The Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One presents a host of innovations and gives a glimpse of the scope of the unprecedented possibilities for interpreting timekeeping offered by the “writing slope” case.
For this first Brainstorm chapter, Bovet 1822 owner, Pascal Raffy wanted a sapphire model. Chosen for its crystalline transparency, sapphire is also the second hardest material known after diamond. The lightness of sapphire is also unsurpassed, and in fact weighs less than titanium. This novel choice represented a major challenge for maison Bovet’s technicians. While sapphire cases have been in use for almost 40 years, their designs have, up to present, remained relatively simple, due to the machining and polishing constraints posed by this extremely hard material. The asymmetric profile of the middle, bezel, and glass of the “writing slope” case confronted engineers and technicians with hitherto unresolved difficulties.
The middle and glass ultimately form a single element that conscientiously respects the original design of the collection’s inclined cases. The back consists of a bezel and four horns that have been machine-cut from grade 5 titanium. It goes without saying that this bezel features a sapphire glass that opens generously onto the back of a movement and reveals a wealth of secrets.
In order to optimize transparency and ergonomics, Bovet 1822’s watchmakers decided to fasten the movement in the back rather than inside the middle as is usually the case. They had already successfully experimented with this choice in the construction of the Tourbillon Ottantasei in 2016.
Four years later, the movement has evolved and today features a variable inertia balance for even greater chronometry through the use of a traditional hairspring. Mastery of hairspring production sets Bovet apart, a rarified science mastered by very few watchmakers. This new caliber draws its energy from a single barrel that guarantees 10 days of power reserve despite numerous animated complications.
Bovet 1822 watchmakers’ long-standing expertise in long power reserves — for which they hold the absolute record, with a pocket watch manufactured in 1900 that offers 370 days of power reserve — is explained by their constant concern to minimize friction at the heart of the movement. The use of artisanal methods and the care taken with each detail represent the main reasons for this energy control. They summarize the philosophy that drives the manufacture’s technical office, based on the idea of saving energy rather than adding it, so as to increase the power reserve. The solution to the problem caused by the winding time is provided by the doubly patented spherical differential winding system that halves the number of turns of the crown required to wind the timepiece completely.
On the strength of this exemplary chronometric performance, Brainstorm displays the hours and minutes offset at 12 o’clock. As it is the highest section under the case’s pronounced dome, the watchmakers have manufactured a special high hand-fitting. An index screwed onto the carriage wheel along with two of the carriage bridge’s arms follow one another 120° apart, crossing the graduated seconds sector in a main dial milling. The gilded titanium carriage bridge alone requires two days’ work by a single artisan solely for its decoration.
To accentuate the transparency of the case, the power reserve is displayed via a printed cam that shows the energy available through a “crescent-shaped” indicator placed at 4 o’clock.
Positioned symmetrically at 8 o’clock, a big date almost mysteriously appears in a circular aperture. The entire mechanism is revealed to the collector’s eye, who will be able to appreciate its finest details through the use of the sapphire units disk that provides the necessary transparency.