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Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet is a brand that I feel has been overlooked by many and does not receive the recognition that it deserves. Admittedly, their designs can be divisive, but it is hard to deny the technical prowess behind them. At SIHH 2017 earlier this year, Bovet released yet another super-complicated piece called the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium. Though the watch might look complex, its complexity actually hides very practical complications.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Bovet Récital 20 Astérium is available in red gold, white gold, and platinum. The case is large, measuring 46mm across and 18.3mm in height. It is a big watch and one that has lots of wrist presence, but what’s really interesting about the case is that it is wedge-shaped. It is thicker at 12 o’clock and tapers off at 6 o’clock. The reason for this is to accommodate the movement, which has a terraced architecture, a trait that you seldom see in watches. The expansive sapphire crystal is also heavily domed to provide room for the unique movement architecture.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

During first impressions, the Récital 20 Astérium looks imposing and complicated. The dial is busy and there are layers upon layers of details, indicators, and displays. But it is actually quite easy to read and sensibly laid out once you know what is what. On the dial side at 12 o’clock, you have a large domed piece of transparent quartz that displays the constellations. The watch can be customized to show constellations in the northern or southern hemisphere, and the constellations are laser engraved and then filled with Super-LumiNova to aid legibility at night. Underneath, there is a disk on which the hours are printed. Finally, you have a large hour hand in white that is specially shaped to perform three functions: indicate the time, point north, and display the visible portion of the night sky. Peer closer still and you will find a month disc that moves the constellation display as the year passes, showing how the position of the constellation is affected by the months in a year.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Flanking the hours and constellation display are more indicators. To the right, you have a retrograde minutes display and a very discreet power reserve indicator. To the left, you have the equation of time indicator and the moon phase display.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At 6 o’clock, there is Bovet’s signature double face tourbillon, which uses an elaborate construction consisting of two levels of bridges and pillars to create the illusion of the tourbillon floating in mid-air. The end result is quite stunning. The tourbillon makes a revolution every minute and there is a marker right above the tourbillon cage that allows owners to read the seconds at 20-second intervals.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

If you thought the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium was impressive on the dial side, wait till you see the back of it. The back of the watch features what Bovet calls an annual calendar but it actually follows the sidereal year. What it really does is track the length of time it takes for the Earth to complete a single revolution when measured against fixed stars. Therefore, the single central hand takes 365.25 days to complete a revolution on the back of the watch. And, as it travels, it points to the season, solstice, equinox, zodiac, and month indications that are marked on the expansive sapphire crystal.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Look closer through the sapphire crystal and you can see the highly decorated Caliber 17DM02-SKY. It features a single mainspring but because the movement is so efficient and also because the balance beats at a leisurely 2.5Hz, the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium has a long power reserve of 10 days or 720 hours.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It goes without saying that the Caliber 17DM02-SKY is meticulously finished. A unique type of finishing that they use is a form of engraving called bris de verre, which loosely translates to “broken glass.” This gives surfaces a textured shimmering look that closely resembles the tremblage engraving found on A. Lange & Söhne’s ‘Handwerkskunst’ pieces.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Elsewhere, we have the usual assortment of haute horology finishing including hand-beveled bridges and plates, polished screw heads, polished jewel countersinks, black polish, mirror polish, and satin finishes. Coupled with the unique terraced architecture of the movement, the Caliber 17DM02-SKY is one of the most visually captivating movements I have ever seen.

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bovet Récital 20 Astérium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

So as you can see, even though the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium looks highly complicated, it is actually quite easy to read once you know what you are looking at. In fact, I would even argue that the Récital 20 Astérium makes a lot of sense especially for folks who are into astronomy. The only stumbling block is its price tag. Only 60 pieces of the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium will be made and prices begin at $350,000.



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  • Pete Pete

    uh. what time is it?

    • Framlucasse

      Yeah, bring a loupe.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Simple 3.08 in the afternoon.
      Easy to read.

    • I think it’s Friday.

    • It’s some day in January (no cheating by looking at the back), 15 hours after midnight and maybe 8 minutes into the hour – unless you are an astronomer in which case you have to adjust the time by 10 minutes, so it could be 14:58. But I can’t be sure as both EOT scales have negative values (which seems to be wrong). Just check your cell phone to be sure. It probably has the date too!

  • proudAmerican702

    There are a few Bovet watches I find to be very appealing. This isn’t one.

  • Framlucasse

    It certainly is a great work but far too complicated for my taste.
    “Less is more”, used to say Ludwig Mies. I agree with this.

  • BrJean

    Wizard’s watch!

  • Jere Lindström

    “power reserve of 10 days or 720 hours.” ???

    • IanE

      I guess if you ask really nicely you’ll get the 30-day option!

  • Marius

    It’s bonkers, but I rather like it.

  • Andre Braz

    This is an art object

  • Beefalope

    It’s times like these that I regret not becoming a multi-millionaire in my spare time.

    • Sure that is not a full-time job? Or it could be anyway 🙂

  • Sam Soul

    Kinda like this one even though I’ll never wear or afford it.

