Swiss Bovet watch names are often as grand as the timepieces themselves. A company to never shift focus away from old-world style “artistic density” in their often complicated horological creations marks a brand which both exists within but also sits alongside the rest of today’s luxury timepiece industry. While not all Bovet watches are to my taste, I find myself almost never bored with any of the brand’s products. This is a claim I can hardly state for most other watch brands today. This leads me to the Bovet Amadeo Virtuoso V reference ACHS016 (ACHS016-50-P2018 as tested) watch that I am reviewing today. Polarizing in some of the best ways, I’ve come to really admire not only the artistry and technicality in such a watch – but also how the distinctive design and personality of such a product results in a broad spectrum of opinions from watch lovers and novices alike.
Bovet Amadeo Background
For its size, Bovet is an extremely prolific brand offering a wide variety of products each year – many of which are produced in very small quantities. This, for example, is one of many watches I’ve tried from the brand which features their signature Amadeo case. Named after Bovet owner Mr. Pascal Raffy’s son, the Amadeo-style case has some fun tricks up its sleeves. 43.5mm wide and 15.7mm thick (here rendered in 18ct white gold), the Amadeo case (water resistant to 30m) is first distinguished by its visual design, which is meant to look like a wearable pocket watch.
Bovet has a long history in pocket watchmaking and the “old-world decorative” style of the brand, in general, lends itself to quirks such as making a wristwatch that looks like a pocket watch. At the same time, you can actually make this watch into a pocket watch. The Amadeo case is “convertible” meaning you can easily transform it into a wristwatch, table clock, pendant, or pocket watch (by attaching an optional gold chain).
Bovet Amadeo Dials
Transforming Amadeo-style cases is easy and requires little training and no tools. I demonstrate how it works in the video portion of this review. I also failed to mention that one additional trick up the Amadeo case’s sleeve is the ability for the watch case to be reversible – meaning it can be worn with either side facing forward. This is really just a matter of what direction the straps are attached in. Thus, the most practical utility for most watch wearers with an Amadeo case is the option of having two watch dials depending on your mood.
Accordingly, the Bovet Virtuoso V has two wearable dials that each indicate the time. Actually, each dial can be set to display a totally different time using the 12-hour format. The in-house made Bovet caliber 13BM11AIHSMR movement is a modular system which, for the Virtuoso V, has a few nice complications included within it. This is by no means the most complicated Bovet you can get. I would refer to the Virtuoso V as a modestly complicated Bovet product in the scheme of what the company is capable of.
Bovet Amadeo Case
The “ribbon” at the top of the case where the crown is located is clearly meant to evoke the look of pocket watches. For years I’ve teetered back and forth as to whether this design appealed to me personally. What actually sold me on this look was seeing the watch on others. It is funny how different you can perceive a watch worn on your wrist or that of someone standing right next to you. Bovet’s ability to make something which is refined is really what they should be applauded for.
It isn’t that the appeal of the Amadeo case is in its ability to look like a wearable pocket watch. That is just part of the story. There is a sort of old-world regality to the aesthetic which compliments wearers nicely. It isn’t a youthful or sporty look, but rather something more mature and distinguished. You need to have actually lived life a bit to earn being able to pull a watch like this off.
Bovet Amadeo Virtuoso V on the wrist
When worn snug on the wrist, the size and weight of the Virtuoso V aren’t an issue – though this isn’t a particularly small or lightweight watch (there be a lot of gold in there!). The blue alligator strap matches the colored “flinqué enamel-style” engraving and lacquering work on the dials – with one of the dials being almost entirely engraved and lacquered on this rare version of the watch. This version of the Virtuoso V wasn’t even on the Bovet website at the time of review – with the other versions (different case materials and with optional diamonds) having a different look to the jumping hour indicator side of the dial.