For its first appearance as an exhibiting brand at the SIHH, Bovet Fleurier offers up as a highlight the ninth model in its high-complication Virtuoso series. Like its predecessors, the Tourbillon Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso IX packs a host of functions and horological highlights — here a flying tourbillon, big date, dual time-zone display, and 10-day power reserve — into a timepiece with two dials and a convertible case that can shift from wristwatch to pocketwatch to table clock.
The technical fascinations — and there are always many in a Bovet Virtuoso watch — begin with the 46.3-mm case, which not only features the above-mentioned convertibility typical of the brand’s Amadeo construction, but adds a new mechanism that allows the caseback to be opened simply by applying pressure to the crown. Moving on to the hand-engraved blue flinqué dial, we find a lot going on but organized in a very clear manner: a single central minutes hand, with one time zone indicated by an off-centered, single-handed, 12-hour subdial at 2 o’clock; plus a second time zone display on another single-handed, offset subdial at 10 o’clock, this one with a 24-hour scale and accompanied by a small aperture indicating the name of the city corresponding to that time zone. The case incorporates two lateral correctors to easily adjust the time zones and switch between standard and daylight savings time. Joining these showcase displays on the dial are a big date in the lower right, an indicator for the watch’s impressive 10-day power reserve directly across from it at 7 o’clock, and a large aperture at 6 o’clock for the patented, double-face flying tourbillon.
The tourbillon regulator, which rotates at a fixed point at the center of its own axis, is also visible on the reverse face of the Virtuoso IX, albeit perhaps a bit overshadowed by the other technically complex and lavishly decorated elements that surreound it. Unlike previous Virtuoso pieces, this one doesn’t have a second “dial” per se, but the current time is still displayed by the two gold serpentine hands centered over the movement — and in sync with the time display on the front dial thanks to Bovet’s innovative reverse hands-fitting system. The shape of the elegantly curving openworked bridges echo those of 19th century Bovet movements and enhanced with a shimmering blue “bris de verre” motif, an embellishment achieved by coating the engraved, chamfered, decorated bridges with a blue CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposit) treatment. The movement’s spherical, differential winding system, the patented device that generates 10 days of power reserve from a single barrel (it halves the number of turns required to wind the movement without increasing the torque) is visible in an opening at 12 o’clock. Finally, the movement uses a variable-inertia balance wheel and an in-house-made balance spring — the latter of which Bovet takes justifiable pride in being one of very few watch manufacturers in the world that can produce.
The blued bridges reflect the dazzling blue of the front dial, to which eight layers of lacquer are applied to the guillochéd fan-motif base before being polished; the effect is akin to that of the rich, enamel dials found on 19th-century Bovet pocketwatches. The case options are 18 rose gold, as pictured above, 18k white gold, and platinum, with full skin alligator straps and accompanying precious-metal pocketwatch chains for those who want to use the Amadeo case to channel their inner 19th-century dandy.