  • Mark1884

    Love it.
    Buying one for myself, and one for a friend.

  • Bozzor

    Got an idea for a youtube clip: you buy this watch, then take it to your local mall watchmaker for a service, then video their attempts with a a hidden camera…

    • You mean when they are looking for the battery to replace?

  • Berndt Norten

    I was expecting a price tag of 6??00,000. So I guess that’s good.

    • Terance Hill

      I have a question for you why do you use the six that way it’s been picking at me since I wrote this morning and mistyped while I was typing I was staring at it and I wrote $600,000 to the proper price

      • Berndt Norten

        There was once a fellow on this site called Phil leavell (fill level?). I suspect he was also BILL and Moonraker, etc etc. He is gone now, but he came up with the idea of a sixth option to choose (see the bottom of each post where one has five variations on the theme of ‘I like this watch’). Phil proposed box six, the turd ? box. And he used this 6??

        • Terance Hill

          That is a great idea but I have a question cuz this is disturbing is that the way the guy spelled his name
          Phil leavell . If it is I’m going to stop at my dad’s on my way through Grand Prairie in about 4 hours I’m on the road right now

          • Berndt Norten

            Safe travels, BILL

          • Terance Hill

            My name is Terance not Bill . I hope you’re just joking with me? Just to let you know it’s not the kind of joke I appreciate thank you

          • Berndt Norten

            Fair enough. My friends call me Keith; you can call me…Al

        • He was battling brain cancer, so his absence, temporary or permanent may be quite understandable.

          • Terance Hill

            Thank you for that information if it’s the same guy he’s important to our family we lost contact with him about 9 months ago. The number we had form comes up out of service and emails go unanswered.

  • Terance Hill

    Yowza beautiful Masterpiece of engineering and only $600,000
    The only question I have will they throw in a Timex so I can tell what freaking time it is

  • dennis

    Does anybody really know what time it is
    does anybody really care

  • Gokart Mozart

    Everybody the time is simple to read.
    Look at the big display at 12, now look at the large hand that is pointing to 15 (3 pm).
    To the right at the 3 o’clock position is the minutes which is between 5 and 10 depending on which picture you are looking during the course of the 4 minutes or so that Kenny took the photos.
    What is the fuss about!

  • Pete Pete

    it has nothing to do with this watch, but the name “bovet” somehow sounds very bovine to me. can’t help thinking about cows whenever I see the name.

  • Shirley Furby

    Now that’s a watch. As a technical nerd I could study and get lost in the details of this timepiece/astronomers friend. This is a watchmakers watch, not a machine assembled piece of cad cam reject junk. Kudos to Bovet for being different in a positive way.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Some really smart guys ( and lassies ) have got round a table and spent many hours designing every feature of this elaborate timepiece, ………..and this is the final product. What a mess. Ok mechanically wow but practically i can’t even tell the bloody time without staring at it for 5 mins ( this may become easier with wear ) which is never going to happen, even if i could afford it.
    Horoscope and people who believes in it annoy me.

    • Omegaboy

      I agree. Open up your heart and let the sun shine in . . . not.

  • Ian john horwood

    Again, more awful overpriced trash and junk.

  • Ranchracer

    Pure watch porn.

  • Daaaamnnnn….that’s breathtaking.

  • Tim

    That watch looks worth its price tag.

  • SuperStrapper

    46mm wide, 19mm tall, wedge shaped, huge domed sapphire, $350,000.

    Thank goodness the power reserve indicator is discrete.

    • I’m offended that the constellations are presented using an assumed latitude. For this price, I would want them to make the circular portion of the hour hand reflect my tropical sky (less northern and more southern constellations visible). And what about watch collectors from Singapore (about 1.35 degrees north)?

      • SuperStrapper

        Canada reporting in. Northeen hemisphere constellations are the only real constellations. In the southern hemisphere George Soros funded shills hold up small lights in the sky to subvert attention from globalisation. I read it on the internet so it’s obviously true.

        • Normally I’m opposed to killing folks. But I think an exception could be made for George Soros. Using one’s wealth to pervert a democratic system just to satisfy one’s own agenda is criminal. End of rant…

          • SuperStrapper

            The worst human on earth full stop. Yes I know Mugabe is still alive.

          • Ulysses31

            Rich people subverting democracy? Like that’s never happened before.

          • 🙂

  • spiceballs


  • Unless I’m missing something, the only way to read (or set) the day of the month is from the back side. And then using a loupe as each day is 1/365 of the scale. Great, you can tell (via the equation of time indicator) how much solar and mean time differ, but you can’t readily tell the date. A fail of epic proportions.

    But who cares, this is not a watch to be worn – only collected. Pascal Raffy even says these are for collectors and he never stresses any real use as a watch to be worn daily. Toys for rich boys with large watch vaults.

  • Ulysses31

    The most interesting thing to me about this watch is the tilted case. That’s about it though.

  • Yes! This is the proper way to do a watch like this! As baroque as you can get, beautiful!

    We need a lume shot, those constellations have to look astonishing!

    I’d buy it if I were rich!