July 28, 2014
by Ariel Adams
One of the more interesting and boutique timepieces I got to review over the last year has been this meteorite-dialed version of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier 43 watch. There is a lot to discuss and some interesting hidden features in what is a pretty cool watch if the style and price match your needs.
With a retail price of about $45,000 Bovet isn’t trying to offer a budget watch with the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier 43, or any of its other watches. Expressly high-end, the Amadeo Fleurier 43 is meant to be both a luxury item in design and cost. Do you get what you pay for? That all really depends on how you evaluate watches. Are there cheaper watches in 18k rose gold with meteorite dials? Yes, but there is a lot more to the the Amadeo Fleurier 43 than these elements.
I will be honest that before I ever really spend time with a Bovet Amadeo-cased watch I was skeptical of how “Western” the design would be. Bovet’s history is in making very ornate pocket watches and most of its watches have a “ribbon-style” crown at the top of the case meant to allude to the look of pocket watches. This includes a crown located at 12 o’clock as well as a pivoting crown guard that turns into the single piece lug structure.
A second single piece “bar style” lug structure is used at the bottom of the watch for the other strap piece, and in general, this is considered to be a more feminine versus masculine design element. I suppose my major concern was that although this particular Amadeo Fleurier watch came in a 43mm wide case, it would not be as masculine a design as I tend to like on my own wrist.
So with the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier 43 on my wrist I set out to see how I felt about this interesting, but highly unorthodox design given my American tastes. The first thing that I noticed was how little you can tell it has a unique case design while wearing it on your wrist. Even though the lugs are atypical and the “ribbon crown” is unique, it very much feels like a standard watch – so that was certainly a positive sign.
Another piece of good news is that I am very into meteorite dials. Not all of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier watches have meteorite dials, but this ref. AF43029 model does. It is offered in that typical gray color, which means a limited amount of acid color in comparison to some of the colored meteorite dials available out there. The crystalline metallic structure is interesting to look at and of course the fact that it was cut from a rock that fell from space adds a pleasant emotional element to the design. Who doesn’t want at least something they can wear made of alien rock?
This isn’t the first Bovet watch with a meteorite dial I have been interested in. Back in 2009 I first discussed the Bovet Saguaro Sportster watch collection that also has meteorite dials. Those models are a bit sportier than the newer Amadeo-style cases of course. Looking at the size and proportions of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier 43 on my wrist more and more, I began to like it. I wouldn’t say that I fell in love with it, well at least not in the traditional way that I do with tool-style sport watches. I gained a respect and appreciation of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier’s design, and quickly thought to myself that I would prefer a watch like this as a dress timepiece over something more traditionally classic.
Bovet also makes a 39mm wide version of the Amadeo Fleurier, but I don’t think I would be interested in that model. Any smaller and the larger-than-life style design of the watch would be lost. At this size, the crown ribbon easily folds over as it wraps around my wrist and the entire person of the watch can be appreciated. I even began to enjoy the serpentine style hands on the dial that for so long I suspected might be distracting.
As far as Bovet dials go this Bovet Amadeo Fleurier 43 is rather simple actually. You have just Roman numeral hour markers, hands, a subsidiary seconds dial, and a power reserve indicator. Each of these elements is useful, and I am happy that Bovet decided to not cut a hole in the dial for a date window. The applied gold indicators are attractive, but in certain lighting they can blur, damaging legibility. This is because they are rounded versus using a more flat style of finishing and polishing.
Having said that, the hands are the right length, and the legibility issue is something I am willing to overlook on a piece with such a lovely meteorite dial that will be used for mostly formal purposes only. Overall, I like the mixture of simplicity with decorative elements on the dial, which makes it all quite pretty.
The Bovet Amadeo case is an interesting treat. This case actually transforms, offering a case that can be worn on the wrist, as a pocket watch, around the neck as a pendant, and even on set on a table as a desk clock. None of this is obvious just by looking at the watch and someone could easily own the piece for a long time without even knowing that it offered the ability to transform. The engineering is simple, but highly effective.
Bovet offers an optional necklace or pocket watch chain for its Amadeo-cased watches. It is a fun trick to remove the straps and lower the caseback “foot” to show people how the watch can be used like a little clock. Though I suspect that these features are rarely used in any practical sense. I have to admit that the ability for the case to transform is interesting and adds value to the watch. Having said that, I think that most owners are going to spend 95% of their time or more wearing the Amadeo Fleurier watch on their wrist.