Bovet: the cradle in a castle

The Bovet family lived for more than a century in the Château de Môtiers, a historical monument built in the 14th century and acquired from the State of Neuchâtel in 2006 by Pascal Raffy, current owner of Bovet.

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It could almost be a fairytale, complete with prince, dungeon, wrought iron gates, a few sculpted or hand-painted dragons on precious dials, as well as a BraveHeart collection. Born of destiny and an age-old spirit of enterprise, the epic saga of Bovet and the Château de Môtiers is very real and has been embedded in history for almost 200 years. Towering over the Val-de-Travers with its fortifications running along a forest, it did indeed belong to the Bovet family and is now part of the heritage of the brand under the current ownership of Pascal Raffy, who has restored its aura of nobility. Having undergone a complete renovation thanks to substantial investments made 12 years ago, the Château de Môtiers houses the Bovet casing-up and watch finishing workshop. Inside this architectural gem that is a Canton de Neuchâtel listed historical building, the original beams and stones have been treated so as to be compatible with the high-tech controlled-air (pulsated and filtered) atmosphere indispensable to any Fine Watchmaking workshop. The company watchmakers and artisans who perform the entire range of manual decorations, quality control tests on the case, the bracelet and the movement prior to casing-up, as well as after-sales service procedures, enjoy exceptional working conditions. High ceilings, generous natural light, a view over the villages of the valley where absinth was born, complete silence… as well as cutting-edge technological tools serving to work efficiently and accurately. Ancestral techniques such as Fleurisanne engraving or piqué beautifully enhance the dials, movements and cases, along with other contemporary motifs spontaneously offered to collectors, such as hammered lozenges. Some personalized versions regularly require up to 100 hours of work. At Bovet, bespoke craftsmanship is an integral part of the service. Clients thus derive even greater pleasure from visiting this unique place, operating in complete symbiosis with the dial and movement Manufacture employing more than 100 artisans in Tramelan. The 3,500 square meters of the Château premises, where around 20 people work conscientiously on their daily tasks, also include modern offices and comfortable reception areas, furnished and decorated with great refinement. It is said that it might play an essential role during the brand centenary in 2022, or perhaps meanwhile during an SIHH. Speaking of Bovet watches, it is no exaggeration to state that the soul of the founding father pervades each of these timepieces.

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Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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