Bovet Recital 21 Perpetual Calendar Front

The thing about perpetual calendar watches is that they all look mostly the same. Very often, these watches will have three subdials indicating the day, date, month, and sometimes the year. You will usually find a moon phase display, as well. To be honest, it’s a very logical, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing way of showing all the necessary information — but it can also be quite boring. So, what does one do when one wants a perpetual calendar watch that is a little different? You turn to a brand known for its penchant for shaking things up. And with the release of the Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar watch, Bovet has done just that.

Bovet Recital 21 Perpetual Calendar Side Profile

The Case

At first glance, it’s hard to tell that the Bovet Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar has a perpetual calendar complication at all. It is only upon closer inspection that you realize Bovet has displayed the date, day, month, and leap year indications in a very unconventional way. But let’s start with the case. It is 44.4mm-wide and 15.5mm-thick, and it comes in either 18k pink-gold or titanium. The latter will, obviously, be lighter.

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What’s unusual about the case is that it slopes. The case is slightly thinner at 6 o’clock and thicker at 12 o’clock. It’s supposed to make the dial easier to read but we’ll see about that when we actually get to handle the piece. As is often the case with this “writer’s desk” style of housing, the water resistance is not that impressive. The Bovet Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar offers just 30 meters of resistance. However, unless this strikes you as the kind of watch you would take for a relaxing dip in a hot tub immediately after washing the dishes, it should be sufficient for most purposes.

Bovet Recital 21 Perpetual Calendar Dial

The Dial

In the center of the dial, there’s a blue lacquered disc that shows the hours and minutes. The hours are indicated with golden Roman numerals, matching the hour and minute hands. The contrast of the gold hour markers and hands against the blue disc is quite stunning. Around the periphery of this disc is the retrograde display of the date, with a blue pointer marking the date. And to the left of the center disc is a subdial with the running seconds. Working our way outward at 12 o’clock is an aperture that shows the day. Directly opposite at 6 o’clock is another aperture that shows the month. The leap year is indicated by way of a small circular window at 3 o’clock. I can’t think of many perpetual calendar watches that use such a layout for displaying the day, date, and month.

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Framing the blue disc is a rhodium-plated plate decorated with circular Côtes de Genève. Look closely, and you will notice that framing the plate is the French phrase “Faictes de mains de maistres – Pour servir ponctuels gentilshommes – Ce par quoy attestons longue valeur,” which translates loosely to “Made by master craftsmen — to serve punctual gentlemen — we certify lasting value.” Depending on your tastes, you could either find this quaint or superfluous. I find myself in the latter camp.

Bovet Recital 21 Perpetual Calendar Movement

The Movement

The Bovet Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar is powered by caliber 13DM05-QPR. It’s an in-house mechanical hand-wound movement that beats at 3 Hz, with a generous power reserve of five days. Visible through a sapphire display caseback, it looks to be nicely decorated with circular Côtes de Genève, blued screws, and beveled edges on the bridges. Around 6 o’clock, Bovet has included a handy power-reserve indicator. And next to the balance wheel, the makers have seen fit to include a charming three-fingered seconds indicator to add a bit of dynamism to the caseback vista.

Bovet Recital 21 Perpetual Calendar Case Profile


If you are in the fortunate position of searching for a perpetual calendar watch that is quirky and different, you could really do a lot worse than the Bovet Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar. The layout might well be unconventional, but it isn’t difficult to read at all. Furthermore, it boasts an uncommon case shape and a very interesting movement with a pleasingly practical power reserve. So if you are sick of the usual suspects from established brands like Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin, the Bovet Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar is worth a closer look. The Récital 21 Retrograde Perpetual Calendar is priced starting at CHF 72,000. Visit to learn more.

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