Bovet is really cranking out new high complication watches – which, in truth, is not a particularly new thing, given the luxury watch maker’s activities over the last few years. When Bovet comes up with a concept they like, the result is a lot of high-end artistic models that subtly build on one another. Put the new-for-2015 Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV next to one of the other Virtuoso models, and you might not be able to immediately tell the difference. If you find yourself in that position, you likely aren’t alone. In fact, the best way to identify the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV among the other models might very well be looking for the elephants. Or the doves, angels, or horses, that is.
One of the new aesthetic features of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV is the placement of hand-engraved figurines on the dial of the watch. All Bovet Virtuoso models that I can think of already exhibit lots of hand-decoration, but for the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV, clients can choose characters in addition to merely decorative engraving. Bovet hasn’t made it clear how many they will produce of each version (my guess is that production will be limited and many of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV models well be “on order” only), but the options for the “mirrored characters” that appear to support the subdial for the time on one side of the dial are available as a pair of elephants, doves, angels, or horses.
The effect is pleasing, and the expressive engravings give the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV a character much more like a relic from the past as compared to some of its related Virtuoso models. The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watches come in 44mm-wide 18k red gold or white gold cases. A key distinguishing factor for these particular Bovet watches is the rich doming of the sapphire crystal which allows for a deeply expansive view of the dial and movement from either side of the watch.
Bovet’s double-sided watches make for a great gimmick – but are they just a trick? The Amadeo-style case allows for the watch to be worn with either side up. That means by flipping the straps around you can make either side of the watch the “front.” This is a theoretically highly appealing opportunity that in practice requires two dials with very distinct appeal. Is it just me, or are the two dials on the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watch slightly redundant? One dial offers just the time with rear view of the tourbillon. I actually like this side a lot, given its attractive view of the movement and more traditional dial with a hand for the hours and one for the minutes.
On the other side of the same watch is another dial for the time (same time as on the other side of the watch) and here you have a better view of the tourbillon, a power reserve indicator, and the time expressed with a retrograde minutes hand and a jumping hours window. Yes, this side of the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV does more than the other side, but does it do that much more? Alternatively, what is the compelling reason for a wearer to place the other more simple side of the watch face up if it looks aesthetically similar (but with no animals) and actually less functionality?
There doesn’t exactly need to be an answer to this and it is nitpicking, for sure, but at the same time, it is an important question about overall conceptual refinement in a watch that costs over $300,000. Bovet has offered dual-side watches in the past that, in my opinion, have more good reasons for each side to be displayed. The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV’s major theme seems to be an impressive watch dial and then a similar but slightly more impressive watch dial on the other side. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love the watch, only that I don’t think changing the sides will be a big part of why I love the watch.
The Amadeo-style case continues to get a lot of attention from Bovet. Perhaps rightly so, with its “convertible character” meaning that you can not only wear the watch case on both sides, but you can also turn the watch case into a small desk clock (by removing the straps and using the caseback as a stand), a pendant watch, or a pocket watch. I would, however, like to see Bovet offer additional executions of the case so that it has some new visual style elements with each new model.
The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watch contains the in-house made Bovet caliber 16BM02AI-HSMR manually wound movement. A cool “trick” of the movement is having a full 5 days of power reserve without visually having the space for any sizable mainspring barrel. The movement also operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph), which is rather standard for most tourbillons. With that said, I would quite like to see more tourbillons that operate at 4Hz versus 3Hz. I wonder what is materially stopping more 4Hz tourbillons from being produced.
The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IV watches will, once again, be available with one of four dial engraving styles in an 18k white or 18k red gold case for prices of $327,800 and $316,300 respectively. bovet.com