A New Perspective
Bovet delivers panoramic views with the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One’s innovative sapphire crystal case.
Bovet rewrote the rules for making sapphire crystal cases last year when it introduced the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One collection.
The latest version to join the Brainstorm ranks — unveiled just last month — distinguishes itself with a lush, red-quartz dome that displays the time. The watch’s other features are arranged symmetrically around the dome: dual-hemisphere moon phase, double-face flying tourbillon, big date, and power reserve.
Despite the timepiece’s extraordinary horological attributes, it’s impossible to ignore the case’s crystalline charisma. Second only to diamond in terms of hardness, and lighter than titanium, sapphire crystal offers structural advantages to go along with the beauty of its transparency. And while brands have been crafting cases from sapphire crystal for decades, none of them have created one quite like Bovet’s.
What makes the Brainstorm’s 48mm case unique is its shape. When the watch is lying flat, it appears to be a traditional round case. But from the side, you can see that it’s actually inclined — shorter at the bottom and taller at the top. This shape — which Bovet calls the “writing slope” — debuted four years ago in the Récital 18 Shooting Star. More recently, it was featured in the Récital 22 Grand Récital, a masterpiece that won the top award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2018.
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
The shape certainly makes it easier to read the dial, regardless of whether the watch is on or off the wrist. But attaining that heightened legibility required Bovet engineers to do something that had never been done before: machine a single piece of extremely hard sapphire crystal into a complex shape that includes a round top and an asymmetrical middle.
The achievement is undeniably impressive from a technical standpoint. Still, its greatest value may be the aesthetic possibilities it unlocks. For instance, sculpting the top and middle from a single piece of crystal means that screws aren’t needed to hold the sections together, which would obstruct the view of the movement. Instead, the Brainstorm offers up a clear panoramic view of the hand-wound movement inside.
To further enhance the view, Bovet made another unconventional choice. Rather than secure the caliber to the case’s middle section — which is standard practice in watchmaking — the brand chose instead to attach it to the titanium bezel that frames the Brainstorm’s exhibition caseback.
Pascal Raffy, owner of House Bovet 1822, explained that this particular design also offers an important structural advantage. “The caseback bezel and the four lugs are machined from the same block of titanium, thus offering an elegant contrast between the movement finishes and the sapphire crystal case. Additionally, thanks to the rigidity of titanium, especially experienced in the aerospace industry, the caseback and lugs form a cage that protects the sapphire from shocks.”
Bovet also uses transparency to highlight some of the watch’s functional elements. The double-faced flying tourbillon provides an exquisite expression of that approach. Surrounded by open space, the beautifully finished mechanism appears to float near the bottom of the dial, where the airy arrangement invites the eye to explore every curve. The clear case elevates the experience even more by making it possible to observe the tourbillon’s graceful performance from every angle, including an expansive view from the back.
There is one technical aspect of the tourbillon, however, that’s impossible to detect despite the see-through case. Inside, it uses a hairspring manufactured entirely in-house by Bovet. Very few brands have mastered the art and science of hairspring production. Instead, most are happy to outsource production.
Another example of Bovet using transparency to highlight the Brainstorm’s technical attributes is related to the caliber’s 10-day power reserve, a truly impressive lifespan for a watch with so many animated complications. Look closely at the crescent-shaped power reserve indicator on the right side, and you’ll notice an opening nearby. That aperture reveals Bovet’s patented spherical differential gear, which is connected to the watch’s winding stem.
But why use such a complex design to perform a simple task like winding the watch? The short answer is that Bovet prides itself on developing solutions that make the experience of owning a watch as enjoyable as possible. Consider, for a moment, that it typically takes about 20-30 turns of the crown to wind a watch with a two-day power reserve. From that example, you can see that winding a 10-day power reserve would take some time. But by adding the differential, Bovet cut the number of turns needed to fully wind the Brainstorm in half, saving both time and effort.
Raffy noted that long-term power reserves have been a brand specialty for more than a century. “The House of Bovet has a time-honored history in terms of energy control. In 1910, Bovet manufactured a pocket watch that holds the absolute record in power reserve of 370 days with a single barrel. This meritorious experience enables Bovet’s contemporary timepieces to offer a large power reserve,” he explained.
He continued: “In addition to the comfort offered to the collector, it also improves the chronometry to an excellent level by offering a balance that provides the regulator with a constant energy curve. Thanks to the finishes and decoration of each component — which are completed by hand — frictions are reduced to a minimum and both autonomy and chronometry are perfectly optimized. These unrivaled performances are thus achieved by using traditional haute horology craftsmanship processes.”
With the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One, Bovet harnesses its creative spirit and technical expertise to render an unforgettable expression of horological beauty. Like all good things, however, it will not last forever. Bovet has announced that it will limit production of the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One collection to a total of 60 movements. Of those, only 10 will feature the new, red-quartz dial.
Click here to contact Cellini for more information about the Brainstorm’s availability. To view our Bovet collection online, click here.