Having recently visited Bovet in Geneva and in the Jura at the Chateau de Motiers as well as in Tramelan, I had the opportunity to see the Astrerium in the workshop not yet fully assembled as well as in the boutique in white gold.
A very impressive timepiece to say the least, and I ended my visit with a meeting at lunch with Pascal Raffy who really captured our hearts with his charisma and vision.
Récital 20 Astérium
A journey to the edges of the universe and the origins of time
This year, BOVET 1822 launched the Récital 20 Astérium, which seamlessly continues the tradition set by its illustrious predecessor, reprising the characteristic shaped case to present an unprecedented mechanical display that showcases the volumes and decoration of the timepiece.
Much more than just a new timepiece, the Récital 20 Astérium tourbillon symbolizes the universal and eternal message of time and space, and the fascinating choreography of their celestial ballet.
Time is defined by the position of the stars in the sky. Based on this undeniable fact, the night sky was chosen to play the ‘starring’ role in this new exceptional timepiece. Faithful to the underlying principles governing complication development at BOVET 1822, this sky map was designed to be functional, precise and intuitive all at once. With this in mind, the BOVET 1822 technicians opted to map out the stars and constellations visible from the Earth on a dome of translucent blue quartz, on which they are laser-engraved before being coated in Super-LumiNova® to create a dazzling true-to life sky. To ensure utmost realism, the highest stars in the sky are depicted at the top of the dome while the lowest stars nearer the horizon appear on the periphery of the display aperture. Yet, this unrivalled exactitude in time display would count for little had Pascal Raffy and his artisans not applied the same rigor to the mechanical precision of the timepiece. To this end, they devised a sidereal calendar.
The duration of a complete Earthly orbit (known as a sidereal year) is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.77 seconds, or an unchanging 365.25 days. For obvious reasons, the Gregorian calendar was obliged to round down the number of days in a year to 365 and to compensate for the remaining hours by adding an extra day every four years, giving us our leap years. While the Gregorian calendar is perfect for governing our everyday lives, it differs by 0.25 days per year from sidereal reality before resynchronizing every four years. The calendars usually employed in watchmaking – perpetual or otherwise – are all based on the Gregorian calendar, and the use of such a mechanism to drive a night sky results in a significant cumulative error when displaying the time.
To do this, the wearer simply moves the central hand forward until it reflects the correct date before adjusting the time with the crown in its middle position. This operation takes far less time than adjusting a perpetual calendar would, and does not require a corrector.
The same hand also travels along a graduation indicating the signs of the zodiac, symbolized by the constellations in front of which the sun appears throughout the year – hence the delicately hand-engraved sun that is riveted to the part of the hand that passes over this section. The seasons are also indicated further inside the timepiece, as are the solstices and equinoxes.