3 Exceptional Boutique Watches We Found Outside of SIHH 2015


Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur BovetEvery year at Geneva’s SIHH watch salon, a host of luxury watch brands (most of them owned by the Richemont Group) unveil their new timepieces to international retailers, collectors, and journalists. In recent years, other smaller, non-participating brands have set up shop outside of the SIHH in Geneva’s luxury hotels, displaying new models of their own. Here are three notable examples of such watches that we found this year.

Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine, 245th Anniversary Limited Edition

Named for the watch atelier founded by French literary icon Voltaire in 1770, this boutique brand is know for tourbillon watches with steampunk-influenced designs. The new Androgyne Origine commemorates 245 years since the foundation of the original Manufacture Royale. Its complex case is made up of 52 parts and is especially notable for its moving, flexible lugs that make the large timepiece eminently wearable on all types of wrists despite its rather large case diameter (43 mm). The hours are subtly marked by 12 bezel screws.

The watch contains a fully skeletonized hand-wound movement, and is the first in the boutique brand’s Androgyne collection to feature an upgraded tourbillon escapement, with a new flying tourbillon, silicon escape wheel and ceramic ball bearing. All told, the in-house movement (Caliber MR06) comprises 167 parts, including 15 jewels, and holds an impressive 108-hour power reserve. It has a flat balance spring oscillating at 21,600 vph. The openworked design shows off numerous haute horlogerie finishes. The brass parts, including the mainplate and bridges, have undergone a flank drawing process that removes machine marks and prevents corrosion before being chamfered by hand. The parts also receive an electrolytic treatment that imparts to them a black ruthenium coating.

The Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine has been produced with two case options, one in 18k rose gold and the other in black PVD-coated stainless steel. Both are extremely limited editions, with 20 pieces in rose gold (priced at 72,000 CHF) and 45 pieces in black PVD (56,000 CHF); both come on an alligator strap with pin buckle and feature an engraved “245ème Anniversaire” on the caseback.

Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine - Rose Gold
Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine, in rose gold (above) and black PVD (below)

Manufacture Royale Androgyne Origine - Full black

Christophe Claret Aventicum

Christophe Claret has often been known to debut highly complicated and sometimes cleverly playful timepieces during the Geneva fair — such as last year’s Poker watch — but the brand went comparatively low-key this year (well, low-key for Claret) with the elegant Aventicum, a watch whose central attraction is not a high-tech horological feat but an eye-catching and artistic optical effect. Brand founder and namesake Claret, a history buff, envisioned the watch as an homage to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and the ancient Roman city of Aventicum, whose ruins now lie in Switzerland, near the town of Avenches. In the center of the dial is a miniature gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, measuring less than 3 mm high, which is magnified by an invention called a mirascope. Never before used in watchmaking, the mirascope is comprised of two identical parabolic mirrors arranged one on top of the other, creating an elliptical shape. The convex mirror on top has a hole in the middle. When an object is placed in the center of the concave bottom mirror, the reflection from the top mirror creates a hologram of the object, which appears nearly two times larger than it actually is. Thus, the bust of the Roman Emperor (a replica of an actual bust found in the ruins of Aventicum in 1939) appears to be thrusting out of the middle of the watch.

But it wouldn’t be a Christophe Claret watch without some other playful touches as well. Because of the mirascope’s prominent place in the dial’s center, the hours and minutes are indicated (on Roman numerals, naturally) by small pointers made of carbon fiber, revolving on an invisible ring on the dial’s periphery. And the movement’s transparent sapphire winding rotor, visible through a display caseback, is adorned with five tiny Roman racing chariots, with which the owner can occupy a few free moments by engaging in an interactive chariot race. By positioning the watch horizontally and performing one or two waving movements, the chariots are jumpstarted by the rotor’s action, which then stops. The player whose chariot finishes above the “A” of Aurèle (Aurelius), engraved on the periphery, is the winner.

The Christophe Claret Aventicum is available in two limited editions: 68 pieces in rose gold and anthracite-PVD-treated grade 5 titanium (49,000 CHF) and 38 pieces in white gold and anthracite-PVD-treated grade 5 titanium (53,000 CHF). Both versions come on a black alligator leather strap.

Christophe Claret Aventicum - Red Gold
Christophe Claret Aventicum, in rose gold (above) and white gold (below).
Christophe Claret Aventicum - White Gold

 

Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet

This new timepiece from Bovet represents a synergy of the Fleurier-based brand’s two most important developments of recent years: its convertible Amadeo case — which allows the watch to transform easily from wristwatch to pocketwatch, pendant watch, or desk clock — and its innovative Virtuoso II movement, introduced in 2014 in two models from Bovet’s Dimier collection. (Dimier watches differ from those in the Bovet Fleurier collection in that they are equipped with a traditional winding crown on the side, as opposed to a pocketwatch-inspired winding crown at 12 o’clock) The Virtuoso II movement is the brand’s first non-tourbillon in-house movement, which also boasts a dual display of hours and minutes on both sides of the movement (meaning each watch can have two dial displays), and a patented, double co-axial seconds display mechanism that indicates seconds on both sides while sharing the same axis but with opposite directions of rotation. Such a mechanism lends itself perfectly to the versatile Amadeo case system, and a reversible watch with two different dial designs on the front and back.

The hand-wound Virtuoso movement also stores a seven-day power reserve in a single spring barrel and has a frequency of 21,600 vph. On one dial side, an off-centered subdial at 12 o’clock displays the hours and minutes while a seconds carriage at 6 o’clock uses a triple hand to trace the 120º arc of the seconds scale. The rest of the clear dial offers a view of the elegantly curved bridges, the center wheel and its bridge (at 4 o’clock), the balance spring and balance cock, and a power reserve indicator (at 10 o’clock). On the reverse side, the dial has a more classical, timeless look, with a gleaming, lacquered dial in black or white, central hours and minutes hands in Bovet’s serpentine style, applied Roman numerals, and an aperture at 6 o’clock for another view of the co-axial seconds carriage.

The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet is available in a 43.5-mm-diameter case in rose gold or white gold. Each comes on a full-skin alligator leather strap with an ardillon buckle, along with a rhodium-plated silver chain for the pocketwatch and pendant watch conversions. The rose gold model costs $74,700 and the white gold model, $78,200. Both are limited editions of 100 pieces.

Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet - black dial - pair
Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet, with black lacquered dial (above) and white lacquered dial (below)
Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet - white dial - front

 

One Response to “3 Exceptional Boutique Watches We Found Outside of SIHH 2015”

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  1. Mr. Hayk Mamikonyan

    Hi there,
    In article about Bovet Monsieur Bovet there are several mistakes.

    The first is that the model is not a limited edition.
    The second is that the prices mentioned are too high for the retail price. The real price in USD are ~$59,200 for white gold and ~$55,900 for rose gold.

    Thank you.

    Reply
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