Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier
Angus Davies reviews the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier, a watch which celebrates the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches with incredibly stylish results.
This detailed review of the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Today, much discussion focusses upon new technologies such as ‘connected devices’ and ‘smart watches’. With the odd exception, I confess, I am somewhat underwhelmed by the notion of an electronic device adorning my wrist. Indeed, I would describe a so-called ‘smart watch’ as merely a wrist-worn electronic gadget, sharing little in common with horology.
A fine watch, in my opinion, should be imbued with craftsmanship, brim with style, harness history and express the character and passion of its creator. Moreover, a fine timepiece should proffer longevity and not be rendered obsolete in a matter of months.
However, I accept that I may be accused of being a laggard. In fact, I have no doubt, that in the early part of the 20th century, many similarly conservative souls expressed alarm at the notion of wearing a watch upon their wrist, rather than in the seemly location of a waistcoat pocket.
Nevertheless, as history has shown, the wristwatch has gone on to be celebrated as a practical means of wearing a timepiece, whilst still respecting the watchmaking traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Recently, the historic maison, Bovet, released its ’19 Thirty Collection’ which references this period of transition, when watches migrated from the waistcoat to the wrist. One model is presented in a ‘Fleurier‘ case and shares a similar appearance to the brand’s legendary Easel chronometer of yesteryear.
The Fleurier case incorporates an exquisite crown and non-functional bow, located above noon. Gracing the fluted crown is a regal blue cabochon, reinforcing the perception that this is a watch of impeccable breeding. It cleverly fuses the aesthetics of a pocket watch with the practicality of a wristwatch.
When Pascal Raffy, the owner of Bovet 1822 and Dimier 1738, designed the 19 Thirty with the Fleurier case, he created a magnificent timepiece, delivering an original appearance, whilst respecting the legacy of Bovet’s former historic timepieces.
A further model from this maison, the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier, shares much in common with the aforementioned 19 Thirty with Fleurier case. However, in this instance, it features four horns and a comparatively conventional crown, located at 3 o’clock. It is this latter model which is the focal point of my editorial interest on this occasion.
Highly polished Poire-style hour and minute hands feature a smattering of white detail near their tips and are eminently simple to read.
The softly spoken ivory dial features Roman numerals. The dial exudes a beguiling beauty, quietly conversing with the wearer with dignified demeanour. Where some timepieces crudely proclaim their indications with distracting accents, this Bovet enunciates time with perfectly clear diction. It is an exemplar of clarity and tasteful restraint.
A small seconds indication interfaces with the larger hour and minute display. The small seconds hand is, once again, highly polished, supremely slim and incorporates a circular counterweight opposite the tip. The second hand advances three times per second, momentarily interfacing with the neat, black strokes gracing the periphery of the subdial. Each 15-second integer on the subdial is denoted with Arabic numerals.
The main dial area comprises of the underside of the mainplate, charmingly adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif. Two apertures are presented adjacent the hour and minute display, conferring a sumptuous depth. A power-reserve indicator is located within the lower aperture and a slender hand informs the wearer of the available energy stored within the sole spring barrel.
Both the hour and minute display, together with the small seconds subdial, are framed with gleaming circlets of brightwork and retained with thermally blued screws.
Admiring the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier, I am struck by its graceful air. Clearly, by adopting the design language employed, Bovet has exhibited great wisdom, ensuring this watch will retain lasting eye-appeal for generations to come.
The Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier is also offered in two alternative circular brushed dial colours, black or blue. These artistic canvasses can be combined with Arabic, Roman or Chinese numerals.
The 42mm diameter steel case steers a prudent course, carefully avoiding the extremes of the minuscule or the oversized. By taking this approach, once again, the Swiss company imbues the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier with a lasting appeal, immune from the fickle fate of fashion.
The case has a stated thickness of 9.55mm, but, upon the arm, seems slimmer. The watch sits flush with the wrist, courtesy of its flat caseback and readily resides beneath the cuff of a shirt. Its measured proportions grant a very agreeable marriage with the arm. Moreover, the short lugs avoid the case from annoyingly turning on the wrist, ensuring the strap makes a snug union at all times.
Unlike the 19 Thirty with Fleurier case, the crown is positioned at 3 o’clock on the Dimier case. Its neat, knurled grip proves simple to manipulate and highly attractive, creating charming pockets of light and shade along its form. At the tip of the crown, a blue cabochon concludes proceedings, usurping the commonplace logo found on most watches. A potential risk of this crown design could have been an unwelcome impingement on the free movement of the wrist. However, I am pleased to report that the architecture of the crown, together with the restrained case diameter, collaborate wonderfully, avoiding such undignified behaviour.
Gracing the dorsal plane of this timepiece, a wide sapphire crystal accords a spectacular view of the movement and the caseback is retained with six screws. The highly polished metal encircling the sapphire crystal is comparatively slim, according a greater area for the glass-like material and reinforcing the sense of lightness, a characteristic that is ubiquitously presented.
The black alligator leather strap on my press loan bequeathed a sublime tactility, reinforcing my positive perception of quality.
Bovet 1822, together with its sister company, Dimier 1738, are notable because, despite their comparatively modest size, they are vertically integrated. Many of the components which are lovingly brought together within this 19 Thirty with Dimier case are made within the confines of the company’s three Swiss sites in Môtiers, Tremelan and Plan-les-Ouates.
The Caliber 15BM04 is a hand-wound movement embodying much of the peerless craftsmanship synonymous with Bovet. Admiring the movement, one is struck by the flawless finissage and no-compromise construction of this watch.
The bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif, with each curving stripe delightfully defined. Gleaming bevels are also much in evidence. I particularly like the large, unhindered views of the mainplate, decorated with pleasingly presented perlage.
Sadly, modern watches often hide comely circular grained wheels beneath huge, oversized bridges. Thankfully, Bovet has revealed much of the gear train, an aspect I especially appreciate, further reinforcing my affection for this watch.
Thermally blued screws complete the inventory of ‘must-haves’ for any self-respecting, diehard purist and, once again, Bovet indulges such cravings.
A key aspect of this watch is the prodigious power reserve supplied by the sole mainspring. The 7-day power reserve is very impressive for a watch equipped with only one spring barrel.
I have long been an admirer of Bovet’s timepieces but have always been resigned that their pulchritudinous forms have been beyond my financial grasp or at least until now. A welcome attribute of the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier is affordability. The recommended retail price of CHF 16,800 excluding taxes (RRP as at 26.11.2015) places this watch firmly within my budget and that of many other individuals with a penchant for fine timepieces.
I like the inspiration for the Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier. When timepieces moved from being worn in a waistcoat pocket to gracing the wrist, watch companies did not eschew craftsmanship. The finest examples of wristwatches upheld the skills and trades which made them covetable for future generations and this continues to be perpetuated by accomplished maisons such as Bovet.
In contrast, imagine for a moment inheriting an old mobile phone or a laptop computer from the 1980s or, one day, a ‘smart watch’. The intrinsic obsolescence of such items renders them undesirable in the long term and they represent potential post-dated landfill.
The advent of the wristwatch should be celebrated and Bovet should be congratulated for creating a fitting tribute, capable of being cherished for decades to come. Sadly, I don’t envisage looking back at the first smart watches with the same affection.
- Model: Bovet 19 Thirty Dimier
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42mm; height 9.55mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indication.
- Movement: Caliber 15BM04; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 35 jewels; power reserve 7 days
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap presented with a stainless steel pin buckle
- Price: CHF 16,800 excluding taxes (RRP as at 26.11.2015)