Orbis Mundi

The World is Yours with Bovet’s New Orbis Mundi Released at Watches & Wonders 2022

The prestigious brand begins its 200th-anniversary celebrations by releasing an easy-to-read and simple-to-set world-time watch.

By Steven Rogers
European Editor

This year, Bovet celebrates an important milestone. It has been exactly two centuries since the Bovet brothers – Édouard, Alphonse, Frédéric, and Gustave – registered the House of Bovet name and began shipping timepieces made in their Fleurier workshops to customers.

To kick off its 200th-anniversary celebrations, Bovet has unveiled yet another impressive take on the world time watch genre by presenting a new Orbis Mundi limited edition at Watches & Wonders, complete with an easy-to-read and simple-to-set world-time complication. Plus, the dial is pure aventurine glass.

World-Time Still Handy

Besides their mechanical complexity, world time watches are usually hailed for their usefulness to those who frequently travel, with global business trippers able to tell the time back home or at impending destinations with ease.
 

You have probably noticed, but transcontinental travel has become a bit trickier over the past couple of years for reasons that need no explanation. Nevertheless, world or universal time watches still have a role to play in today’s changing society. With more people working from home, conducting Zoom calls and WhatsApp conversations, and the like, with colleagues, friends, and family on the other side of the globe, it is arguably more important than ever to know what time it is elsewhere in the world.

Simple and Elegant

Bovet, of course, has plenty of experience making elaborate double, triple, and world time watches. At the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, its Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two – complete with a universal time display and an indexable second-time zone – deservedly picked up the Mechanical Exception prize.

And it was when current Bovet owner and president Pascal Raffy was designing the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two’s world time indicator, featuring 24 different time zones and their corresponding cities, that he began to imagine adapting its use in the new Orbis Mundi.
 

“As you can imagine, I travel quite a lot as head of Bovet 1822 and deal with people in many different time zones,” said Raffy in a press release for the Orbis Mundi. “I wanted a simple and elegant timepiece that would make it easier to set and tell the time anywhere in the world. My team of amazing developers, watchmakers, and I came up with a surprisingly simple way that has never been done before.”

Intuitive Display

This new debut isn’t the first Orbis Mundi – Latin for “the world” – that Bovet has released. As early as 2007, the brand was making a double-time zone model bearing the same name. However, this latest Orbis Mundi stands out for its intuitive “top-of-the-world” sub-dial display at 12 o’clock crafted in aventurine. On it, the names of 24 global cities depicting 24 time zones are emblazoned in oversized yellow print so they can be viewed easily.
 

The functions are set through the sizable crown at 12 o’clock, with no correctors involved. To set the hours and minutes, you turn the crown counterclockwise. And to set the world time zone disc, you turn the crown clockwise. And there you have it: local time and the time elsewhere in the world can be all be registered in one quick glance.
 

Seven Days of Power Reserve

To the right of the world time dial is the power reserve indicator, though you won’t need to worry about checking it often. Packing a mere single barrel, the manually winding calibre 15BM01HU manufacture movement provides an impressive seven days of autonomy.

Meanwhile, at 6 o’clock, the dial plate – nicely decorated with a lotus flower motif – has been opened up to reveal a number of the calibre’s moving parts. These include the in-house 21,600 BPH balance wheel and gears driving the sectorial seconds. And each 20-second interval is marked with a Y-shaped hand that is supported by a skeletonized bridge.
 

Fleurier Case

The Orbis Mundi is presented in a Fleurier case, made in either 18K red gold or Grade 5 titanium. While the case’s diameter is pretty large – 42mm – its slim thickness of 11.25mm makes it more than wearable.

Moreover, one of Bovet’s signature designs, the Fleurier case, features a so-called bow enveloping the crown and horizontal strap bolts instead of the more orthodox lugs, to which a blue, full-skin alligator leather strap is fixed. The crown and the strap bolts are set with sapphire cabochons, totaling 0.72 carats.
 

In the 19th century, Bovet was a pioneer of the exhibition caseback; that tradition is maintained with the Orbis Mundi with the sapphire crystal of the screw-down back, affording more views of the movement. As you would expect from Bovet, it has been decorated to the highest standards, with the beveling and polishing of Bovet’s in-house artisans on full display.
 

Price & Availability

Only 60 pieces of the Orbis Mundi will be made, with the red gold version priced at CHF 43,000 and the titanium edition priced at CHF 38,000.

For more information, please visit the Bovet website.
 

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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Orbis Mundi