The unique Essence of a watch

Bovet acquires manufacturing autonomy

The Watch Quote™ - October 21st, 2006

BOVET, has declared ambitions to become a leading player in the luxury-watch sector with its acquisition of advanced technological and manufacturing facilities in the watchmaking town of Tramelan, Canton Bern.

In June of this year, BOVET’s owner and President, Pascal Raffy, acquired the manufacturing resources of STT holdings, giving BOVET manufacturing autonomy in strategic watch components, including balance-springs.

The manufacturing entity has been renamed DIMIER 1738, a name historically associated with BOVET. With its 70 employees and 2,000m2 of workshops, Dimier S.A. will continue to serve existing and other third-party clients while developing BOVET’s new movement calibre, due in 2008.

Mr Pascal Raffy, who took over BOVET in 2001, constantly strives to increase the brand’s creative and technical resources. He says the recent acquisitions will guarantee watches of supreme quality, although production will have to remain limited.

In February 2006, Mr Raffy decided to buy the mediaeval Château de Motiers, overlooking the town of Fleurier where BOVET’s roots stemmed more than 150 years ago. The soon to be restored castle will house BOVET’s headquarters and assembly workshops in 2008.

In December 2004, BOVET has widened its creative resources by partnering up with Aubert Complications in the Joux Valley, enabling it to meet the demand for sophisticated and original watchmaking complications.

With BOVET’s rapid expansion of its production resources and return to the home of its founding family, Mr Raffy aims to restore the brand to its historical prominence as a source of important horological art.

Edouard and Alphonse Bovet founded the family company 180 years ago with sales offices in Canton and London and production in Fleurier, Switzerland. Today the BOVET timepieces can be ordered from retailers in 30 countries and from its sales subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Japan.

BOVET displays its artistic heritage and high technology in the Fleurisanne engraved dial of an eight-day self-winding tourbillon in a diamond-set Fleurier case.

The unique Essence of a BOVET watch

BOVET has exploited its rich historical assets to develop a distinctive style of wristwatch that adapts a pocket-watch case with a bow and crown at 12 o’clock to the wrist.

The brand’s artistic influence, evolved from the luxury timepieces made for the Imperial Chinese market in the 19th century, is preserved in BOVET’s own decorative techniques, including fleurisanne raised engraving, miniature painting, enamelling, blued steel and serpentine hands.

BOVET’s President and owner, Pascal Raffy, introduced complicated watchmaking when he took the brand over in 2001. BOVET has since developed a full repertoire of the classic complications, notably the tourbillon minute-repeaters with inverted movements to reveal both mechanisms in a finery of engraving.

The company has never been reluctant to experiment, developing, with Japanese artists, exquisite dials in lacquer, or highly efficient movements with power reserves of up to 22 days.

Most of BOVET’s production of around 2000 watches a year consists of unique pieces. Collectors can order specific complications, a miniature portrait on the dial, an engraved movement, gemsetting or motifs in enamel.

In addition, BOVET produces two different models in small and ever-changing series.

For formal dress, or for party wear, the Fleurier watches for men and women are made with a variety of dials, self-winding movements, diameters and decoration, but always in rose gold, white gold or platinum. Each watch is different to some degree.

The Sportster watches, robustly built, in steel, gold, platinum or titanium, and equipped for active daily wear have self-winding chronograph or triple-date movements. The Sportster chronograph offering the small second register at 6.00 is COSC-certified chronometer and water-resistant to 100 metres. The latest Sportster Saguaro’s 46mm case is water-resistant at 1,000 metres.

The pocket-watch case of the Sportster chronographs puts the control buttons in a more natural position on top of the case. The angular Art Deco styling recalls a BOVET pocket-chronograph of the 1930s.

Bovet is becoming a genuine manufacture

After getting back to its roots on February 6, 2006, with the acquisition of the ‘Château de Môtiers’ in the Val-de-Travers, Pascal Raffy has accelerated the plan of development for BOVET even further by acquiring three manufacturing structures.

He thus ensures the Maison BOVET their future supply and full autonomy in terms of manufactured movements, which cater to the highest criteria. With this acquisition, BOVET joins the elite group of Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturers. Few watch companies can say that they have reached their objectives in such a short period of time.

The companies of STT holding acquired by BOVET are regrouping more than 60 highly skilled employees and the 2000 sq. meters of workshops in Tramelan, in the heart of Jura Bernois region, bring with them the essential know-how of quality workmanship in the manufacturing of haute horlogerie movements. In addition, consequent investments, planned as of now, will allow the guarantee of supply in terms of quality and quantity of exceptional movements.

The acquired manufacturing structures include: STT Complications SA (ex Progress Watch, production and developments of tourbillons), STT Mechanical Movements SA (calibres), STT SPIR-IT (spirals) that will move from Bienne to Tramelan end of 2006, as well as Aigat (stamping) and STT Watch U Licence (brevets).

All the companies are gathered under the same banner and roof in Tramelan with the new appellation; DIMIER 1738, a name belonging to the BOVET patrimony.

Bovet is also partner of the company Aubert Complications at Le Lieu (VD).

Pascal Raffy is saying: “As a client of these companies since 2004, I knew very well the quality of their products and it was a unique opportunity to enter the very close circle of genuine manufactures of Swiss Haute Horlogerie. It was also a way to guarantee our total autonomy in terms of supply of manufactured movements, answering not only the highest criteria but guaranteeing a vertical growth of our production, indispensable for an ambitious and prestigious watch company. I will assume the development of manufacturing, focussing on the highest quality of products, but in keeping a limited production in terms of volume. Excellence, exclusivity and respect of delivery terms are for me essential preoccupations.”

With DIMIER, BOVET transforms itself into a manufacture to secure a vertical growth of its production. Its main task will be the creation of the exclusive BOVET movement, a high watchmaking calibre that will be presented in 2008. Nonetheless, the new identity DIMIER 1738 will not overturn everything and will continue to manufacture tourbillons and other movements for its existing clients.

From Daytona
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