A truly magnificent piece from a quite remarkable independent manufacturer, the Virtuoso V Red Gold by Bovet is a watch of spectacular beauty, lavish opulence and exquisite finishing which makes it stand out in any company. Sophisticated and elaborate in its wonderfully versatile case, it is reversable with two dials, and also easily transforms from wristwatch to pocket watch, or even into a stand-alone desk clock, depending on the occasion or the mood.
Inspired by the exotic pocket watches for which the Bovet name was renowned in its heyday in the mid eighteen hundreds, today the company is one of very few fully self-contained independent manufacturers which has the facilities to produce almost every component in its watches in-house, and that prestigious legacy is immortalised in the Virtuoso V; a series of classical masterpieces which are uniquely distinctive, with their signature styling, and utterly uncompromising in the attention to detail and fastidious workmanship which is visible throughout.
With its perfectly rounded, lug-less case, and ornate crown at the twelve o’clock position, nestling inside a fancy bow-like attachment which both protects and swivels to allow adjustment and winding, as well as being one end of a pivot on which the case can be rotated through 180¬º along its central axis, immediately it is clear that the Bovet Virtuoso V is far from being a typical contemporary timepiece. Rather than being a wristwatch which converts into a pocket watch, it is in fact much the other way around, as its aesthetics and layout are more in keeping with the latter, and once detached from the strap and replaced with its red gold plated chain, it is equally perfect in either guise.
With its double faced display the Virtuoso V is a supremely complex feat of horologic engineering as on one side it features jumping hours and retrograde minutes, with conventional hours and minutes on the other, and so the gearing in its hand winding movement is configured to drive both opposing faces of the watch with its hands rotating in opposite directions to each other.
On a reduced dial of hand guilloché decoration coated with deep blue translucent lacquer, the jumping hours are displayed in a window at the centre of the face, between the retrograde minutes and the open seconds aperture at the six o’clock position. Around these functions, alternating plates of lacquer and hand engraving are stepped and add to a graceful symmetry.
On the other face, the hours and minutes are shown on a smaller decentralised dial, against a backdrop of Côtes de Genève and perfectly polished anglage on bridges which sweep gracefully in towards the centre to secure the balance and gear train which are exposed.
Through a single round cavity at the six o’clock position the double co-axial seconds are displayed on both sides, and here the complexity of the mechanism can be fully appreciated, as each pointer can be seen rotating counter-directional to the other.
Beating at a frequency of 21’600 vib/h and boasting a power reserve of seven days on a full wind the Calibre 13BM11AIHSMR manual winding movement is entirely designed, developed and manufactured in-house by sister company and movement specialist Dimier, which operates side by side with Bovet, under the same roof in the Château de Môtiers, where for much of its early history was home to the Bovet Frères Manufacture.
Presented on a blue alligator leather strap, with red gold buckle, the Bovet Virtuoso V is a distinguished and individual piece of exceptional haute horlogerie, and one of outstanding beauty.