Bovet OttantaSei Tourbillon
Could we ever deny the inescapable connection between watchmaking and the automotive industry? Since the dawn of timekeeping, people have measured speed using various means, including for races involving athletes, horses, camels, dogs and, later on, cars. Until the quartz revolution, a precise chronometer was an accessory for professionals and/or the rich. With the advent of the automobile, watches became another way of showing off, not just a status symbol, reflecting not only the performance of the car but also the wearer's own taste and wealth. But this undeniable intertwining was also an opportunity for both industries to work together, and exchange technologies, materials and knowledge. Today, we are exploring a creation resulting from the collaboration of two fantastic Maisons, both with a rich history of superlatives and an exceptional heritage - Bovet by Pininfarina: Bovet 1822 Ottantasei Tourbillon.

Bovet OttantaSei TourbillonThe Bovet Dynasty: Masters of Watchmaking for the Far East

The Early Days and the Chinese Market:

The Bovet family, originally clockmakers, entered the watch trade in the early 19th century. Recognizing China’s potential, Edouard Bovet ventured there in 1818, establishing Bovet as a major player. The Bovet brothers catered to Chinese tastes with richly decorated movements, gold cases, and miniature paintings. Their success earned them the nickname “The Bovets of China” and “Bo Wei” became synonymous with “watch” in Chinese.

Bovet – Innovation and Legacy:

Bovet pioneered features such as transparent casebacks and the Fleurisanne hand-engraving technique. They are known for their unique flyback chronograph design, which is still studied today. Under Pascal Raffy’s leadership, Bovet continues to innovate with the Amadeo convertible case system. The company has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Aiguille d’Or, and holds over 16 patents.

Modern-day Bovet:

Today, Bovet produces nearly all components in-house, ensuring quality and customization. They specialize in bespoke creations, fulfilling the dreams of watch enthusiasts. In 2018, Bovet celebrated the 200th anniversary of Edouard Bovet’s arrival in China with the innovative Edouard Bovet Tourbillon. Bovet’s story is one of entrepreneurial spirit, cultural adaptation, and a commitment to exceptional watchmaking.

Pininfarina: masters of combining form, function and beauty

Pininfarina is a renowned Italian car design firm and coachbuilder, known for its luxury and style: the Maison creates timeless, elegant designs for some of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the world. Founded in 1930 by Battista “Pinin” Farina, the brand has a rich heritage in shaping the automotive landscape. Pininfarina’s signature lies not only in aesthetics, but also in incorporating cutting-edge technology and functionality into its designs. The Maison has had some spectacular collaborations with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jaguar, and Peugeot and has a well-earned reputation for building bespoke, one-of-a-kind cars for discerning clients. While this practice is less common today, their craftsmanship and attention to detail remain legendary. However, the Automobili Pininfarina electric car, Battista hyper GT, is a powerful and technologically advanced model that can be customized to reflect the style of its owner.

Pininfarina’s expertise goes beyond cars to include yachts, furniture, and even architectural projects, continuing to push boundaries for shape and functionality. As we can see today, watches are also part of their design portfolio.

Bovet OttantaSei TourbillonBovet OttantaSei Tourbillon

The story began in 2008, when Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET, met with Paolo Pininfarina. This meeting led to a strong mutual understanding between the Italian designers and Swiss watchmakers, which quickly blossomed into a collection. Pascal Raffy’s instructions during the development of the OttantaSei invited his teams to showcase its essential mechanics. To achieve this goal, he emphasized the double meaning of the word “light”, referring to both brightness and weight.

The 44mm PVD-treated titanium case bears a resemblance to a pocket watch and the Bovet’s Amadeo case. However, unlike the Amadeo case, this one cannot be transformed. Bovet named this case Pininfarina and used it not only for the red gold, titanium and platinum versions of the OttantaSei but also for their latest collaboration, the Aperto 1. Instead of metamorphosis, this case offers an impressive view of the Caliber 17BM03 from all directions, thanks to the four sapphire crystals.

Only one-third of the watch face is used to display the time: the top right satin-finished blue dial with its voluptuous hands filled with Super-LumiNova facing tall Arabic numerals as indexes. The top left dial proudly and boldly presents the staggering 10-day power reserve indication – an impressive achievement and a standout feature for Bovet.

The lower part of the watch face is stealing the show with the flying tourbillon consisting of 104 components. The patented double-sided tourbillon is the centerpiece of the unique design of the watch.  This innovative feature, with the escapement and balance spring on opposite sides of the central anchor point, optimizes both precision and visual appeal. Thanks to its groundbreaking construction and single anchoring point, the movement achieves remarkable balance despite its substantial thickness. The result is a watch that feels satisfyingly weighty in the hand.

Bovet OttantaSei TourbillonThe finishes on the movement’s surfaces combine patterns and textures found in both watchmaking and automotive industries. Mr. Raffy’s commitment to excellence and painstaking attention to detail are evident on both the front and back of the watch.

Bovet OttantaSei TourbillonMeeting the piece “in the metal” is a stroke of luck. Pascal Raffy made the bold decision to limit the series to only 86 movements. Unlike a good wine, which can only be enjoyed by the person who drinks it, this watch can also be admired by the people around you.

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