After the debut of the outstanding Récital 18 Shooting Star at SIHH 2016, we were confident that Bovet would delight us with even more intricate and complicated timepieces this year, in honor of its 195th anniversary. We were pleased to hear then that the brand announced three new timepieces at SIHH 2017, including this, the Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date.
The new timepiece is part of the Fleurier Grandes Complications collection, and it has all the signature calling cards of the collection. There’s a beautiful round case (44mm in diameter and 13.45mm in height), and you get the distinctive lugs and crown that have previously appeared on the Braveheart and Virtuoso III. Despite its large 44mm case size the watch presents as incredibly classic, and prospective buyers will have three different case materials to choose from – 18k red-gold, 18k white-gold and platinum.
Although the Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date is unquestionably part of the Fleurier Grandes Complications collection, it does borrow one trait – quite a distinctive one in fact – from the Dimier collection. The case is tapered and shaped like a vintage desk, which means the case is thickest at the 12 o’clock position, and gradually thins until its thinnest point at the six o’clock position. This is something we saw on last year’s spectacular Récital 18 Shooting Star, and on this year’s Récital 20 Astérium (story coming soon), and is something that no other watch brand offers.
As we’ve come to expect from Bovet, there’s a beautiful dial that’s packed with plenty of gorgeous details. Going purely by the supplied pictures, it’s easy to see plenty of hand engraving work, blue screws, and beveling. The dial aid’s the timepiece’s classic look but is quite contemporary in its design – there’s a large power reserve sub-dial at the 10 o’clock position, there’s a shaped ‘dial’ that extends from the 11 o’clock position to the three o’clock position, while time is read on the slightly off-centre hour and minute hands.
This bigger dial has the 11, 12, one, two and three Arabic hour indexes in their usual positions, and there’s a big date aperture at three o’clock. Bovet is also giving collectors the option of choosing the color of the dials, color options include ivory, black lacquer or blue aventurine, and the date can be adjusted simply by pushing the crown. Ingenious.
At six o’clock you’ll find the double face flying tourbillon, and what’s interesting here is that Bovet has created the tourbillon bridge out of titanium. The brand says this helps reduce inertia and magnetism, and the bridge has even been shaped to resemble the wings of a bird.
The watch is powered by the hand-wound in-house developed 17BM03-GD calibre, and you can expect it to be finished to Bovet’s usual high standards. The calibre offers 10-days of power reserve, and Bovet’s watchmakers have also fitted a spherical differential and used tridimensional toothing, and multiple gearing on one of the calibre’s pinions. All of this ultimately halves the number of times you need to turn to crown to fully wind the massive barrel. Bovet says this system is the subject of two patents, and further says the system does not increase the amount of force that you need to use to turn the crown, nor does it increase friction on the gears. Very impressive.
The Bovet Virtuoso VIII 10-Day Flying Tourbillon Big Date is limited to just 80 pieces, split between the three case materials. International pricing has been set at $200,000 for the red-gold reference, and $210,000 for the white-gold model. We’ll update this story once we have regional pricing.
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