Watch brand partnerships might be the order of the day, but Bovet’s latest alliance is surprising. Bovet announces the creation of ten special editions of its classic 19Thirty wristwatch decorated with motifs from the historic Old War Office (OWO) in London, a building steeped in history with an imposing Edwardian Baroque exterior. Once the haunt of statesmen and spies, the Old War Office has been renovated by Raffles as a luxurious hotel with private residences. To mark the occasion, OWO Residences has commissioned Bovet to create ten gold 19Thirty timepieces to gift the ten owners of the ten most luxurious homes.
The model selected for the new owners is the 19Thirty, one of Bovet’s ‘more straightforward’ time-only watches crafted in 18k red gold. Introduced in 2015, the style of the Fleurier case, with its crown and bow at noon and small seconds at 6 o’clock, give the 19Thirty its strong pocket watch personality. The design cues of the 19Thirty can be traced to a 1930s pocket watch. Nicknamed the ‘easel’ chronometer, the pocket watch had a bow and crown at noon and an extractable stand on its caseback, allowing it to double as a table clock.
With its 42mm diameter and lean height of 9mm, the gleaming case of the 19Thirty is crafted in 18k red gold. Borrowing decorative motifs from the OWO, the outer flanks of the red gold case are decorated with a hand-engraved ‘egg and dart’ motif, and the bow at noon is engraved with a marble shell motif found on the fireplaces and mouldings of the OWO. According to the brand, the hand-engraving work on the case takes 20 hours to complete.
Like other 19Thirty models, the time indications are presented in an off-centred hours and minutes counter that intersects a smaller seconds counter with Arabic numbers. Forming an upside-down figure eight, the larger counter features a pattern taken from the Rose Ceiling above the grand staircase of the OWO. Using a blue background, the petals of the rose are recreated in gold lacquer. At 3 and 9 o’clock, two circular depressions add relief to the scenery: the one at 3 o’clock houses the power-reserve indicator, and to underscore the symmetry, the one on the left is opened on the barrel.
A sapphire caseback reveals the beautiful in-house calibre 15BM04, a manual-winding movement with an exceptionally long power reserve of seven days on just one barrel. Like pocket watch movements, the generous 15 ¾ ligne calibre (35.53mm) fills all the available space. The symmetry on the dial is echoed on the movement, and the finishings are in line with Bovet’s high level of craftsmanship with blued screws, perlage on the mainplate, and Geneva stripes arching over the bridges.