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Bovet invents mechanical world timer watch with daylight saving

CHF 650,000 Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two solves the challenge of clocks being put forward an hour in spring and back an hour in autumn anywhere in the world.

This will take some explaining since, in the glacial pace of change in mechanical watchmaking, this is something new.

Bovet’s Récital 28 Prowess 1 is described as a genuine world-premiere timepiece that solves the modern timekeeping challenge posed by countries moving their clocks one hour forwards in the spring and an hour back in the autumn under Daylight Saving Time (DST) rules.

Building on world timers, which typically display time in 24 global time zones, the Récital 28 makes it possible to adjust the time independently in each of the 24 to adjust for multiple daylight saving regimes around the world including UTC, American Summertime, Europe and America Summertime, and European Wintertime.

If that isn’t enough complication, the watch is also a perpetual calendar, is regulated by an oversized flying tourbillon and has a 10 day power reserve from a single barrel.

Bovet’s owner, Pascal Raffy, has made astronomical timekeeping a central plank of the brand’s story since taking over in 2001, culminating in its Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two winning the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award for Mechanical Exception and its Récital 20 Astérium earning the GPHG gong for Calendar and Astronomy watches.

Every Récital looks to solve a new challenge or present time in a different way, but daylight saving is a challenge only truly mastered by digital watches, smartwatches and pieces that receive specific radio wave updates.

Mr Raffy would not be deterred. “When the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two was in development, I said to myself that one of the key things that I would love to have on my wrist is an exceptional universal time timepiece that could be adjusted for the vagaries of world time,” he recalls.

“Every year between summertime and wintertime there are weeks that don’t match up and countries that only use one time all year round. In the Récital 28 Prowess 1, the 24 time zones are on rollers at six pm and the sun — the tourbillon — is at 12. With a push of the crown, you can adjust to the four different times,” he explains.

Bovet recital 28 packshot 3 4 bb lr

The 24 rollers each have four positions, all controlled through the crown – UTC, AST (American Summer Time), EAS (Europe and America Summer Time), and EWT (European Winter Time). Pushing the crown rotates each individual cylinder 90 degrees, so every time zone can be individually set.

“With the Récital 20 Astérium, the Récital 22 Grand Récital, and the Récital 26 Chapter Two, we focused on combining the heavens and the Earth,” Mr Raffy describes. “With the Récital 28 Prowess 1, we are solving the terrestrial time problem with a world timer that can be adjusted for all the variations in timekeeping around the world. With this timepiece, you will never be at a loss for what time it is anywhere in the world.”

Bovet recital 28 packshot 11 4 bb lr

The project almost hit the buffers last year when Mr Raffy saw how it would look. In his mind, it would be similar to Bovet’s Orbus Mundi, a world timer with the local time and 24 world cities displayed on a dial set at the top of a guilloche face. But each location around the world has different rules, so the concept of 24 rollers that can be set independently was taken forward. “The result is truly a mechanical masterpiece,” he suggests.

Much more of the movement is on view with the Récital than is the case with the Orbus Mundi, which gives the watch more of an industrial look, particularly in the way days and months are displayed on vertically mounted exposed rollers on either side of the tourbillon.

The day of the week is on a horizontally-set wheel at 9 o’clock.

Date, a leap year indication and the month are on rollers, so when they get to the last day and month respectively, the date rolls back like a slot machine and will not need correcting until 2100.

“One more reason to stay up until midnight at the end of the month and especially at the end of the year to watch all the rollers move,” Bovet suggests.

Five years of development has led to a watch with a hand-finished and hand-engraved manufacture movement that will be made eight times per year in three case metals: 18ct red gold, 950 platinum and grade 5 titanium (18 in total per year).

It comes in a new size of 46.3mm for Bovet’s writing desk-style (thicker at the top than the bottom) case.

Bovet recital 28 packshot back bb lr

The watch is just as visually attractive from the underside where many of the 744 hand-finished components of the hand wound R28-70-00X movement have their mix of perlage and Cotes de Geneve finishing exposed.

The watch is worn on a black alligator leather strap.

Prices start at CHF 650,000 for the titanium version.

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