News June 2010

Pininfarina Tourbillon Ottanta

A legend in the making

The Watch Quote™ - June 20th, 2010



For 188 years, passionate followers of haute horlogerie have placed BOVET 1822 in the vanguard of watchmaking craftsmanship. Be it antique timepieces or the latest designs offered by BOVET’s in-house workshops, even the most demanding collector’s expectations are exceeded in their quest for perfection in the expression of time-honored crafts such as miniature painting, hand engraving, and of course the production of mechanisms that are not only ingenious and accurate but also aesthetically pleasing. It is indeed a unique heritage, and Mr Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET 1822 and of DIMIER 1738, Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale and all his team around the world are committed to keeping alive this inestimable patrimony, sustaining it with the latest technologies and ensuring its survival for many centuries to come.


A legend in the making

A legitimate source of national pride, Italian design is world renowned and appreciated for the unsurpassed elegance and refinement of its creations. Pininfarina, a true standard bearer of this activity, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Eight decades during which Pininfarina has laid down creative milestones whose elegant profiles have helped define a modern style and aesthetic, becoming a source of reverie and wonderment for many generations. From the first blueprints produced in 1930 to the veritable empire it has become today, the Turin based group has seen its fame spread in the wake of automotive, nautical and aeronautical collaborations. While it has never ceased to diversity its activities, Pininfarina has, until now, not collaborated with the world of fine watchmaking. Yet, there could be no better way of commemorating a jubilee of this importance than with a prestigious timepiece. What was needed therefore was to find, in the rarefied circles of luxury watch manufacturers, a brand whose history and identity were on a par with the prestige of Pininfarina and whose capacity to complete this complex project was assured.

During an initial meeting with Mr Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET and DIMIER 1738, Mr Paolo Pininfarina received the assurance of having found in BOVET the brand with which he would co-write a new chapter in history to magnify the legendary past of each House and proposing a shared vision of the future. In contrast to the notion of a private label, the concept was based from the very start on an active and equal partnership, marrying the specific strengths For 188 years, passionate followers of haute horlogerie have placed BOVET 1822 in the vanguard of watchmaking craftsmanship. Be it antique timepieces or the latest designs offered by BOVET’s in-house workshops, even the most demanding collector’s expectations are exceeded in their quest for perfection in the expression of time-honored crafts such as miniature painting, hand engraving, and of course the production of mechanisms that are not only ingenious and accurate but also aesthetically pleasing. It is indeed a unique heritage, and Mr Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET 1822 and of DIMIER 1738, Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale and all his team around the world are committed to keeping alive this inestimable patrimony, sustaining it with the latest technologies and ensuring its survival for many centuries to come.




A legend in the making

A legitimate source of national pride, Italian design is world renowned and appreciated for the unsurpassed elegance and refinement of its creations. Pininfarina, a true standard bearer of this activity, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Eight decades during which Pininfarina has laid down creative milestones whose elegant profiles have helped define a modern style and aesthetic, becoming a source of reverie and wonderment for many generations. From the first blueprints produced in 1930 to the veritable empire it has become today, the Turin based group has seen its fame spread in the wake of automotive, nautical and aeronautical collaborations. While it has never ceased to diversity its activities, Pininfarina has, until now, not collaborated with the world of fine watchmaking. Yet, there could be no better way of commemorating a jubilee of this importance than with a prestigious timepiece. What was needed therefore was to find, in the rarefied circles of luxury watch manufacturers, a brand whose history and identity were on a par with the prestige of Pininfarina and whose capacity to complete this complex project was assured. During an initial meeting with Mr Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET and DIMIER 1738, Mr Paolo Pininfarina received the assurance of having found in BOVET the brand with which he would co-write a new chapter in history to magnify the legendary past of each House and proposing a shared vision of the future. In contrast to the notion of a private label, the concept was based from the very start on an active and equal partnership, marrying the specific strengths of the designer and watchmaker while taking into account the constraints of their respective activities. Those behind the project felt that this was the only way to achieve a perfect symbiosis of technical virtuosity, performance and beauty without compromise. Indeed it is this very philosophy that forges the praise and success of BOVET FLEURIER and Pininfarina, who today, proudly unveil their masterpiece: The OTTANTA® Tourbillon.




Four watches in one

The development of this new calibre and every aspect of the design and production of its 514 constituent parts is the work of DIMIER 1738’s engineers and watchmakers. It is housed in a convertible case, meaning it can be worn on the wrist with either of its two faces displayed, or combined with a titanium chain – also exclusively designed – for use as a pocket watch, or deployed as a miniature table clock. All of this is possible by means of simple manipulations, without tools, according to the needs or mood of its owner.


Automatic

The energy required to power the two barrels of this movement is supplied by an off-centred, bidirectional platinum micro-rotor. This choice poses an immense technical challenge, yet the result is the preservation of the transparency of the tourbillon cage, which is never concealed regardless of which face of the watch the user wishes to display. To obtain optimal inertia and efficiency, a manufacturing process was developed after many hours of research which allows the micro-rotor to be made from a single block of platinum. Despite many different operations including stamping, machining and decoration, this process was masterfully carried out.




Reverse hand-fitting

As well as displaying hours and minutes in a traditional layout, a reverse hand-fitting carrying a single hand that allows the hours, half-hours and quarter-hours to be read on the movement’s other face. Reminiscent of the single hand of the very first pocket watches dating back to 500 year ago, it is a type of display ideally suited to a reversible watch. Offset at 12 o’clock, it overlays the intricacies of the mechanical movement on a level with the apex of the micro-rotor of the automatic system.


