Swiss Bovet‘s Pascal Raffy personally introduced the ornate and complicated new flagship high-complication Bovet Récital 22 Grand Récital watch to me when I met with him in Switzerland early in 2018. The 22nd model in the esteemed Récital collection is apparently so “grand” it required use of the term “Récital” twice in the product’s official name. Typically enthusiastic and proud of his new “baby” Mr. Raffy was keen to point out many of the Récital 22 Grand Récital’s technical and aesthetic elements, which make this highly limited, roughly half million-dollar watch a true prize.
Note the presentation box (I mean sphere) that the Récital 22 Grand Récital watch comes in. In the images below you’ll see Mr. Raffy resting his hand on the starry-style globe which comes with each of these timepieces. The electronics in the presentation sphere offer a beguiling light display when the sphere is opened where the watch “rests.” Its a fantastic way to store a product like this and helps round out what is essentially a very expensive toy for the most refined tastes. And for that I love what Bovet continues to do with each ensuing Récital collection timepiece that builds on the interesting models that have come before.
aBlogtoWatch has not been able to cover each of the Bovet Récital collection timepieces but we have covered quite a few of them. Just search for “Bovet Récital” and you’ll see a dizzying array of fascinating horological directions Bovet has taken with the collection over the years. About six months prior to the publication of our debut of the Bovet Récital 22 Grand Récital, we offered a hands-on look at the Bovet Récital 20 Asterium watch here. For the Récital 22 Grand Récital collection Bovet will produce 60 pieces total with half of the watches being in 18k red gold (reference R220001) and the other half being in 950 platinum (reference R22002).
The Bovet Récital 22 Grand Récital begins with a round case that is asymmetrically thick given its wedge-style shape. This isn’t the first Bovet Récital timepiece to do this and it does make admiring the dial more ergonomic. It also helps the overall design of the watch be that much more distinctive. The otherwise round case is sizable but also very wearable being 46.3mm wide and 19.6mm thick (at its widest point). Case water resistance is 30m and it is sandwiched with AR-coated sapphire crystal on the top and bottom. While the case has a series of in-set pushers to correct a variety of features offered by the movement, in addition to the crown the case has a large, conspicuous pusher located at 12 o’clock. When pressed, this pusher advances all the calendar settings by one day, which makes resetting the calendar complications much easier if the power in the mainspring winds down (which will certainly happen unless you carefully recall to wind this manually wound caliber about once a week).
As is the case with other similar timepieces of this ilk, there is no clear distinction between the mechanical movement inside of the watch and the dial. Both are connected together as scales, dials, and other indicators are built directly onto the movement itself. In addition to that, the Bovet Récital 22 Grand Récital makes use of a good deal of hand-finishing, engraving, and painting. The half-done globe display is beautiful and carefully painted by hand. The finest visual trick used in the painting process is the application of luminous enamel paint. Bovet has experimented with this type of luminant paint in the past with great success. You can see a handful of images in this article of what glows on the dial in the dark after the face of the Récital 22 Grand Récital has been properly charged with sufficient light. Most timepieces of this traditional style and complexity won’t have a “light display” of that type to share with its owner. With that said, the system for telling the time isn’t entirely luminous. The watch only shows time in 24-hour format with the hours being luminous but not the retrograde minute hand.