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Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

If you ever want to truly and distinctly feel as though small horological gnomes are behind the design, production, and assembly of your high-end wrist watch, then something like the new-for-2016 Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star is a good place to start looking. Few timepieces can combine such a sheer majesty of details, unconventional design, and complications in a package that is as much fantasy as it is a piece of functional, mechanical art.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

aBlogtoWatch debuted the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star watch here at the outset of SIHH 2016. Bovet isn’t a brand that presents at SIHH but, rather, nearby in Geneva at the same time. This is important to note because the brand doesn’t display at Baselworld either. I often like to place the brand in a thematically similar position as Parmigiani because, in their own way, each has a lot of watches that focus on technical merits and designs which, given Western standards, are unorthodox at best.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Not all Bovet watches are to my aesthetic liking, but the watches themselves don’t seem to mind much. That type of confidence earns my respect, and I would pretty much wear any Bovet watch simply as a celebration of its ability to successfully be different and interesting. You don’t really wear a Bovet as a fashion item or as an accessory. You wear a Bovet because of what it is, and you don’t ask a Bovet to be anything other than what it is trying to be. Sometimes, that type of confidence in a product is reassuring because you never get the feeling what you are wearing has an identity crisis.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The most pleasure anyone will get out of a Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star is in simply operating it and looking closely at the dial. Bovet designed the entire movement and dial to merge together and the details are outstandingly interesting. One detail that is easy to miss is the three small wheels which move the globe to the right of the dial. These wheels are produced from synthetic ruby – the same material as watch “jewels.” Neat to look at, they also create an extremely low friction connection so that the globe can turn again and again with minimal wear.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Another related detail is the globe itself. A mere glance might cause you to reasonably assume it is just a half-globe, but it isn’t. According to Bovet they were unable to find an existing full map of the globe in this shape. So what they needed to do was actually commission someone to produce a full map of the earth on this dome-style half-globe shape – and that is what they did.

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Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Spinning once each 24 hours, the globe has a hand over it which indicates either a second time zone or can be set to be a synchronized 24-hour hand. The hand and the globe can move independently, which is of course part of the inherent complexity of the system. Moving the 24-hour GMT hand over the globe is where more interesting fun comes in, as it is linked to the “double drum” reference city selector placed just over the globe system. This is perhaps one of my favorite complications in the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

When you press in the crown, the reference city advances. To get all 24 major time zones, there is a drum that sits inside of the outer drum. This makes more sense once you see it in operation – and it is super cool. I’ve always liked rolling drum-style displays, but they are quite uncommon. Christophe Claret is a particular fan of them and designed such drums into Jean Dunand watches (lastest one here), as well as all the current timepieces from Maîtres du Temps. In the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star, Bovet designed these carefully moving drums to work along with the indicator arrow to indicate the second time zone in combination with the GMT hand which moves over the globe. It works surprisingly well and is elegant in its execution on top of that. Moreover, playing with the system by pressing in the crown is probably just too temping a means of overworking the movement and potentially prematurely breaking something, since the owner of a Recital 18 will likely be playing with this complication quite a bit.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Opposite the GMT globe on the left side of the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star’s dial is a moon phase indicator, also offered on a dome-style display. Here, we have a “double moon phase” which is really just a mirror representation of the moon given its relative phase as seen from the northern or southern hemisphere. Bovet uses a moon phase indicator system which is accurate to about 122 years before it requires adjustment – but I really doubt anyone will have this or any other mechanical watch operating continuously for 122 years. Once again, you see use of the very cool tiny ruby wheels used to ensure that the dome turns with minimal friction.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At the top of the dial is the indicator for the time with an included power reserve indicator. Bovet obviously designed the dial of the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star to have four “hemispherical” quadrants consisting of the four round areas which are the GMT globe, moon phase indicator, tourbillon, and upper display for the time. This latter section includes complications as well such as the retrograde display for the minutes and the jumping hour indicator. As far as “unusual” displays for the time go, this is actually decently legible and, of course, an exercise in complication for complication’s sake. That is, after all, why you could spend several hundred thousands dollars on a mechanical watch, right?

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Dial and movement, as stated above, are more or less merged into one and the result is (at least in my opinion) a glorious mixture of mechanical and artistic design. Not only is the architecture of the in-house made Bovet caliber 17DM01-HU movement visually interesting, but it offers the viewer so much to look at in terms of how the mechanism operates. On top of that, there is a lot of hand-decoration as well as engraving to enjoy. Turn the watch over, and most of the rear of the Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star is full of hand-engraved stars and other “views from space.” The fantasy-like “skyscape” is attractive and features sections in 18k gold.

