I am never shy about taking an opportunity to cover one of Bovet‘s exciting Recital collection timepieces and here is a look at the new for 2014 Bovet Recital 16. In the video below, you’ll see a bit of the Bovet Recital 16 as well as the other new Recital watches for the year. Recital watches exist in the Bovet Dimier collection, which is most notably marked by their lack of a “ribbon” crown protector (and crown) at 12 o’clock. Therefore, in addition to being often rather complex, the Bovet Dimier watches tend to have more traditional cases with crowns at 3 o’clock.
I believe that the official name for the Recital 16 is the Bovet Recital 16 Collection Dimier 7-Day Tourbillon With Triple Time Zone. It contains a mechanical movement known as the “Calibre Rising Star II,” and offers the main time plus the time in two other cities. For lovers of the complex and the bold, the Bovet Recital 16 is going to be a delight, even if it doesn’t have the elegant grace some aficionados seek out.
Speaking of elegance and grace, there are other Bovet watches for that. Recital timepieces are often about technical excellence and pushing the design envelope. I also like that Bovet sort of exists out side of the rest of the watch making world. They produce their own movements, they produce a lot of their own parts for the cases and dials, they produce parts for other brands, and their design ethos is refreshingly unconcerned with what other luxury watch brands are doing.
For more about what the Bovet brand is all about, I feel it useful to point to my interview of Bovet owner Mr. Pascal Raffy. There are really not that many luxury executives worth listening to at length, but Mr. Raffy is one of the exceptions. Perhaps because he actually has interesting and thought provoking things to say not only about luxury itself, but also in regard to the process of creating luxury goods. With that said, let’s explore the Bovet Recital 16 a bit more.
There are two versions of the Bovet Recital 16 that you can see in this article. One model is in 18k red gold and the other is in 18k white gold. This latter model has a few other decorative elements that include mother-of-pearl dials for the secondary and tertiary time zones, as well as a ring of baguette-cut diamonds around the bezel. While these aren’t traditionally particularly masculine decorative features, they actually work pretty well in the Bovet Recital 16 and don’t take away from the “men’s watch” appeal of the piece.
At 46mm wide and relatively thick, there is perhaps little that can take away from the masculinity of the Bovet Recital 16. Even with the large size, the curved lugs ensure a very pleasant fit on the wrist, that never feels loose or obnoxiously large. 46mm wide is one of those sizes that can make a watch look much too large on most wrists, or absolutely appropriate, depending on the shape of the case. Note the rounded blue sapphire crystal as the cabochon in the crown (most commonly seen in Cartier watches).
Perhaps the most interesting thing to do with the Bovet Recital 16 is adjust the time. Typically such a basic act isn’t all that interesting, but here you get the added delight of seeing all three of the time dials moving at the same time. It is a fun view despite being, of course, rather simple. With that said, it is clear that you can adjust all of the time zones at the same time, which will all have synchronized minute hands. That means this isn’t the type of watch that allows each of the different times to be totally independently set. Having said that, you’ll find that on a travel watch, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What makes the other two time zones interesting isn’t just that they are there, but that they each have their own day/night (AM/PM) indicator, as well as reference city indicator. The former function is displayed in the middle of the subsidiary dials as a disc displaying the sun or stars moving around slowly throughout the day. This is a pretty useful feature, as the other time zones are in a 12 hour format – making it difficult to know whether it is day or night in those places.
Pushers on the side of the case are used to adjust the second and third time zone indicator faces on the dial. The good news is that the Bovet Recital 16 case doesn’t have a lot of extra crowns on it, but the bad news is that you’ll need a small tool to adjust the watch as your naked fingers will not be able to do it. Bovet isn’t the only brand to do that, and I wonder how owners feel when it comes time to adjust their watches. Actually, to be fair, most watch makers supply little pusher tools to adjust the watch which will not scratch the case. Then again, how many owners carry these small tools around with them? I’ve always thought it would be good to have a small tool in the strap buckle if a watch relies upon inset pushers to make adjustments to the movement.
The Calibre Rising Star II is a rather complex manually wound movement that also contains a tourbillon and 7 days of power reserve. What makes it the most interesting to me isn’t what it does, but more how it looks. The Bovet Recital 16 has no real dial, but makes the most out of having a totally open movement with various dials and pieces of information on it. Let’s be honest, despite the many items on the dial, hands, and indicators, the Bovet Recital 16 is rather legible for what it is. There is even lume on the hands for darkness reading.
A question you probably shouldn’t ask is “who needs to know just three time zones?” I am sure enough people do and hopefully they will find Bovet. Thankfully, the complex dial is also laid out more-or-less symmetrically – which adds a few attraction points to the watch. The top of the watch dial contains a power reserve indicator for the movement indicating the full seven days, while the lower part of the dial has the tourbillon on its long and thin bridges. Don’t miss the dark gray finishing of the movement bridges which add just a bit more visual interest.
Bovet didn’t design the Bovet Recital 16 for all luxury consumers able to afford its rather outstanding price. It is the shining example of a niche model for a select group of people that nevertheless aims to garner enough “horological street cred” to ride with the bigger boys. Price for the Bovet Dimier Recital 16 watch starts at $299,000 in 18k red gold and $304,500 in 18k white gold. Price in 18k white gold with the diamonds is $373,500. bovet.com