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Bovet 1822 - Virtuoso IX - Bovet’s ninth symphony

Bovet 1822 Virtuoso IX - Bovet’s ninth symphony

Is the Virtuoso a collection or not? Like with any artist, organization and structure is irrelevant. The Virtuoso quite simply signals excellence.

You might reasonably think that the Virtuoso IX is the ninth model in this particular Bovet collection. But you would be wrong. There is, for example, no Virtuoso VI. That’s just the way it is. The Virtuoso V was also launched before the Virtuoso IV and the Virtuoso II is a movement, not a watch. But what’s in a name and number? The most important thing is that the all the Virtuoso models offer fine watchmaking complications in the true Bovet tradition, which means that the movement inside is not just Swiss Made but Swiss handcrafted, including a balance spring that Bovet makes itself and can thus “rate” itself and pair with the best matching balance for optimum precision. Added to that are the magnificent dials that are hand decorated in house by master craftsmen and craftswomen and the unique convertible case that allows you to wear the Virtuoso on your wrist, on a chain as a pocket watch or even use on your desk as a table clock.

The first-ever Virtuoso incorporated a tourbillon with jumping hours, retrograde minutes and Bovet’s patented reversed hand-fitting. Like all Bovet’s high-end models, it boasted a high power reserve of 5 days (Bovet’s owner, Pascal Raffy, is a passionate collector and insists on such details for those who actively wear their Bovet timepieces). A retrograde perpetual calendar was added for the Virtuoso III, while Virtuosos IV and V reverted to the original design with jumping hours and retrograde minutes. The perpetual calendar reappeared with the Virtuoso VII. The Virtuoso VIII signalled a significant change with the arrival of a 10-day flying tourbillon with big date. The latest model, the Virtuoso IX, adds a double time zone and power reserve indication to this same flying tourbillon and big date. 

But to list all these complications is to tell only half the story, because Bovet’s Amadeo case is also reversible. To exploit this to full effect, Bovet essentially offers you a second watch using its patented reversed hand-fitting system. With the Virtuoso, there is no “front” or “back”, just two completely different dials, both displaying the hours, minutes and seconds. The unifying force is that, regardless of the complications involved, the second dial always has the same arrangement of subsidiary hours and minutes at 12 o’clock with a fully visible tourbillon carriage. At least until the Virtuoso VIII. This model celebrated the company’s 195th anniversary and used the same inclined crystal found on the Récital 18 Shooting Star® and Récital 20 Astérium® models. The Virtuoso IX continues the exception that proves the Bovet rule…

The Virtuoso IX

Virtuoso IX – La 9e symphonie de Bovet

Virtuoso IX © Bovet

At first glance, the Virtuoso IX seems to differ from its predecessor thanks to the addition of a double time zone display to the existing 10-day tourbillon with big date. But first glances can be deceptive. The Virtuoso IX actually houses an all-new hand wound mechanical calibre. For the first time, the Amadeo® convertible case includes a new mechanism that opens the case back by a simple push on the crown at 12 o’clock.

The “front” dial is inspired by regulators, with the three hands separated: a central minutes hand is used for both time zones, with the home time indicated by a single 12-hour hand on a larger subsidiary dial and the second time zone indicated on a 24-hour scale with a window displaying the city of the corresponding time zone in full. The big date is visible at 4 o’clock and the remaining power reserve is displayed linearly in a window at 8 o’clock. This uncluttered arrangement, with the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, helps to show off the attention to detail that Bovet’s in-house artists have lavished on the dial. The base has been hand engine turned with a fan motif, to which eight separate layers of blue lacquer are applied before polishing. 

Virtuoso IX – La 9e symphonie de Bovet

... reverse side © Bovet

The colour is also echoed on the reverse side where, unusually for the Virtuoso collection, the hour and minute hands are fixed centrally and without any graduations. The blue is applied as a CVD (chemical vapour deposition) coating directly on to the hand chiselled movement bridges. The pièce de résistance? A small aperture in the bridge at 12 o’clock that shows off Bovet’s twice-patented spherical winding differential. Unlike many other watch manufacturers Bovet derives a full 10 days of power reserve from a single mainspring. Winding such a huge spring would, however, be an onerous task for the owner. The spherical differential halves the number of turns of the crown required to wind the spring.

The Bovet Virtuoso IX is available with the 46.30mm Amadeo® convertible case in platinum or 18-carat rose or white gold. It is paired with an alligator leather strap and rose or white-gold buckle and chain and is water resistant to 30 metres. 

Virtuoso IX – La 9e symphonie de Bovet

© Bovet

A brief history of the Bovet Virtuoso

5-Day Tourbillon Jumping Hours Retrograde Minutes with Reversed Hand-Fitting

Virtuoso III
5-Day Tourbillon Retrograde Perpetual Calendar with Reversed Hand-Fitting

Virtuoso IV
5-Day Tourbillon Jumping Hours Retrograde Minutes with Reversed Hand-Fitting

Virtuoso V
5-Day Jumping Hours Retrograde Minutes and Double Coaxial Seconds with Reversed Hand-Fitting

Virtuoso VII
5-Day Retrograde Perpetual Calendar and Reversed Hand-Fitting

Virtuoso VIII
10-day flying tourbillon big date

Virtuoso IX
Double Time Zone 10 Day Power Reserve Big Date Flying Tourbillon 

The brand

The Bovet Manufacture upholds the tradition of decorative arts applied to its delicately engraved, chased, enamelled, engine-turned or hand-painted cases, dials and movements, thus passing on the unrivalled knowhow that has been gracing the Firm’s collections and heritage since 1822.

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