Bovet Récital 20 Astérium
An innovative and user-friendly new astronomical complication.
After just one month, it seems that 2017 is the year of the astronomical complication, with two new user-friendly models presented, each so different from the other, yet both with their own unique solution to combining civil time with sidereal time. We have already covered the Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 in detail. Now it’s time to look at the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium.
Bovet wanted a different approach to displaying astronomical information than the usual reliance on a perpetual calendar. It has therefore developed a special annual calendar mechanism that divides the year into precisely 365.25 days. This means that the calendar information can be displayed against the indications on the engraved sapphire crystal case back by means of just one central hand (with a golden sun at its tip as an instant reminder that it is displaying solar time). Thus the precise date, month, sign of the zodiac, season and the equinoxes can all be read at a glance. A wonderful finish of blue lacquer on the hand-chiselled movement plate provides excellent contrast for reading these indications.
Turn the watch over and you can admire another “all-in-one” function that takes pride of place at 12 o’clock. Just one single hand, albeit in the intricate form of an open disc with central axis and outer tip, displays the hour (against a 24-hour scale), points north and shows inside its perimeter the heavenly dome, complete with the major constellations labelled by name as they are visible from a latitude of 45 degrees north – a location that has been specifically chosen to cover around 80% of the cities in the Northern Hemisphere.
A sectorial scale on the left indicates the equation of time, with the current moon phase inside and a symmetrical scale on the right displays the minutes by a retrograde hand and the current level of the 10-day power reserve, which is provided by a single mainspring barrel. Bovet’s signature co-axial tourbillon appears to be suspended in mid-air in the lower half of the watch, beating out the seconds.
Connoisseurs of Bovet will know, however, that such an impressive list of complications and displays alone is not enough. As with any highly complicated Bovet timepiece, the observer’s gaze is drawn deep inside the movement, which is even more enticing in the case of the Récital 20 Astérium thanks to its asymmetrical case and the layered construction of the movement. Hand-chiselled bridges ensure a perfect contrast for the main indications, while there are a staggering number of acute angles, all of which have been painstakingly bevelled by hand. Whereas a regular Bovet tourbillon has a mirror polished bridge that can take up to a week to finish, the Astérium has six magnificent pillars supporting the three main displays, each of which has been meticulously mirror polished. Bovet readily confirms that, in terms of the finishing, this is the most complex timepiece the house has ever made.
At this level of craftsmanship, price is undoubtedly one of the last considerations of the collector. Nevertheless, at 335,000 Swiss francs, the Récital 20 Astérium costs just one third of the Vacheron Constantin Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that 50 of the planned production of 60 movements have already been sold. But that still leaves 10, available in your choice of rose gold, white gold or platinum with the possibility of customization by Bovet’s talented artisans.
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.Find out more >
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