January 20, 2011
by Ariel Adams
Dimier is a sub-brand of Bovet, that is just as high-end, and also known as the watch movement maker of the group. Bovet didn’t start Dimier, but rather acquired it. I’ve never seen a Dimer watch in the US – only in Europe – butt hat doesn’t mean there aren’t a few of them hanging around. Bovet and Dimier watches are said to be made in the same place, with similar values. Though Dimier watches are a bit more traditional in form. Unlike Bovet watches they don’t have that pocket-watch-on-your-wrist style that is quite unique.
Bovet and Dimier are more or less manufacture movements for all the high-end stuff. Dimier watches are rare and what I have assorted here are their six “Recital” watches. Will there be a Dimier Recital 7? Probably. I don’t know the release cycle of the Recital watches, but a new one might be slated for release each several years. UDATE: See info on what is meant to be the Recital 7 below.
Many of the watches in the collection have a common set of features – these include automatic winding, a tourbillon, and a power reserve indicator. Though not all the watches have each of these complications in them. Each done in a precious metal case, these special timepieces are both classic, but experimental in their presentation of traditionally valued complications. While the features and overall design are very traditional, there is an avant garde old-world style decor to them. This can be seen in the style of the case and crown (with sapphire crystal cabochon) as well as the frequent use of Bovet and Dimier’s “squiggly” serpentine style hands. It also goes without saying that each of these watches is part of a limited edition.
Do I like the Dimier Recital pieces? Mostly yes. I think these are fascinating watches with a truly “old (really old) money” feel to them. I understand that Bovet is popular in Asia, and that makes sense. It will take truly the right type of Western man to adorn pieces such as this.
What is very interesting is being able to write about the entire collection in retrospect as opposed to covering each watch as it came out. This way you can really see how the collection evolved, as well as how Dimier was able to alter and improve each model.
The Dimier Recital 1 watch started it all. The movement is the calibre 13DW01 manually-wound movement with an 8 day power reserve and a tourbillon. Functionally it just tells the time and has a power reserve indicator. The large case is still the smallest of the bunch being 46mm wide in 18k white or red gold – as well as in platinum. The dial is black with the circular polishing on it that typifies the movements of the collection. Interestingly enough the dial was made of rock crystal and then blackened. Why? Not sure. See the serpentine style hands? The same style of case also continues throughout the collection. Dimier calls the shape of the tourbillon cage the “lotus flower.” The Recital 1 was limited to just 50 pieces and retailed for $145,000.
Dimier went a more decorative route with the Recital 2. The case here is still 46mm wide, but the dial and hands have changed. The blue dial also has flame-like shapes cut in it to reveal the movement underneath. The dial is style a rock crystal and, and the case is again 46mm wide – this time again in 18k red or white gold, or in platinum. The movement is almost the same as that in the Recital 1, but this time it is the Calibre DT7 that adds automatic winding with a 22k gold rotor. The name of the watch model is still on the dial, but Dimier was smart to reduce the size of the limited edition label (that is a bit cheesy). The Recital 2 was also limited to 50 pieces.
With the Recital 3, Dimier started with something totally different. The case (available in the three metals) grew to 48mm wide, and the amount of actual dial lessened even most. Nevertheless, this clever model was able to add a “world” second time zone indicator and selector, and remain very legible. The calibre DT7-OM automatic movement had second time zone that was linked to a disc with reference city names for the 24 time zones. Pushers on the right and left of the case moved the disc right or left giving you a solid traveler’s watch. Dimier was also able to bump up the power reserve closer to that of the original with 7 days for the Recital 3. The dial has a small power reserve indicator inside of the city selector disc. The Recital 3 was also limited to 50 pieces and is one of my favorites – priced at about $215,000.
Departing from the theme of the collection a bit, the Dimier Recital 4 has a new type of dial decor philosophy with a more hand engraved approach. Two large hand-engraved bridges sandwich the center dials of the watch, offering a uniquely symmetrical design. The case is 47mm wide in 18k white or red gold – with this being the busiest of the 6 existing models. Dimier crafted the Recital 4 to have a jumping hour complication. The automatic movement has 5 days of power reserve with window near 6 o’clock that has the hour displays in digital format with a small traveling arrow around the periphery of the dial indicating the minutes. This leaves much of the dial open – without hands. The cleanest part of the dial is power reserve indicator, while the tourbillon returns as the subsidiary seconds dial. This stranger 4th version of the Recital was limited to just 10 pieces, and priced at $200,000.
Having the most “open” dial of the collection the Dimier Recital 5 is a lovely version in the collection with a greater emphasis on visual mechanics than it is on complication. Similar to the Recital 3, the Recital 5 has a off-centered dial for the time, but instead of a second timezone, it has an open big date indicator. The Recital 5 is back down to 46mm in width and done now in gold and titanium. The main case is titanium with gold cladding on the lugs, and gold for the bezel, crown, and caseback. The movement is the Calibre 13DM02, and is back to being manually wound, and with a 5 day power reserve indicator. The lotus flower frame gone on the tourbillon – in favor of a more open look. The main point of the Recital 5 is to show off the beauty of the movement. This one was limited to just 15 pieces and price was 170,000 – 160,000 Swiss Francs.
Most recent is the Dimier Recital 6 – the first non-tourbillon version of the bunch. You can see this watch as being a combination of the Recital 3 and the Recital 5. By this point the cheesy sounding “edition limitee” term is stripped from the dial, but at least “Recital 6” is still there. This practical piece has an automatic Calibre 11BA14 movement with a 3 day power reserve and a more complex world time function. Unlike the Recital 3 watch, this one has a day/night indicator for the second time zone. This is important so that you know what time it is on the other timezone more accurately given the time being displayed in a 12 hour format. The second timezone is shifted in the same way as in the Recital 3. Not having a tourbillon allows the main time to be larger, but I miss the power reserve indicator and would have liked a date indicator. The Recital 6 has the same style of titanium and 18k gold (red or white) 46mm wide case that the Recital 5 had. This Recital 6 is not a limited edition I believe and priced at 50,000 Swiss Francs.
UPDATE: At the last minute I got to have a hand’s on look at Bovet’s “Recital 0.” This is essentially the Recital 7, but has no real name on it. I also believe Bovet has just released it. The 18k rose gold watch is quite nimble in its construction having a highly skeletonized tourbillon movement that is manually wound with a week of power reserve. There is a small power reserve indicator on the dial, and the watch hands themselves are easy to read. Bovet really wanted to make viewing the wheels of the tourbillon easy – and I think you will agree they succeeded in looking at how “open” the tourbillon cage is. The Recital 0 also comes in two sizes. One is 40mm wide and the other is 45mm wide. Each has the same movement, but one has a cutaway in the lower part of the inner case for the tourbillon. Price I think for this gold watch with large baguette diamonds all over the dial is in the $200,000 range.See Bovet & Dimier watches on eBay here. [phpbay]dimier | bovet, num, “14324”, “”[/phpbay]