80 year in 80 seconds

As a tribute to the 80th anniversary of Pininfarina, the technical designers of DIMIER 1738, created a tourbillon which makes one complete revolution in exactly 80 seconds, whereas traditionally this operation lasts one minute. To achieve this, they created an intersection in the going train. After the third wheel, the train is divided into two separate reduction trains: one powering the seconds-crown, which makes one revolution every three minutes, the other, specially designed, transmitting its energy to the tourbillon cage to ensure that it completes each of its rotations in 80 seconds; a solution both simple and ingenious. It will be noted also that the rim of the balance wheel has been designed in the shape of an ‘8’, centred in the ring representing the ‘0’, evoking once more with subtlety and attention to detail the 80th anniversary of Pininfarina. The upper pivot of the tourbillon cage carries a hand which naturally does not display the seconds but traverses eight segments, recalling the number of decades in Pininfarina’s history, and points to eight emblematic phrases penned by Pininfarina and engraved on the timepiece. The assembly is balanced by a specially designed Pininfarina screw.




A first for seconds

Because the tourbillon cage does not carry a 60 seconds-hand, an inventive solution was adopted. Many hours of research were required to obtain a crown that was concentric with the tourbillon cage. The latter, measuring 18mm in diameter, would have provided an impractical indication, its one-minute rotation allowing insufficient time to comfortably read the numerals appearing in the aperture. It therefore rotates every three minutes on seven ruby bearings, which reduces the coefficient of friction to a minimal amount. Advanced technology was required for its production to ensure that its thinness and concentricity were within a tolerance of 2 microns. Lastly, to reduce friction and consequent loss of amplitude, a special smooth surface finish was applied, optimising frictional efficiency. The power reserve is indicated at 9 o’clock. To round off this perfect symmetry, the big date is displayed at 6 o’clock by means of two concentric discs. The big date also benefits from all the ingenuity of the designers and technicians of DIMIER 1738, since its rapid adjustment is possible at any moment, regardless of the time shown by the hands, affording much appreciated security in an otherwise delicate mechanism. The instantaneous date change system, especially developed for this occasion, consumes little energy and over a limited duration and therefore has virtually no effect on the amplitude and performance of the regulating organ and by a consequence maintaining impeccable precision.




Decoration

The essence of the partnership between Bovet and Pininfarina resides in the decoration of this automatic tourbillion. BOVET provides its exceptional expertise in mechanical architecture and its mastery of multiple, age-old and modern decorative techniques, while the latter contributes its virtuosity in terms of design, elegance and colour associations. In close collaboration with their counterparts at Pininfarina, the design team at DIMIER 1738 developed exterior parts and a “motorization” that merge into a single, coherent entity, managing to overcome considerable obstacles to create an overall effect of clarity and depth despite the extreme complexity of the movement. Experts in the art of showing materials and volumes to optimal effect, Pininfarina designers suggested using the widest possible range of nuances of grey, sensing that the adoption of a monochrome approach would have the effect of smoothing volumes while recourse to different colours would prove aesthetically unappealing. To achieve unsurpassed refinement in terms of decoration, the engineers and craftsmen of DIMIER 1738 analysed 56 decorative samples and shades of grey and anthracite. Many of these were specially designed and developed for this occasion. All were rigorously tested to guarantee technical and aesthetic results that are unalterable over time. In a final detail that symbolises the virtuosity of DIMIER 1738 craftsmen, the surfaces of bridges on either side of the tourbillon cage feature circular bipolar Clous de Paris decorative work, a feat seemingly impossible to achieve until now.




The Exterior

The visual identifiers of both Houses are expressed to perfection by the watch’s exterior parts, which together evoke their most prestigious creations. The case is a revisited version of the already famous AMADEO by BOVET, proposed here in titanium and steel completed with black DLC covering. Two other versions with a white or rose gold bezel and case-back are also available. If this AMADEO case is uncompromised aesthetically, it remains a fantastic distillation of mechanical craftsmanship. Two push-pieces on either side of the bow allow the upper section of the wristlet to be extracted. A “minute repeater” type slide releases the bottom bezel which pivots on a hinge at 6 o’clock. This operation allows the lower section of the wristlet to be released. The watch can then be removed and transformed into a miniature table clock resting on a stable support assured by the lower bezel. According to mood or necessity, the user can then reattach the wristlet and choose which face of the watch to display, or reclose the lower bezel and replace the upper section of the wristlet with a chain, turning this prestigious object into an elegant pocket watch. In addition to Pininfarina’s active contribution to the design of the watch, eight emblematic phrases each reflecting one decade of the brand’s existence and signed by Mr Paolo Pininfarina himself have been engraved around the middle of the case. The work of engraving was the most demanding task in the manufacture of this case in terms of time and resources, to ensure that despite its size, the wording remained clearly legible to the naked eye. The strap for its part is composed of two types of rubber whose surface reflects the block-polish and sand-jetted finish of the movement’s constituent parts. It has duplicate-moulded stainless-steel inserts ensuring harmonious integration with the case and an “alcantara effect” calfskin lining created specifically for optimal comfort. Fifty different operations were required for its manufacturing.

Adding a final touch to this anthology, the dial has a brass flange with an anthracite colour finish and a rock crystal lower plate which reveals, in addition to the movement in its entirety, the power reserve hand and balance decorated meticulously in the same shade of blue as the Pininfarina logo, which appears also on the stitching of the sumptuous leather presentation case.


Future promises

Naturally the OTTANTA® Tourbillon co-signed by BOVET and Pininfarina is produced in a limited edition (numbered on the movement and engraved plate of the presentation case) of naturally 80 pieces. Even before this masterpiece reached maturity, the enthusiasm and passion that drive Mr Pascal Raffy and Mr Paolo Pininfarina led them to conclude a long-term partnership which will give rise to other creations (at the rate of one per year), each destined to inspire connoisseurs of elegant and refined timepieces.

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