A hand crafted horologic masterpiece from one of the oldest and most prestigious names in contemporary independent watchmaking, the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One with Blue Quartz dial by Bovet 1822 is an astonishing work of mechanical art with a spellbinding and ethereal beauty.
Entirely manufactured in-house at the brand’s ateliers in the Chateau de Môtiers, the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One is entirely encased within a case of sapphire crystal, comprising a complete single upper section which is seated on a titanium bezel out of sight on the underside, providing a reliably strong footing for the screws which fix the glass body together. Inspired by a writing slope of the past, the case tapers in height, with a wedge-like profile, narrowing from back to front, and the result is a fully transparent showcase offering a three dimensional view of the horologic workings within.
Lighter than titanium and second only to diamond in hardness, the sapphire case is also notoriously difficult to work with, and so the challenges and technical meetings involved in creating such a piece actually led to the watch being christened Brainstorm. Measuring 48mm across, it is generously proportioned, yet notably light on the wrist, and with its glassy-smooth surface and short titanium lugs is also extremely comfortable and a snug fit on all but the slimmest of wrists.
Inside the see-through rounded crystal box, the open worked dial area is dominated with the translucent dome of blue quartz on which the hours and minutes are displayed, with the movement’s components visible around and beneath it. Two pronounced cutaway sections at the twelve and the six open for the moon phase and tourbillon respectively.
In the uppermost part of the watch face, the moon phase displays the lunar cycle in both the northern and southern hemispheres, via a domed silvery disc, which rotates beneath the two round apertures marked N and S, with dark blue round appliqués of aventurine accentuating the shape of the moon as it waxes and wanes.
Below, and appearing to be almost entirely suspended and adrift in a space of its own, with a golden sun motif at the centre of its cage, the flying tourbillon rotates in a graceful sixty second cycle, and features split balance and escapement, so from above the spring and balance wheel are detached from the escapement which can be seen from the underside of the watch.
On either side of the domed dial, two further indicators show the date, whose discs are clearly visible and align inside a ring aperture at the eight o’clock position, and also the power reserve, which is near the five o’clock position.
Viewed from the side, the movement, which is fully exposed and flooded with light through the transparent case is tilted forward, in line with the shape of the case. Underneath, small black bridges fixed with blued screws contrast against the golden colour of the gears and the silver plates, in a fascinating vista of hand finished traditional watchmaking of uncompromising haute horlogerie standards. Beating at a leisurely 18’000 vib/h the manufacture hand winding movement boasts a highly impressive ten day power reserve from its single barrel, an achievement which is due to the utterly exacting precision of the fit and finish of each and every one of its components, to ensure smooth and virtually frictionless interaction, and thereby less demanding on the energy supply.
Sister company Dimier have created only sixty movements for the Bovet 1822 Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One, so already this remarkable and magnificent wristwatch is an exclusive collectable.