Bovet has never been accused of being minimalist. Known for producing complicated, highly decorated watches, the specialized watchmaker’s latest release, the Virtuoso VII Retrograde Perpetual Calendar, doubles down on that reputation.
For starters, the elaborate timepiece, which comes in the brand’s patented Amadéo case, converts from a reversible wristwatch (complete with two faces) to a pocket watch, pendant watch and desk clock—no tools required. Not only does the watch display the date, day of the week, month and leap year cycle, its two faces each display hours, minutes, and seconds.
The faces, however, differ substantially. The first face contains a central hour and minute display, while the day and month indicators appear along the periphery of the circular, open-worked dial. The retrograde calendar hand appears beneath the central time display.
The second face, on the other hand, places all of its emphasis on the circular Côtes de Genève-finished movement, which is visible behind the off-centered hour and minutes dial at 12 o’clock.
Powered by a single barrel, hand-wound movement with five days of power reserve, this edition of the Virtuoso VII looks every bit as regal as its name suggests. Encased in either 18-karat white gold or 18-karat red gold, the model offers a choice of three dial colors: red or green guilloché, or a blue circular brushed pattern.
For lovers of Swiss watch history, it’s worth noting that Bovet is fast approaching its bicentennial. The brand, which traces its roots to the Swiss village of Fleurier, was founded in 1822, four years after the watchmaker Edouard Bovet boarded an East India Company ship bound for China, where he began to cultivate a thriving trade with Guangzhou.
Chinese buyers grew so enamored of Bovet’s 19th-century pocket watches that the name Bovet entered the Cantonese lexicon as a generic term for a watch. Reborn in 2001 under the stewardship of Pascal Raffy, the brand markets wristwatches known for their hand-painted enamel dials and pocket watch-like construction, with crowns distinctly positioned at 12 o’clock, a throwback to the models beloved by the Chinese elite nearly 200 years ago.
The Virtuoso VII Retrograde Perpetual Calendar in 18-karat white gold retails for 82,000 Swiss francs, or about $83,770; the 18-karat red gold version retails for 79,000 Swiss francs, or about $80,700.