An icon among the new 2013 collection, the Virtuoso Tourbillon is a fresh expression of the talents of the BOVET 1822 and DIMIER 1738 artisans. Once again, technical sophistication and ingenuity meet the watchmaking decorative arts in a truly happy match.
Right at first glance, the fusion between the movement and the case to form a unique entity appears more clearly than ever. The original way in which the volume provided by the case is occupied grants pride of place to wide-open spaces, as if better to suspend time.
The Virtuoso Tourbillon offers a new vision of time and an unusual hour read-off. The jumping hours are read off on a disc appearing through an aperture, which is located in exactly in the centre of the movement – a House signature. Despite the small space available, the DIMIER 1738 watchmakers have managed to integrate two stars ensuring that the disc jumps instantaneously at each new hour.
Although shown by a hand, the minute indication is also original in that it takes the form of a retrograde display. Only the upper part of the dial is graduated from 0 to 60 across a 160° arc of a circle. The minute hand sweeps over this segment for a complete hour. At the very instant when the hour disc jumps, the retrograde minute hand jumps abruptly back to zero to begin a new cycle, without losing even a fraction of a second. In this process, the minute hand and indeed the entire retrograde mechanism are subjected to phenomenal acceleration and deceleration. Few mechanical systems would indeed be able to withstand such strain over the long term.
Since DIMIER 1738 movements (BOVET’s Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale) are all endowed with substantial autonomy, the power reserve is systematically indicated on them. On this model, the 5-day (120 hours) power reserve appears on the lower part of the front dial, between the centre and the hour aperture. Many Grandes Complications models have accustomed collectors to movements encumbered with a complex interwoven mass of mechanisms and parts that obstruct smooth and easy reading of the various items of information.
The understated elegance, readability and uncluttered spaces of the Virtuoso Tourbillon might almost make one forget its complex features – such as the presence of instant jumping hour and retrograde minute displays as well as a power reserve indicator around just one axis. Providing this information co-axially generously implies making somewhat unattractive compromises in terms of thickness. The DIMIER 1738 watchmakers have achieved this feat without the movement thickness exceeding that of a similar calibre providing a standard central indication of the hours and minutes.
The lower half of the timepiece is occupied by the tourbillon alone. It is set on top of a uniquely shaped mainplate. The tourbillon carriage of this Virtuoso embodies both the historical past and the future of the House of BOVET 1822.
The balance-spring echoes the identity codes of the Rising Star Tourbillon, notably including the presence of three blued weights. The steel parts are beveled and polished on both sides and both carriage and tourbillon bridges are rounded off, while their design evokes the index assembly of the 19th century timepieces signed by the Bovet brothers. Eager to go even further, the DIMIER timepieces have drawn upon their expertise and on the latest technologies in reproducing a “tail lever” such as those found on pocket watches by the House in the latter half of the 19th century, since that of the Virtuoso Tourbillon is ten times smaller than its illustrious forerunners.
Although virtually invisible, the escape-wheel has also been endowed with a special feature. While the escape-wheel is generally connected to its arbor by four straight spokes, that of the Virtuoso Tourbillon has only two curved spokes that divide its circumference into Yin and Yang symbols, an implied reference to BOVET’s history in China. Equipped with the Amadeo® system, the Virtuoso Tourbillon can be transformed into a table clock and a pocket watch, as well as being reversible on the wrist itself. It therefore features a second face on which the reversed hand-fitting serves to display the hours and minutes, this time in the traditional manner with two central hands.
As far as the case is concerned, it complies with all the aesthetic codes of the Amadeo® Fleurier collections and is thus convertible and fitted with the distinctive bow and crown at 12 o’clock. Nonetheless, the case of the Virtuoso Tourbillon has been entirely redesigned. Its case middle displays perfect symmetry and the two sapphire crystals follow the exact same curve. This means that the volume of the timepiece is closer than ever to that of the pocket watches produced by Edouard Bovet at the dawn of the 19th century.
This apparently insignificant detail enriches the technical aspects and the decorative arts featured in this timepiece with a sensual touch that further enhances what the BOVET workshops define as authentic luxury. The sliding bolt that activates the Amadeo® system enabling the user to transform the timepiece is generally discreetly located in the lower bezel ring (or foot) on the case-back. The Virtuoso Tourbillon constantly travels through time by drawing inspiration from its historical heritage.
A push-piece located on the pendant (at 12 o’clock, beneath the bow) triggers the opening of the Grand Feu enamel back of 19th century BOVET pocket watches. The latter reveals the decorative and mechanical intricacies of the movement that may be admired through a transparent case-back – a now common feature pioneered by Edouard Bovet. Now, pressing the crown of the Virtuoso Tourbillon actives the Amadeo® mechanism that is yet again located along the same axis as the winding and time-setting mechanisms.
The airy shape of the movement, suspended from two arms at 3 and 9 o’clock, its technical density concentrated in its center, offers a far smaller surface area than usual for decoration. This makes the aesthetic delicacy of the parts and the work of hand engravers even more difficult. The refined tastes and the passion that inspire the BOVET 1822 and DIMIER 1738 artisans lead them to spare no effort in their tasks, and they have thus as usual decorated each detail that was technically possible to adorn – to spectacular and highly original effect.
Model: AMADEO® Virtuoso 5-Day Tourbillon Jumping Hours Retrograde Minutes with Reversed Hand-Fitting
Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, seconds on the tourbillon, power reserve and reverse hand-fitting
Case type: AMADEO® convertible
Thickness with glass: 16.45mm
Thickness without glass: 12.00mm
Case material: 18K red or white gold
Hand-stitched, full skin alligator
Buckle: 18K red or white gold ardillon
Type: Mechanical hand-wound
Frequency: 21’600 vibrations per hour (3Hz)
Diameter: 16 ⅓’’’
Tourbillon’s carriage diameter: 13.50mm
Tourbillon’s carriage weight: 0.49gr
Power reserve: 5 days
Tourbillon: 1 minute
Number of components: 439
Limited Edition of 50 timepieces in red gold and 50 in white gold