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Recital 18 Shooting Star Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Given the “visibility” theme of the movement, one can intimately view the operation of the tourbillon from both sides of the case. Bovet printed part of the second scale on the rear of the sapphire crystal in order to read it from the front – just another small but appreciated detail which shows the effort of the tiny watchmaker gnomes in action. When you invest in a timepiece of this ilk you should really be investing in some extreme if not obsessive attention to detail.

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Comments

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  • Interesting angled case with stepped movement to match. Looks more wearable than the other Bovet case style (the convertible one which becomes a pocket watch or small desk clock).

  • trj66

    Is that a fracture in the aventurine? Looks like a hair-line fissure running through the “5” of the “50” indicator..?

    • iamcalledryan

      Ouch

    • Reprobus Marmaritarum

      It’s Bovet’s obsessive attention to detail…

    • Roma KLM

      I thought it was a crack from internal stress.

  • IanE

    Utterly crazy, utterly wonderful – love it! I can’t imagine when I’d wear it, but I’d spend a lot of time looking at it.

  • socrates35

    The words ‘value proposition’ (last sentence) hardly seem to fit somehow with a review of ANY Bovet watch…

  • iamcalledryan

    A really fun piece of horological extravagance. The biggest question I am left with is: what on Earth does one wear when sporting this thing? I am picturing frilly cuffs…

    • Shinytoys

      You wear nothing 🙂 You do have to paint yourself neon blue 🙂

  • Marius

    This is another superb watch from the House of Bovet. The only drawback of this fine timepiece is that the finishing is not that great, but you have to keep in mind that this watch only costs $300,000.
    As my favourite lady of the evening used to say: Beggars can’t be choosers!

  • SuperStrapper

    Lots of fun and ability here. Love the lume shot, wedge shape, and a look at ‘:alifax’ on the tz roller, indicating a nod at some .5 zones. Looking at it as a whole, my first impression was that of a Christmas tree ornament, which is… odd.

    • iamcalledryan

      But Halifax is GMT-4. I think this is a 24 zone complication.

      • SuperStrapper

        I was thinking of -3.5, but that is bold, not ns. More coffee is in order.

        • iamcalledryan

          Ha! Happy Sunday

  • Omegaboy

    Maybe there’s an analogy here for me. With women, some guys are leg men. With watches, I’m a case man. For me, a watch can have a terrific dial, but if the case is boring, the watch has no appeal. The case on this Bovet is awesome! I love the asymmetry when looking at the sides, especially what Bovet did with the lugs. The case is sort of Buck Rogers crossed with a diving helmet. Very neat!

    • iamcalledryan

      Agreed, you would miss it if you don’t go to page two, that is one hell of a unique case.

  • Jerry Davis

    In looking at this beautiful work of art I realize…. I have no idea what time it is.

    • SuperStrapper

      The time is displayed quite plainly and easy to read all things considered.

    • J O

      Agree, finding the time is too much effort.

  • Shinytoys

    I have never seen anything quite like it. It’s a crazy cool time machine. I love it !

  • Reprobus Marmaritarum

    I assume that if you have an obsessive attention to detail and you’re paying 295,000 CHF for a watch, you’re not going to be happy with a nasty great crack right through the hemispherical dial of the jumping hour indicator, splitting the 5 in 50 through and through… Also you might prefer to have “hémisphère” spelled correctly. But that’s just the sort of obsessive attention to detail Bovet should be getting right, isn’t it?

  • IVA the LT

    Really cool, but hope its a prototype. The finishing looks a little rough and there is either a crack or a hair sitting over the 50 on the dial. Hard to tell, looks like a crack at first, but there is a shadow over the 5 and it seems to hook over at the top and run into the 40…

  • Shirley Furby

    Most excellent chaos.

  • Mike Burdine

    Mechanized art. I’d like to just sit and watch it run.

  • chris c

    For some reason Terry Pratchett’s Discworld popped into my head when I first looked at this. Personally I think it is stunning.

  • Roma KLM

    I like the shape of the case, the earth sphere. The lume is captivating.

  • cg

    Just “WOW”!!!!! Stunning…. But it got me with the Earth mapped out inside the watch… This reminds me of the Orion’s Belt charm in MIB. This watch is a 15 million SF jackpot if the 50 sell out. It would be interesting to know if they do.

  • funNactive

    Love the lume shot. I like the non-symmetrical case design. Fun to look at on someone else’s wrist (not that I could afford it if I were interested).