The Third Chapter of the Celestial Trilogy
In 2016, Bovet introduced the Récital 18 Shooting Star tourbillon; a year later, the Récital 20 Astérium, which re-introduced the Récital 18’s asymmetrical case, original architecture and display of astronomical indications. This year, the Récital 22 Grand Récital tourbillon forms the third chapter in the poetic watchmaking narrative begun by the manufacture’s owner Pascal Raffy and the maison’s artisans.
The 46.3 by 19.6 mm case functions as a horological Tellurium (a mechanism that depicts how day, night and the seasons are caused by the
movement of the Earth on its axis and its orbit around the sun) including hemispherical, birds-eye view of the Earth at 12 o’clock and a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock that represents the sun with a carriage bridge acting as fiery rays shooting out of the sun’s body. A spherical moon orbits the Earth according to the exact length of its synodic period of 29.53 days.
The half-Earth that displays the Northern Hemisphere rotates on its own axis and demonstrates the passage of time on a natural 24-hour cycle. The surface of the Earth is engraved and hand painted, giving the oceans and continents an unmistakable sense of realism. Bovet’s artisans even included luminescence in the miniature painting process and added several layers of transparent lacquer before painting clouds and air currents for a realistic look. At the base of the globe, a graduated scale displays the hour by means of a three-dimensional polished titanium hand, situated between the tourbillon and the globe. According to Pascal Raffy, it takes one week to finish a single globe. “After having added the layers of luminous material, the globe comes back to the miniature painter and he or she paints the stratosphere, the clouds. The clouds are the last step of every globe.”
The sphere of the moon can be found directly around the Earth. The mechanism that powers the moon and moon-phase display, which you can see on the Earth’s concentric ring, means it will only need to be adjusted by one day every 122 years. The sphere is divided into two parts: one black, while the second is engraved with the textured surface of the moon. The engraved sections of the second half are filled with a luminous material that allows you to see which part of the moon is directly illuminated by the Sun. This approach to the lunar indication is one of the five patents received for the production of the Récital 22 Grand Récital.
Collectors can choose not only the case material, but also the orientation of the painted world map so that a selected location will be positioned on the earth-sun axis when the timepiece displays midday. This customisation option means that each watch is only going to be assembled once the
collector’s special requests have been received. This customisation also makes it possible to determine where it is currently nighttime in the world thanks to the black and white coloring of the ring surrounding the earth.
The carriage of the solar-inspired tourbillon is raised above the actual surface of the movement; polishing of the upper bridge alone takes two hours, the stone in the middle of the sun is a white diamond. The five arms of the titanium bridge feature a rounded hand-finish and frame the regulating organ. By rotating once every 60 seconds, the tourbillon indicates the seconds by a hand affixed directly to the carriage wheel and travels over a scaled 20-second sector.
To the left of the Earth is the retrograde minutes display and, to the right, the nine-day power reserve indicator. Directly underneath the retrograde minutes is a date made of luminous material that features a large magnifying glass to enlarge the date wheel on the bottom portion of the movement. The disk is visible also on the caseback with a fully functional perpetual calendar with hour, day, date, month and leap-years indication.
In addition to the traditional correctors used to adjust each indication individually, Bovet’s watchmakers implemented a pusher located between the upper lugs that simultaneously adjusts all the timepiece’s functions. Therefore, if the timepiece has been stopped for six days, for instance, this pusher can be simply pressed six times to adjust the perpetual calendar and Tellurium functions simultaneously. A single barrel supplies the 472 components of this in-house Calibre, while providing a power reserve of over nine days.
The limited edition of 60 is priced at $469,800 (Rs. 3.49 crore approx.) in rose gold and $502,200 (`3.72 crore approx.) in platinum, both on a full-grain alligator leather strap. Pascal Raffy also hinted at a titanium version priced at $435,000 (Rs. 3.23 crore approx.).