Bovet Recital 15

Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the Bovet Recital 15, a watch recently launched by the Fleurier-based haute horlogerie brand founded in 1822 by Edouard Bovet.

This detailed review of the Bovet Recital 15 includes live images and specification details.

Bovet Récital 15 - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Holding the new Bovet Recital 15 in my hands, beside Lake Geneva, I was reminded of a small pleasure I enjoyed as a young boy.

Stood adjacent a local lake, I would cast a stone in the water and marvel as the ripples emanated outwards. The resultant pattern of concentric circles, decorating the surface of the water, captured light and evinced all the hues of the chromatic spectrum. It was a spectacle I found beguiling as each wave ebbed to a state of calm, wonderfullly demonstrating how nature tends to restore dissonance to harmony.

Concentric circles adorn the back of the mainplate of the Récital 15, which forms the canvas for Bovet’s talented artisans to imbue the timepiece with life. Beauty is imparted to the dial, not with a brush and oils, but, in this instance, tools and finely executed components. The resultant vista is a magnum opus which deserves prolonged appreciation.

Côtes de Genève is the surface decoration I allude to in this pre-amble. It is a pattern familiar to many admirers of fine watchmaking. However, it is the application of the circular Genevan stripes to the reverse of the main bridge, ordinarily hidden from view on a conventional watch, which is extraordinary. Indeed, this alone provides a notable point of differentiation for this prestigious historical brand. However, as I continue to explain, there are many more notable attributes that distinguish this timepiece as truly exceptional.

The dial

Bovet has executed the aforementioned Côtes de Genève to an exalted standard. Each curving stripe or wave is beautifully defined, yet wonderfully smooth. Holding a loupe to the eye, the discerning observer will see fine lines which diagonally traverse each stripe; even, smooth and peerlessly presented. Their creation is matchless, standing testament to the adroit hands which led to their creation.

Bovet Récital 15 - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

An off-centre dial, biased towards the crown, depicts the hours and minutes. An aperture at 3 o’clock reveals the jumping hours which impart information with sublime, yet succinct communication. The minutes are delivered with a retrograde minute hand, arcing clockwise above a scale marked with Arabic numerals and clean white strokes.

The Bovet Recital 15 is endowed with a plethora of elegant elements. The central area of the off-centre dial is open worked, revealing the finely finished components beneath. Two blued screws, positioned above and below the dial, secure the upper part of the dial to the main plate. Whilst being functional, their form is nevertheless beautiful.

Positioned to the left of the dial is an open-worked seconds display. The slim seconds hand interfaces with a marked circlet, detailed with white strokes and Arabic numerals. However, it is the central area of the seconds display which arrests attention with a spell-binding view of the snailed wheels openly revealed. Moreover, this central area provides the wearer with a view through the movement, according a lightness which is truly magnificent.

Bovet Récital 15 - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The arrangement of the off-centre dial and its smaller sibling, the seconds display, resembles a figure of eight in a state of repose. A numeral often linked to good fortune by Chinese society, I suspect that this is no coincidence. Indeed, Bovet has strong historical ties to China, dating back to 1818 when Edouard Bovet first visited Canton and sold four watches promptly after arriving.

In the upper portion of the dial, an oval shaped cartouche resides, stating the brand’s name and the year Edouard Bovet established his company in Fleurier.

The case

The 18-carat red gold case measures 42 mm in diameter. Its proportions appear perfect and afford a comfortable fit. Despite the timepiece being very special, it remains highly wearable and would prove suitable for daily wear.

The crown has a charming decoration encircling its form, something in common with many Bovet timepieces. Moreover, a cabochon adorns its vertical flank.

The caseback is secured with eight screws. A large sapphire crystal grants a wide-angle perspective of the majestic movement residing within the case.

Bovet Récital 15 - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Enveloping the movement, presented on an inner flange, is a statement presented in French text. It reads, “Faictes de mains de maistres, pour servir ponctuels gentilshommes, ce par quoy attestons longue valeur.” This means, “Made by the hand of masters, to serve punctual gentleman, which attest our core values.” The statement continues to remain apt to this day, but can be traced back to the 19th century when it was first made by Bovet Freres & Co. S.A.

The movement 

Bovet and its sister company, Manufacture Dimier 1738, are known for creating beautiful movements, harnessing much watchmaking expertise. However, this movement represents a new stage in the company’s history.

The hand-wound movement is the result of five years development work which commenced in 2008. Whilst the company has created tourbillons in-house for some time, the Calibre Virtuoso II Spécialité Horlogère DIMIER 1738 (13.75-70-001-HMSR), represents the first time the brand has made a non-tourbillon movement, totally in-house, crafting each component including the balance spring.

Bovet Récital 15 - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The wearer will note the blued triple seconds hand, visible via the exhibition caseback, rotating in the opposite direction to the hand located dial side. This is remarkable as both share the same axis. The know-how is patented and the ingenuity is laudable.

Another function depicted on the movement is the power reserve indicator. By incorporating the function to the rear of the watch, the balance and equilibrium of the main dial is not compromised. Bovet, never fails to optimise the aesthetics of every element of this watch.

A spiral-shaped motif adorns the barrel cover of the mainspring, expertly executed and delightfully refined. The movement features a single barrel delivering a stated power reserve of 5 days. The frequency of the movement is 21,600 vph (3Hz).

However, it is the finissage which is an aspect I find especially appealing. The bevelled bridges shine on their angled profiles. The wheels on the openly disclosed gear train feature perfect circular graining. Whilst several bridges adorn the movement, the curving lines of the Côtes de Genève motif depicted on each, perfectly align.

Bovet has created a purists movement, produced to an impeccable standard.

Closing remarks 

Some mechanical watches while featuring an attractive exterior, often incorporate a rather ordinary movement, hidden from view. The movement perfunctorily powers the functions of the watch, but with an absence of finesse.

Bovet evidently does not subscribe to this ethos. The dial, case and movement share equal aesthetic importance. There is no discernible compromise. Every aspect of the Bovet Recital 15 is distilled to a punctilious standard.

As I become lost in a sea of concentric circles which adorn the numerous surfaces of this watch, I am once again reminded of my youth and the optimism I exhibited as a young boy. I dream of a day when the culmination of my professional career can be marked by the ownership of a timepiece such as this, with its concentric dials granting a perfect harmony, evident from every perspective.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Bovet Recital 15
  • Reference: DTR15-42RG-000-W1-01
  • Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 42.00 mm; height 12.80 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Jumping hours; retograde minutes; Seconds cage (coaxial reverse seconds-hand), power-reserve indicator.
  • Movement: Calibre Virtuoso II Spécialité Horlogère DIMIER 1738 (13.75-70-001-HMSR), hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 41 jewels; power reserve 5 days.
  • Strap: Black alligator leather supplied on 18-carat red gold pin buckle
  • Limited Edition: 60 pieces in 18-carat red gold. Also available in 18-carat white gold

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