Bovet Virtuoso VII
The Bovet Virtuoso VII – Perpetual Calendar is equipped with a power-reserve indicator and two dials. Moreover, this timepiece incorporates the brand’s ingenious AMADEO® system, allowing the owner to choose which dial is uppermost, convert the timepiece to a pocket watch or even convert the watch into a table clock without the use of any tools.
This detailed review of the Bovet Virtuoso VII includes live images, specification details and pricing.
In a few weeks’ time Christmas will have come and gone and cars will queue outside refuse tips in order to discard unwanted packaging and redundant goods. We are an incredibly wasteful society.
Another illustration of society’s profligate ways can be seen with electronic goods which are cast aside, even when working, in favour of the latest technology. This is further compounded by those televisions and other electrical items which are intentionally ‘lifed’, cynically designed to fail at a predetermined period in the future. I reiterate my earlier comment that ‘we are an incredible wasteful society’.
Thankfully, there are areas in life where products are crafted, free of compromise, intended to provide a lifetime of reliable service. It is probably for this reason that I have always be drawn to the world of haute horlogerie, a domain where the word ‘compromise’ is absent from the lexicon employed.
When it comes to haute horlogerie, few names can surpass the rarefied heights of Bovet. This most adept producer of exalted timepieces imbues each of its products with a longevity intended to eclipse the lifespan of its fortuitous owner. Recently, I shared a few cherished moments with one such watch, the Virtuoso VII, a timepiece equipped with a perpetual calendar and requiring adjustment once every 400 years. When a company talks of adjustments in hundreds of years, there is a welcome reassurance implied.
Bovet Virtuoso VII with table stand extended
The Bovet Virtuoso VII does not subscribe to convention, it has two dials with the movement sandwiched in between. One sapphire crystal is domed, whilst the other is flat. This watch is also equipped with the brand’s ingenious AMADEO® system, allowing the owner to choose which dial is uppermost, convert the timepiece to a pocket watch or even transmute the watch into a table clock without the use of any tools.
The dial with domed sapphire crystal
Bovet offer prospective purchasers the option of a black or white polished lacquer dial. In the case of my press loan, the latter variant was supplied.
At the heart of the dial, an hour and minute display resides. Golden hands interface with Roman numerals imparting time with seemly brevity. Two thermally blued screws retain the dial and sit beneath the text ‘5 jours’, indicating a power reserve of five days.
Surrounding the hour and minutes display, but slightly spaced away, is a circlet denoting the date. A neat triangular pointer traverses the scale, indicating the prevailing date with notable clarity and style. The display is a retrograde type, jumping back to the first day of each month once the mechanical mind of the watch has deemed it appropriate.
Positioned at 6 o’clock a small seconds display resides. This indication uses three hands which take it in turn to impart seconds on a 20-second display. Interestingly, the mechanism for the small seconds display is shared with the dial on the reverse of the watch, but magically inverts the motion to ensure both second hands turn in a clockwise direction.
A clear sapphire disc to the left of the hour and minutes display is marked with the days of the week in black text. A white plate at 9 o’clock provides a background to showcase the current day with superb lucidity. Positioned opposite, a similar disc and plate proclaim the current month, again, free of any ambiguity.
At noon, a leap-year indicator imparts information with absolute clarity. Indeed, despite presenting much information, all of the dial indications are simple to interpret, making this a highly practical watch to use.
The dial with the flat sapphire crystal
The hour and minutes display, in this instance, is positioned in the northern hemisphere of the dial and, similar to the aforementioned dial, proves eminently user-friendly and easy to understand.
At 6 o’clock, a small seconds display resides. Looking beyond the 3-arm seconds hand, one can see the fascinating spectacle of the wheels turning in both directions and through the watch to the seconds display on the other side. The sight of the seconds hand moving clockwise is fascinating bearing in mind it shares the same axis as the hand on the opposite side of the watch.
Adjacent 10 o’clock, the watch features a power reserve indicator.
This side of the watch, whilst having fewer indications, is equally as interesting because more of the inner thought processes of the timepiece are revealed. The balance can be seen at 8 o’ clock, while some of the gear train is also exposed.
The bridges are decorated with beautifully executed circular Côtes de Genève and the movement is adorned with blued screws. By having dials on both sides of the watch there are few places for mechanical misdemeanours to hide. Thankfully, there are no misdemeanours and everything is distilled to perfection.
The 43.3mm case is available in a choice of 18-carat red gold or white gold. The case has correctors on each vertical flank of the case to adjust the day, month, etc.
The balance has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz) and the movement contains 489 parts, including 41 jewels.
In common with several other Bovet timepieces, the watch is adorned with the text, ‘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 can be traced back to the 19th century when it was first used by Bovet Freres & Co. S.A.
The Bovet Virtuoso VII transcends merely telling the time, delivering a profound degree of ubiquitous beauty. Indeed, its prepossessing appearance is wonderful to behold. However, its mechanical virtuosity is equally impressive with many of the movement components openly shared with the wearer.
The perpetual calendar displays the day, date, month and leap year with clear, simple to understand dialogue. Each indication is of sufficient scale to confer ease of read-off. Adjustment of the hand-wound watch, assuming it is kept wound, is required only once per 400 years.
Flexibility is another trait this watch offers in abundance, providing two highly usable dials and the facility to wear the watch on the wrist, carry it on a chain and wear it in a waistcoat pocket or even place the watch on its integrated stand upon a table top. Indeed, it is this flexibility, together with its exacting creation, which bestows this watch with a notable longevity and lasting appeal. This is a perpetual calendar which will prove perpetually enchanting for many years to come.
- Model: Bovet Virtuoso VII
- Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 43.3mm; height 15.80mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; retrograde date; month; leap year; power-reserve indicator; reverse hand fitting
- Movement: Calibre 13BM12-AIQPR; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3Hz); 41 jewels; power reserve 5 days; 489 components
- Strap: Alligator leather strap with 18-carat red gold pin buckle which includes AMADEO convertible system.
- Price: CHF 69,000 (excluding taxes)