A Symphony of Blue: BOVET’s Recital 11 and 17
Blue is an integral part of Maison BOVET’s culture and watchmaking spirit. Whether present on a major or minor note, on the dials or in the movement, this colour has played a crucial role in the history and creation of BOVET’s timepieces. The colour’s strength lies in the breadth of its palette, and the House has always finessed this transcendent hue to great effect. Récital 11 “Miss Alexandra” and Récital 17 are linked by their use of this colour and by the close attention paid to their finishing touches.
With its own Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale and Atelier de Cadrans, or dial crafting workshop, the House can work with an endless spectrum of shades and tones. The blues of BOVET reveal a colour that is opaque, deep, and full of possibilities.
A Biography of BOVET Blue
Pascal Raffy, Owner of Maison BOVET, has vowed to safeguard the House’s age-old, unshakeable connection with the decorative arts. As far back as the 19th century, the four brothers who founded the House specialized in watches destined for the Chinese market. In keeping with the style popular in China at that time, the covers of these pocket watches were richly enamelled and set with pearls and precious stones or decorated with delicate miniature paintings. This mastery of a polychrome palette, whose richness was second to none, made the House famous in this Asian market: so much so, that BOVET “Bo Wei”, became a household name, synonymous with the word “watch” in China.
Blue also claims a unique status in the world of fine arts. The pigments that produced shades of blue were exceptionally rare and much sought by painters from the 15th to the 19th centuries, setting blue apart as the grandest colour of all. More than a mere historical heritage, this hue represents instead a core symbol of BOVET’s approach to watchmaking, one that naturally holds a special place for the colour blue. It is a narrative that accompanies the BOVET Récital 11 “Miss Alexandra” and Récital 17 timepieces.
For the artisans of BOVET, blue represents both a material and a shade. First, the blue tone is produced by a lacquer. This form of painting delivers a glossy finish and is applied in multiple layers to present depth and relief. Maison BOVET’s master dial craftsmen are exceptionally meticulous in their approach to this technique.
The triple time zone Récital 17, endowed with a seven-day power reserve, uses blue to establish a contrast throughout its dial surface. The colour can also be found on the six hands and the Arabic numerals of the two additional time zones, as well as the double day/night indicator and the disks of the double moon phase. And finally, blue accents carry through to the crown, where a sapphire cabochon adds a precious touch.
The feminine Récital 11 “Miss Alexandra” timepiece presents a finely-worked finish, highlighting its extraordinary moon phase dial in textured blue. The sub-dial of this complication features a plate engraved with a “bris de verre” motif in a blue that recalls the night sky. This blue also features on the double cover that displays the phases of the moon as it appears in the night sky, chiselled with the same motif.
Blue is also a mineral shade: crafted by the artisans of BOVET in the form of aventurine. This ornamental glass, studded with flecks of copper that illuminate it from within, is deep blue and translucent. Its star-studded effect ties in perfectly with the emotional universe evoked by the moon phases, a favoured complication in BOVET’s technical repertoire.
In Récital 17, this precious glass is used to decorate the hour-circles and the medallion that bears the BOVET 1822 logo. The other blues in this timepiece were selected to coordinate with the aventurine.
Aventurine features prominently in the Récital 11 “Miss Alexandra” lunar complication. A timepiece that places the moon centre stage requires a starry sky background. But in a subtle play on this motif, the moon in Récital 11 remains engraved in blue. The hour dial has, however, been carved from aventurine, enhanced with diamond hour-markers.
Blue is also synonymous with technical quality. The blued screw has always been a sign of high-end manufacturing. Produced by expertly heating the steel, the aim is to soften the material after it has been tempered. Blue featured in many of BOVET’s older pocket watches, their balance-springs, balance-cocks, and their bridges. This technique is still practised today in the technical components found in its calibres. The movements of Récital 11 “Miss Alexandra” and Récital 17, for example, contain blued screws.
BOVET uses this colour more extensively in the Virtuoso II watchmaking specialties calibre housed in Récital 17. The exterior of this calibre includes a seconds hand on the case back side, a hallmark of BOVET watchmaking, with three blued arms. And since BOVET’s dials are often endowed with a technical character, particularly present in Récital 17, these also contain blued screws. The House uses this sweeping gesture to unify the internal and external aspects of the timepiece with a common theme. Colour coding is used to reveal the mechanical codes.
Blue conveys a message that is loaded with technical, poetic, and historical meaning. It evokes BOVET’s rich heritage and its wide-ranging expertise. As an accent or background colour, BOVET has embraced blue as a language communicating throughout Récital 11 and Récital 17 as well as other timepieces in its vast collection. With this approach, which combines elegance with finely-tuned watchmaking, Pascal Raffy and his craftsmen have proven themselves to be masters of colour and craft.