Bovet introduces yet another variation on the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One theme. Housed in an inclined sapphire crystal case with a double face flying tourbillon, a 3D moon phase complication, a big date and a 10-day power reserve, the Chapter One is a transparent display cabinet inviting you to admire all the miniaturised components animating the spectacle. So far this year we have seen the Chapter One with a transparent red quartz dial – very appropriate for the brand’s Chinese aficionados – as well as green and blue quartz options and a model with a black blade dial. The latest member of the Récital 26 hosts a pale-yellow quartz dial, a colour the brand likes to call ‘champagne’ and I can assure you that the horological bubbles are alive and fizzing. Let’s take a closer look at this latest visual and technical tour de force.
Cabinet of Curiosities
Bovet’s trilogy of astronomical tourbillon timepieces – the Shooting Star (2016), the Astérium (2017) and the Grand Récital 22 (winner of the GPHG Aiguille d’Or in 2018) – showed the world that the brand was capable of producing deliriously complicated watches. Apart from the stunning complications and high-end finishes, the three watches were housed in sloping cases inspired by antique inclined ‘writing desks’.
Following in the wake of this trilogy came the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One (2019), a more modern expression of a tourbillon and moon phase watch housed in a transparent sapphire crystal case to satisfy owner Pascal Raffy’s quest for transparency. The inclined or sloping case structure, which is thicker at noon and thinner at 6 o’clock, can accommodate a host of three-dimensional components like rollers, discs and domes. Forget about flat, two-dimensional dials; the inclined sapphire cases not only provide dimensionality but engage the viewer with an unrestricted display of the horologic fireworks.
Like the wunderkammer or cabinets of curiosities that appeared in Renaissance Europe – private exhibition cabinets that displayed rare objects and artefacts collected from around the world – the sapphire cases of these watches reveal the fascinating world of horology.
Measuring 48mm in diameter with a case thickness of 15.50mm, the sapphire crystal case is supported with titanium lugs and a titanium caseback, materials known for their lightness. Looking at the watch from the side reveals the quite pronounced inclination of the case. If you want to find out more about the challenges faced by Pascal Raffy’s team to construct and polish the inclined sapphire crystal receptacle, don’t miss MONOCHOME’s exclusive video here. Also, if you are wondering whether Chapter One has a sequel, check out the even more complex Chapter Two watch reviewed here.
The first element that stands out when you gaze into the transparent case is the yellow quartz hours and minutes dial with white sloping Arabic numerals and a minutes track picked out with small white dots. Its domed contours rise magically above the movement, a feat that required the development of a special high hand-fitting. The gold hour and minute hands, which curve to follow the domed surface of the dial, as well as certain areas of the moon phase indicator, are treated with Super-LumiNova guaranteeing a spectacular show in the dark.
The 3D moon phase indicator is nestled in a semicircular cut-out on the dial at 12 o’clock. This precision moon phase indicator, which requires a correction of just one day every 122 years, is also domed and rises up to the same level as the dial. The realistic surface of the two moons (north and south hemisphere) are engraved and filled with Super-LumiNova while the night sky is made from two blue aventurine glass discs. To get the aventurine glass plates to curve and sit flush in the domed structure was a feat in itself. To consult the current phase of the moon in either hemisphere, all you have to do is look at the amount of white area (or none) revealed under the two circular apertures.
Another small indent on the yellow quartz dial at 6 o’clock exposes the double-face flying tourbillon. Suspended in mid-air, the tourbillon, which also indicates the seconds, is decorated with a sun motif and held in place by five gold arms. The 10-day power reserve indicator is displayed via a printed cam that shows the energy available through a crescent-shaped indicator at 4 o’clock. Directly opposite at 8 o’clock is the big date which appears in a circular aperture with the numerals printed on two discs. To avoid disrupting the view, the disc housing the units of the big date is made from sapphire. As you would expect from Bovet, the finishes are exceptional from every angle.
STEPPED ARCHITECTURE for movement
When viewed from the side, you can appreciate how the manual-winding movement’s atypical construction matches the inclination of the sapphire case. With its stepped architecture and succession of inclined planes, each indication hinges on an axis perpendicular to the bezel’s inclined plane. What this arrangement means is that you get the best legibility possible and the most natural angle to view the show.
The movement, which is entirely developed and manufactured by Bovet, is regulated by the patented double-face flying tourbillon and features a variable inertia balance for enhanced chronometry through the use of a traditional hairspring – developed in-house. Equipped with just one barrel and thanks to a spherical differential winding system (patented), the movement offers 10 days of autonomy for the hours, minutes, seconds on the tourbillon, big date, power indicator and moon phase indicator. The sapphire caseback reveals the tidy composition of the movement with its blackened bridges and superlative Bovet finishes.
Strap & price
Presented on a dark blue alligator strap with an 18k white gold pin buckle, the Tourbillon Brainstorm Chapter One with a champagne quartz dial will be priced at approximately CHF 325,000.