You know us here at Monochrome-Watches. Apart from the big names, there is something that we especially love here: independent watchmaking. We do have a special appeal for watches manufactures by independent, smaller and creative watchmakers, not because they are always better executed than those from the bigger brands, but mainly because they have something extra: a soul, a link to the people behind their construction, a certain originality that large brands can’t achieve (mainly for commercial reasons…). In order to experience (again) this feeling, we did get our hands-on a rather unique watch, the Bovet 19Thirty Dimier with blue dial.
Brief overview of Bovet 1822
For those who aren’t aware of this brand, there are certain important facts to know. Bovet isn’t just another new brand, which design watches and assembled them with outsourced movements. Here, we’re talking about a proper integrated manufacture, with a strong history. Bovet was founded by Edouard Bovet (1797 – 1849), a talented watchmaker, born in Fleurier, Switzerland, and son of Jean-Frédéric Bovet, himself master watchmaker in Fleurier. After completing his watchmaking apprenticeship, he left Fleurier with his brothers Alphonse and Frédéric for London. After a few years there, practicing watchmaking, he left for Canton, China, where he resided there and created a partnership aimed to the watchmaking trade with China. Due to the rapid expansion, the manufacture had to go back to Fleurier, Switzerland. From this time to the late 1930s, the manufacture created praised pocket watches, known for their superb finishing. After that, the brand has seen a sad period, going from the hands of an investor to another, making watches for third parties… until 1950 when the production stopped.
In 2001, an avid watch collector (who’s the owner of a large Bovet pocket watches collection), Pascal Raffy, took over the name and reintroduced the Bovet Manufacture – and at the same time, a new collection of watches, including complicated pieces, with skeletonized tourbillons (one of the brand’s specialities) and watches designed in partnership with famous designer Pininfarina. To follow with the old tradition behind the Bovet name, all the watches are now manufactured in-house, including the movements and the dials. Note that Bovet is one of the founding members of the Qualité Fleurier label (together with Chopard, Parmigiani and Vaucher).
The Bovet 19Thirty Dimier
Well, it has to be said. The Bovet 19Thirty Dimier is quite special and apart in the collection. In fact, it is more classical than all the previous watches made by the brand. It is round, it has a classical case and classical lugs, it is made out of stainless steel and it has no tourbillon. You have to keep in mind that Bovet 1822 made only tourbillon movements until 2014, when they launched their first watch with a normal regulating organ, the Virtuoso II. Then, most of the watches were made in precious metals. Finally, they were almost all featuring a very specific case, inspired by pocket watches (called the Fleurier Case), with some even designed to be convertible (to be used as a wristwatch, as a pocket watch or as a table clock). The new 19Thirty is all except these attributes. But no worries, the Bovet DNA can be felt.
To review the Bovet 19Thirty, we chose to go for the most classical edition – which is in fact the less traditional edition, when looked next to the rest of the Bovet collection. The 19Thirty exists in two version. The first one, called Fleurier, is in the vein of the origins of the brand, with a crown and hinged bow at 12 o’clock and an asymmetrical case, with articulated strap attachments. Then, there’s the Dimer, with a normal case, with 4 lugs to secure the strap and a crown at 3. However, this doesn’t mean that the Bovet 19Thirty Dimier is a boring watch. It remains rather “exotic” in its style.
The case is made in stainless steel (then again, this is not usual for the brand) and measures 42mm. Its shape can be seen as classical – at first. When looked in details, there are many aspects that bring originality, like the cabochons on the lugs (that look like screws), the crown with a sapphire or the bezel. This bezel shows a concave profile that really makes the case special. It might only be a detail but, when worn, it really differs from the mass (most watches have a flat or convex – bombé – bezel). A detail, yes. But a good one. This steel case remains quite slim, with only 9.5mm. Surprisingly, as before strapping the watch, you don’t imagine this reasonable height – and considering the 7-day power reserve movement, it is properly interesting. However, once the Bovet 19Thirty is on your wrist, it has an incredible comfort. The 42mm are never problematic (it actually wears smaller and the lugs are curved enough to perfectly follow the wrist). The reasonable height makes it comfortable and suitable in all situations, even with a suit. Finally, the strap is extremely supple and pleasant to wear.
Then comes the dial (or the absence of real dial…). The face of the Bovet 19Thirty is in fact the back of the movement. Its mainplate can be seen from the front side. On top are applied two sub-dial – one displaying the time and the other one displaying the seconds. These dials are available in 3 colours: ivory, black and, like the one photographed here, blue. Then, you’ll have the choice for the numerals: Romans, Arabic, or like the one we had, Chinese numbers. We can easily imagine that the edition photographed here won’t suit the tastes of Europeans or Americans, but on the other hand, it brings a bit of exclusivity and fun to the watch, without making it difficult to read. And then again, you’ll have the choice.
The two sub-dials are made in solid metal and then coated with a slightly translucent lacquer that reveals a subtle concentric brushed pattern – delicate and refined. The rest of the face is composed of the movement’s mainplate, which is finished with a circular Cotes de Genève, starting from the center of the small second indicator. On this mainplate, we can see two apertures: one, at 12, reveals a part of the barrel, the other one (at 6) includes a power reserve indicator. This dial is engraved with rather strange inscriptions, somehow poetical and written in old French: “Faictes de mains de maistres” (“Made by the hands of masters”) and “Pour servir ponctuels gentilshommes” (“To serve punctual gentlemen”). Also note that this watch is not “Swiss Made” but “Swiss Handcrafted”. Well, these are just details but it reveals the spirit of the brand. And we can tell you that, overall, these mentions are totally appropriate, considering the level of finish of the case and the dials… and this is also true for the movement.
Turning back the watch and you’ll observe the Calibre 15BM04. This movement is a hand-wound engine with 7-day power reserve, which is really impressive considering that the Bovet 19Thirty only has a single barrel and a reasonable height. This movement is pleasant to look at for several reasons. First, it’s large and it entirely fills the case – the movement measures 15 lines 3/4, which means approximately 35.5mm. It is rare enough to see movements of this size and thus, it pleased us. Then, the overall architecture is elegant. The curves of the bridges, the position of the different technical elements, the symmetry… It feels like the movement has been conceived not only to be efficient but also to be nice to look at. Finally, there’s the finishing, with polished beveled angles on the bridges, fine circular graining on the main plate, circular and continuous Cotes de Genève and blued screws. And keep in mind that this movement is entirely designed and manufactured in-house, in Bovet’s workshops.
In fact, this is even more impressive when you know that this watch, the Bovet 19Thirty, is supposed to be the entry-level of the catalogue. Yes, this is a fact that we hide to you until now. Bovet watches, considering that most of them are featuring a tourbillon and precious metal cases, are usually quite expensive (to say the least). This 19Thirty is supposed to be the reasonable offer of the brand. However, even if it gets rid of gold and features a more traditional shape and movement, it is far from being a cheap watch. Finishing is superb – and this goes for the case, the dial and the movement – comfort on the wrist is above suspicion and design-wise, it remains a original piece without being ostentatious.
Price-wise, coming from such a brand, we could have expect around 25,000 Swiss-Francs. In fact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as the Bovet 19Thirty comes against 16,800 Swiss Francs – which is a rather hefty price for sure, but considering the package and the exclusivity, it makes sense. You can discover more about the brand and this model, as well as of the different versions, on the official Bovet website.