bovet is honored to be part of the Watches of Switzerland Las Vegas and Boston family for some time already, the focus of the pop-up shop is to introduce collectors and enthusiasts to the watchmaker’s technical innovations, as well as its artisanal techniques such as gem-setting, engraving, and miniature painting.
And the best way to showcase these skills is by presenting the best of Bovet in the store. Here are the highlights of the brand’s Las Vegas residency.
Because it’s Vegas, stepping into the Bovet pop up is a full-sensory experience.
At the entrance of the Watches of Switzerland stands a vitrine holding three of Bovet’s best-loved timepieces, including the sapphire-cased Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One, the Minute Repeater, and the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon.
These displays allow visitors to fully engage with the timepieces by allowing them to admire the watches from almost every angle. The cases also tease what awaits inside, with photographs and tools reflective of the watchmaker’s art.
These engaging displays invite guests to dive deeper into the pop-up and explore Bovet’s collections. That is why the brand is so proud to be partnering with Watches of Switzerland for this three-month-long event. Watches of Switzerland (WOS) is well known for facilitating unique, in-store experiences, and, for the Bovet pop-up launch, they delighted guests with butterflies and glow-in-the-dark art pieces.
But this wasn’t just showmanship. Since its founding in 1822, Bovet has been celebrated for marrying beauty with engineered brilliance. In the 1800s, the brand mastered the traditional technique of miniature painting. Today, it attests to the unremitting desire of Mr. Raffy, owner of BOVET 1822, to perpetuate and reinforce the tradition of watchmaking arts while always innovating. The evidence is presented in the layered application of luminescent paint, a dial that becomes visible during the day and “glows” at night.
And this is part of the story the brand wants to educate collectors about: During December, Bovet is inviting guests to visit to learn more about its grand complications.
This includes celebrated mechanisms like the Amadeo Fleurier Braveheart. Visually, the Amadeo Fleurier Braveheart is hypnotizing. The watch displays time on both sides, ingeniously using the tourbillon as a second face. The seconds are also displayed on this side of the movement, specifically, on the axis of the tourbillon carriage. This distinct architecture also fully displays the artistry of the craftspeople at the Bovet-owned Dimier manufacture.
At the Bovet pop-up, the team can also educate visitors on their watches’ other innovations, such as the Braveheart’s 22-day power reserve. This feat is achieved via two barrels, each harboring a 104 cm-long spring for storing energy and take up half the movement’s surface area.
Bovet is best known for two things: the ability to make grand complications that are meant to be useful in everyday modern life, and ingenious cases. For example, each watch in the patented Amadeo collection works as a wristwatch, a table clock, a pocket watch for the gentlemen, and a beautiful necklace for the ladies – without the use of a single tool.
But the single most stunning example of Bovet’s artistry is the Récital Brainstorm Chapter One. You have to see it in person to fully “get” this beauty, and the Bovet team is more than happy to share its story.
It is a showstopper from every angle with its sapphire “writing slope” case, flying tourbillon, three-dimensional moon phase, big date, and 10-day power reserve with only one barrel. It’s also surprisingly light to wear, and its hard rock surfaces are smooth and cool to the touch.
Almost everything about this timepiece demanded reinvention — one of Bovet’s design signatures is its inclined case, shaped like a sloped writing desk. The premier of this patented case in sapphire enables the architecture of the exclusive movement to follow the dedicated construction of the case inclined at the angle of 9 degrees, filling it in an original and ergonomic manner. The result is a timepiece that demands attention!
By opening their first pop-up in North America, Bovet is also relishing in the opportunity to talk about their timepieces with local collectors and enthusiasts. Current Bovet proprietor Mr. Pascal Raffy is an avid collector, and when he discovered one of the brand’s beautiful pocket watches, he dove deep into its history before eventually buying the brand in 2001.
One of the things he learned about the brand’s original philosophy was that, even in the 19th-century, they were committed to making watches that met the rigors of modern life. So, in 2015, Bovet’s watchmakers revisited the tried-and-true architecture of the flying tourbillon. The result, launched in 2018, The Edouard Bovet Tourbillon, is powered by a single barrel that ensures its impressive power reserve of 10-plus days, despite its many complications and 472 components.
Updated for the modern globetrotter, this ultra-complicated timepiece displays three different time zones and shows the surface of the oceans with a hand-applied coating of blue Super-LumiNova.
There are, of course, many other examples of Bovet 1822’s most emblematic timepieces on display, including the remarkable Virtuoso IX, Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One, and the Récital 22 Grand Récital tourbillon, which took the top prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie Genève in 2018, known as the Academy Awards of Swiss watchmaking. And don’t worry, if you miss the chance to get up close and personal with these examples of horological history in December, you can visit (or re-visit) Bovet’s pop-up shop until the end of January 2020.
Bovet always offers collectors the opportunity to request any personalization he or she wishes. On January 27th and 28th, the Bovet 1822 Pop-Up will host its Swiss engraver who will be able to share the technicalities of Bovet’s engineering brilliance.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)