|Case||Red gold, 43.3mm|
|Dial||Blue with sapphire dial with retrograde perpetual calendar and power reserve|
|Movement||Mechanical, hand wound Virtuoso VII specialty calibre|
|Crystal||Scratch resistant sapphire|
|Waterproofness||Waterproof to 50m / 164 ft|
|Power Reserve||Five days|
|Functions||Retrograde Perpetual Calendar with power reserve, double sided, Amadeo case.|
|Bracelet||Hand stitched black alligator strap with 18 carat gold clasp|
Bovet Fleurier Complications
Part of Bovet’s Fleurier Complications range, the Virtuoso VII is one of those watches that effortlessly combines beauty and complication.
There will be many who have not heard of this small, independent watch brand or, if they have, do not know much about it. I was fortunate to visit Dimier and Bovet (the former being their manufacturer) in Switzerland. If you would like to find out more about them, please read the three-part article following my visit. Part I is here.
Beautifully intricate . . . or ostentatious?
Firstly, lets be clear. The Virtuoso VII‘s aesthetics and finishing are of the highest order. When I first saw Bovet watches advertised, I thought that, whilst beautifully intricate, they would be too ostentatious for my taste. But one look at these watches in person however tells you how wrong I was. They are nothing short of stunning and look like nothing else in the market.
Part of this is down to the way the crown is integrated into the Amadeo case (see below). An inspired piece of engineering, which really makes you wonder why no one thought of this before. It lends an effortless symmetry that not only, to my eyes, increases the attractiveness of the watch, but introduces a novel concept.
Secondly, it is a retrograde perpetual calendar. For those who do not know, a perpetual calendar displays the day, date, month and year (including the leap year cycle), as opposed to an annual calendar which only shows the first three. Given these wrist watches are mechanical, this requires the watch to be ‘programmed’ with the aforementioned combinations. To give you an idea of the depth of engineering Bovet has gone to in creating this piece, assuming you keep the watch wound, it will run for 400 years without any adjustment necessary.
Time . . . takes time!
To really bend your mind, such is the precision of the 489 part movement, the fastest wheel turns 12 times a minute, whilst the slowest takes eight years to complete a single revolution. I often try to find little snippets of information to give to people when they question why these watches cost so much money. I think that’s a pretty good one and illustrates the painstaking attention to detail required to make these pieces; and how every single piece performs a vital role in making this watch look and run the way it does.
The first face displays the hours, minutes and seconds, as well as all the indications relative to the perpetual calendar. To the more well-versed reader, they may notice that in the Virtuoso VII, the display of such complication is turned on its head. Normally the calendar information is presented centrally on the dial, with the time displayed on the perimeter. However in this piece it is the opposite, meaning the time is located centrally, whilst the functions of the perpetual calendar are displayed around the outside. At 9, 12 and 3 o’clock the day, leap year indicator and month are displayed respectively, all on sapphire discs. This ensures both legibility of the complication and simultaneous admiration of the movement. At 6 o’clock, the seconds hand is displayed.
Around the outside of the time is the retrograde calendar display. A retrograde means that the hand reverses once it has completed one revolution. In this instance, when the hand indicating the date comes to the end of the month, it will reverse to the first automatically.
The second face exchanges complication for clean lines. The time is moved to 12 o’clock providing prominence to the movement, decorated with circular Côtes de Genèves. At 6 o’clock, the seconds are once again displayed, which is a patented mechanism of Bovet as they are visible on both sides of the watch. At 9 o’clock is the power reserve indicator.
As if all that was not enough, the revolutionary part about Bovet is many of the models incorporate the Amadeo case. Introduced in 2010, this ingenious system allows the watch to be transformed into a reversible wristwatch, a table clock or a pocket watch (for men), without the use of any tools. The Virtuoso VII is one of those watches and, as a result, this piece is one of supreme artisanal class.
How to wear it
The Virtuoso VII is singular in its focus and a dress watch in the truest sense of the word. Its happiest environment is, of course, with a suit, but trust me it looks just as incredible with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I wouldn’t advise using it for any kind of water adventures though – sitting aboard a yacht off the coast of Monaco whilst enjoying a decanted Petrus 1972 would be closest I would suggest in terms of aquatic pursuits for this particular beauty.
The Bovet Virtuoso VII is one of those rare watches that has the capacity to stop you in your tracks; with an elegant combination of beauty, complication and wearability. There is no other word for it. Incredible.
This piece retails for 69,000CHF and is a limited edition of 100. Prices on the secondary market range from around half this, but I would exercise caution if going down this route.