Fri, 03 November 2017
When the Bovet brothers founded the maison in 1822, the timepieces they manufactured instantly became undisputed references in the watchmaking decorative arts.
Today, the BOVET craftsmen strive to honour this heritage through their expertise and by constantly pushing back the boundaries of excellence. The same quest for perfection also inspired Pascal Raffy, owner and CEO of BOVET 1822, to equip in 2006 its own manufactures: BOVET 1822 Manufacture de Cadrans and DIMIER 1738 Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale, where every technique is deployed with unrivalled mastery and the choice of noble materials continues to expand.
This year, the BOVET collections feature two materials which the artisans of the house have been mastering and proposing since 2008. Their captivating appearance and richly symbolic origins are guaranteed to fascinate.
The origins of the substance aventurine are as terrestrial as they come: it is a transformation of the silica contained in sand and most minerals used to make the glass that serves as a basis for the delicate fabrication of aventurine itself.
It’s artisanal composition dates back to the 17th century. To create aventurine, tinted glass is combined with copper and protoxide (oxides having the smallest proportion of oxygen) of copper inclusions, whose triangular and hexagonal crystals blaze with a thousand sparkles. The composition and manufacture involves empirical processes, and only an experienced, expert artisan can obtain a homogenous result. This is why aventurine remains a rare material that cannot be produced in large quantities. It features the translucence of glass, studded with tiny copper highlights that seem to float freely within it. Although a processed material, its aesthetic qualities have made it favourable with jewellers and gemologists, who have labelled it ‘goldstone’ in English. These days, the material is also often referred to as ‘stellaria’ because of its obvious resemblance to a starry sky.
This same glittery sky is the origin of the second material highlighted this year by BOVET 1822’s dial-makers, who showcase meteorite in several of the models in the 2017 collection. While a considerable number of meteorites fall to Earth each year, less than two per cent belong to the ‘irons’ category that can be used in watchmaking. And very few of them are large enough to provide enough material for a dial.
The variety from which BOVET dials are made, known as Gibeon meteorite, comes from Namibia. Many hundreds of kilograms have been found scattered in various fragments since its discovery in 1838, but very few of these can be exploited for watchmaking purposes.
Ferrous meteorites consist of iron and nickel, while Gibeon also contains cobalt and phosphorus in minute quantities. The temperatures experienced by a ferrous meteorite when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere coupled with the speed at which it cools produce unique geometric crystalline structures. Once the meteorite has been machined, it is polished then plunged into an acid bath to reveal these characteristic patterns.
Given the extreme rarity and recent appearance of aventurine and meteorite in the watchmaking industry, artisans cannot rely on the experience of their predecessors. So, they have used their own expertise to develop the techniques required to exploit these two materials with their unique characteristics.
Machining meteorite is a particularly delicate process that requires constant attention. For the 2017 collection, a black PVD treatment reveals the nuances on the surface while protecting the dial from oxidation. Pad printing (that transfers a 2D image onto a 3D object) and the addition of the hour-markers complete this fragile process.
The metallic flakes responsible for the starry sparkle of aventurine are themselves inclusions that make the material particularly delicate to handle. This difficulty is compounded by the hardness and fragility of the glass, which makes machining and polishing highly technical, tenuous processes, like the various assembly operations.
The craftsmen of the BOVET 1822 dial manufacture have successfully mastered each of the stages involved in the production of these dials, joining the ranks of the greatest specialists in the process and imbuing the brand’s timepieces with a strong symbolic and universal dimension.
BOVET 1822 timepieces are available in Bahrain at Asia Jewellers.
Call 17 534-444 or visit www.asiajewellers.com