Bovet Interview with Pascal Raffy
Since Pascal Raffy acquired the prestigious Bovet brand 15 years ago, Bovet has been growing in its collections, its innovations, its manufacturing facilities and its ability to remain independent.
“I am more than happy with where Bovet is,” says owner Raffy. “I am proud and delighted to see that in the last 15 years, we have been able to pay tribute with integrity and faith to our unique patrimony. With our 142 artisans, Bovet stands nowadays as one of the very few true watchmaking houses with facilities able to deliver uniqueness every year for the most beautiful expression of time.”
Under Raffy’s direction, Bovet has been developing innovative timepieces that also highlight traditional watchmaking expertise – hand finishing, métiers d’art, miniature painting, engraving, high complications and more. This has positioned Bovet, which has watchmaking facilities in Tramelan and Môtiers (in the Château de Môtiers, no less) and offices in Geneva, well for the next ten years and beyond. Except for the precious stones and barrel springs, Bovet manufactures all the components for their movements and dials and Bovet is one of the very few brands to use traditional methods to manufacture its own hairsprings.
“After having celebrated its second century, Bovet will be, in ten years, in the position I dreamt for it in 2001,” says Raffy. “The house of artistry and mechanical skills applied to fine watchmaking -- thanks to a very clear strategy of growth based on wisdom.
“For me, it is all about passion and emotion,” he continues. “The Braveheart® tourbillon is the proud ambassador of all the true values of the house of Bovet. With its six patents, this exceptional timepiece incorporates all our expertise in innovation, chronometry and arts. The density and culmination of this timepiece were not lost on fine watchmaking collectors and specialists who unanimously welcomed this feat, as did WorldTempus, who devoted two whole articles to present it!”
This doesn’t mean that Raffy is content to sit on his laurels. On the contrary, he is already dreaming of and developing a new timepiece, planned to be ready in three years, that will eclipse the Braveheart.
“Since 1822, Bovet has continually manufactured timepieces with the purest respect for tradition,” Raffy explains. “If you look at some of its 19th-century pocket watches, you would be surprised, even today, by the modernism and boldness Edouard Bovet demonstrated at the time. Many of our technical inspirations come from our unique heritage.
“As for our innovation, it is driven by the fact that when I inspire a new timepiece to our engineers and designers, it starts by defining its ideal technical and aesthetic aspects,” he continues. “Nothing is precluded during this process. It is by striving to achieve these ideal aspects that we sometimes encounter problems that lead us to innovate. Conversely, if we took any problem into account from the outset and tried to circumvent it, we would lose this innovative dimension and would not be able to achieve such density and excellence.”
Moving into the future, the biggest challenge for Bovet is continuing its quest for excellence. “We have to protect our uniqueness for the pleasure of our collectors,” Raffy says. “In fact, we have to be careful not to sell our soul for any type of short term economical considerations. Our singularity is our main asset and life insurance.”
One of the true pleasures for Raffy is the design of a new Bovet timepiece. “My most inspired ideas come to me when I am surrounded by my 19th century timepieces and Mother Nature with its colors and smells,” he details. “In this regard, the Jura Mountains have truly magical powers that do not only stem from the legend as to how fine watchmaking was established in this region.
“The creation process is unique and always exciting,” he continues. “I transmit to our artisans the specifications defining the desired features and a set of keywords (e.g. chronometry, legibility, uniqueness, poetry, artistry density) in order to provide an initial direction for specific technical expressions. We then draft the first drawings that will allow us to define the overall aesthetics of the timepiece. Only once this step has been validated does the technical department start working on the design and development of the movement. This drives us to find innovative solutions to the problems we encounter without ever deviating from our original objective.”
What does Pascal Raffy think the watch of 2025 will look like? “As far as Bovet is concerned, we will continue to manufacture finely crafted timepieces, as we have been doing since 1822,” he declares. “We have never been preoccupied with fashion trends, which are by definition temporary. It is precisely this consistency that collectors appreciate. Bovet timepieces in 2025 will be even more accurate, more reliable and will provide an even better showcase for the decorative arts in watchmaking.”
The Bovet Manufacture upholds the tradition of decorative art applied to finely cut and hand-painted dials, thus passing on the unrivalled knowhow that has been gracing the Firm’s collections and heritage since 1822.Find out more
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