Scarlett O’Hara, Crimson Tide, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the ubiquitous red carpets: the color red can be found all over the history and mythology of Hollywood. Now we can add to the list this striking timepiece from Bovet Fleurier, unveiled at SIHH but taking its first bow in the U.S. at the upcoming WatchTime Los Angeles event on May 3-4 — a new version of the manufacture’s Virtuoso V, robed in an 18k rose gold Amadeo convertible case and sporting a red guilloché dial.
That eye-catching, Bordeaux-hued dial features a completely original guilloché motif in which a dozen layers of translucent red lacquer are applied to the decorated metal base before a final polishing that simultaneously adds depth and renders the surface perfectly flat. Bovet describes the new dial layout as more classical than the stepped arrangements found on previous Virtuoso V models (one of which I review here). The horological complications provided by the watch’s Virtuoso II caliber include jumping hours, retrograde minutes, reverse hand-fitting, and a double co-axial seconds display. On one dial, a single retrograde hand sweeps across a 0-60 minutes scale with numerals in an elegant font, while a jumping numeral in a centered aperture indicates the hour. At the start of each new hour, the numeral in the window changes, while the hand simultaneously jumps back from 60 to zero to begin timing the next hour. Bovet is rightly proud of its expertise in combining these two functions — a jumping hour disk and a retrograde minutes hand, perfectly synchronized — which is a rarity in watchmaking and immensely difficult to engineer.
On the opposite side, an off-center subdial at 12 o’clock, finished in the same red guilloché style, with Roman numeral hour appliqués, displays the time, surrounded by elegantly curved bridges. At 9 o’clock, a blued hand indicates the watch’s impressive five-day power reserve: when it’s pointing at the “+”, the watch is fully wound and ready to run for the duration of a work week; when it’s hovering near the “-” it’s time to wind the mainspring, which is stored in a single barrel. Between 8 and 9 o’clock, the balance wheel oscillates in plain sight at 21,600 vph. At 6 o’clock is the small seconds cage, with a wheel-like triple hand, each “spoke” covering 120 degrees, sweeping across a 0-20 curved scale.
All of these functions are packed into Bovet’s convertible, 43.5-mm Amadeo case, which allows the watch to be used as a wristwatch, a pocketwatch, or a small table clock. After reversing the case to display the opposite dial side, both ends of the leather strap can be easily detached and reattached, by means of two push-pieces on the bow over the top-mounted, onion-style winding crown and hinged bezel; the included gold-plated pocketwatch chain can also click easily into place to replace the top half of the strap, allowing the owner to carry the watch in a vest or jacket pocket. The same hinged bezel that folds out to disengage the bottom half of the strap also can be deployed as a stand to position the watch on a table or shelf.
The new Virtuoso V is one of several new Bovet Fleurier timepieces from SIHH that guests at WatchTime L.A. will have a chance to see up close and in person for the first time, along with the tourbillon-equipped Virtuoso IX and the sapphire-cased Récital 26 Brainstorm. Click here for a complete list of brands, panel info, and ticket purchasing, and join us on the West Coast for WatchTime LA the first weekend of May!