The Bovet Virtuoso V has recently been subject to a skilful makeover and now features a gorgeous guilloché dial, masterfully embellished with multiple layers of blue lacquer. Angus Davies provides an overview of this impressive timepiece.
This detailed review of the Bovet Virtuoso V includes live images, specification and prices.
One problem with modern-day living is the information overload we are all subject to. Disseminating data overwhelms the senses and obscures the necessary information we need for making sound judgements. Bovet, the Swiss artisanal maison, has unveiled a new timepiece, the Virtuoso V, which delivers the essentials of time in a readily decipherable form. A jumping hour is paired with retrograde minutes, imparting the prevailing time succinctly.
The Bovet Virtuoso V was first unveiled in 2015, endowed with the brand’s Virtuoso II calibre. This year, 2018, Bovet has reimagined the dial of the Virtuoso V, granting the watch a totally new aesthetic.
The dial (front)
The dial surface is decorated with a guilloché motif. Thereafter, a dozen layers of translucent blue lacquer are applied and then subsequently polished to create a flawlessly flat surface. It is the repeated application of lacquer and the aforementioned guilloché motif which imbue this dial with deep lustrous depths.
At the centre of the dial is an aperture proclaiming the hour. Positioned in the upper portion of the dial is a retrograde minutes display which arcs left to right. The hour jumps precisely on the hour, moving simultaneously with the minute hand as it sweeps left to zero. The sense of theatre is magnificent as the movement orchestrates the motion of both indications.
Bovet’s artisanal prowess is legendary and this dial provides a further illustration of the brand’s exceptional skills.
The dial (rear) / movement
The Bovet Virtuoso V features a second dial which can be displayed uppermost with a few adjustments of the strap. This fascinating transformation comes courtesy of the brand’s ‘Amadeo convertible case’ which also allows the watch to be converted into a table clock or pocket watch. Remarkably, this impressive metamorphosis can be performed without the use of tools.
A blue dial is positioned in the upper area of the movement. The hours and minutes are communicated with golden poire-style hands. Roman numerals indicate the hours and the dial surface, once again, features a guilloché motif and numerous layers of blue lacquer.
Positioned adjacent the blue dial is a power-reserve indicator. At the base of the movement is a three-handed wheel which rotates to indicate the running seconds on a blue arcing scale.
All the bridges are adorned with circular Côtes de Genève motif. The balance bridge swoops downwards in a graceful arc while another bridge, sitting opposite, exhibits a similar profile. The movement is blessed with an exquisite symmetrical appearance and enlivened with a liberal application of blued screws.
The frequency of the hand-wound Virtuoso II calibre is 21,600 VpH (3Hz) and the movement contains 41 jewels. Remarkably, a single barrel delivers an impressive power reserve of 5 days. This notable autonomy is particularly surprising as both the jumping hours and retrograde minutes usually require a substantial amount of energy to function. The expertise of Bovet is clear to see.
The Bovet Virtuoso V is offered in a choice of 18-carat red gold or white gold. Personally, I prefer the warm tones of the 18-carat red gold, appreciating its seemly relationship with the blue lacquered dial.
The 43.5mm case diameter should prove agreeable to most would-be buyers. However, the case does exhibit a notable depth of 15.70mm which may be a problem for some. The significant case height is understandable owing to the watch’s twin dials and complex movement. I found the Virtuoso V comfortable to wear despite its relative depth.
Bovet is a remarkable company, capable of making its own movements and dials. Within the confines of its three manufacturing sites, no-compromise craftsmanship is omnipresent. The maison’s repertoire of skills even includes engraving and miniature painting. In this instance, the Virtuoso V is suffused with much artisanal beauty, courtesy of the elaborate guilloché work and multiple layers of blue lacquer.
The Amadeo convertible case allows the Virtuoso V to be worn as a wristwatch, used as a pocket watch or even converted into a table clock. The system is user-friendly, facilitates quick transformations and does not necessitate the use of tools. In addition, the watch is equipped with two dials, allowing the wearer to switch between either option with the minimum of fuss.
The rear dial displays hours, minutes and seconds. It also features a power-reserve indicator located adjacent the hours and minutes display. The juxtaposition of the time indications and the movement components should also sate the desires of the mechanically curious.
The Virtuoso II calibre is beautifully finished. It features ‘reversed hand fitting’ allowing both dials to display the correct time. Furthermore, despite the jumping hours and retrograde minutes both quaffing significant energy, the watch has a remarkable power reserve of 5 days.
Ultimately, I return to the front dial. The intricately decorated blue ocean is captivating. Both the dynamic tones of the dial and the richness of its appearance distinguish the Virtuoso V as special. Despite its abundant beauty, the dial is a paragon of practicality. Indeed, its concise declaration of time provides a welcome departure from the onslaught of information which confuses our daily lives.
- Model: Bovet Virtuoso V
- Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 43.5mm; height 15.70mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 3 ATM (30 metres)
- Functions: Jumping hours; retrograde minutes; hours, minutes, small seconds; power-reserve indicator
- Movement: Virtuoso II Caliber; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 41 jewels; power reserve 5 days
- Strap: Alligator strap with 18K red gold pin buckle
- Price: CHF 65,000 excluding tax (RRP as at 7.3.2018)