Pascal Raffy : Owner of BOVET 1822 and DIMIER 1738

You kicked off the year 2015 with the Amadeo® Fleurier Braveheart® : what does this timepiece mean to you ?

The Braveheart® represents a significant culminating point in BOVET’s recent history. When I took over the Manufacture DIMIER in Tramelan in June 2006, it was involved in the industrial production of tourbillons. We noted at the time that the quality of the millions of francs’ worth of components was not sufficient to enable us to use them, but also that the passion of the 72 artisans working there (80% of whom are still with us) was as vibrantly alive as ever. They too dreamed of returning to the quintessence of Fine Watchmaking. We therefore devoted the year 2007 to rebuilding plans from scratch and to creating our own movement, the first mechanical 8-day caliber. One needs to find reference points in life, and since I never travel more than three weeks and that the founding date of BOVET is 1822, I set myself the challenge of achieving a 22-day power reserve. This would procure me the joy of returning home and seeing the heart of the Amadeo® Fleurier Braveheart® beating as steadily as ever. The result of this endeavor confirms the stature of a fully vertically integrated Manufacture and also fulfills one of the two collector’s dreams I had in taking over BOVET in 2001. The second is embodied in our 19Thirty collection.


There’s a huge gap between them in terms of affordability…

Indeed : the Braveheart® is worth more than a million Swiss francs in its gemset version, whereas the 19Thirty can be had for CHF 16,000. The latter price tag is a feat in itself for a timepiece with a cold-enameled, perfectly circular-brushed dial, finishes reflecting those of our tourbillons, a transparent back screwed to a 15 3/4 movement which, as a worthy representative of Haute Horlogerie, extends across the entire 42mm diameter, along with a seven-day power reserve and a genuine sapphire cabochon. Especially since this model features perfect ergonomics and exemplary comfort on the wrist. Two years ago, building on the fact of having established an efficient Manufacture, we set about creating this new movement equipped with a single barrel while reflecting the historical Bovet design codes: an hours-minutes dial with small seconds at 6 o’clock. And since it took eight months to achieve the the magical  blue featured on the Braveheart® dial, we picked it up in the the 19Thirty, which is also available in white or black versions. We will enrich the collection with “medium” complications and then with a split-second large date chronograph. This development will be far more complicated than that of a tourbillon and will doubtless be completed by the end of 2018.


Next year will be the 15th anniversary of your takeover of BOVET ; what can we expect in 2016 ?

Two major, very different yet complementary creations are to be unveiled. One is a BOVET-DIMIER-Pininfarina model with a generous power reserve, based on the Ottanta architecture and featuring a magnificently ergonomic shape (less than 9mm apart from the crystals), issued in an 86-piece limited edition. The second will be a model enriching the DIMIER collection : for the past four years we have been working on an existing functionality concept that will be presented in an original, user-friendly and easily adjustable way, endowed with two innovations and exceptional timekeeping precision. In addition, we are planning to relaunch BOVET in China, now that we have the Bovet and China book published last year and which provides amazing educational material for reaching this part of the world. In light of our heritage, many people think we are already well established there. Asia Pacific represents 20% of our sales, which opens up fine prospects for us there. In terms of celebrations, the next key milestone will be bicentenary of BOVET, for which I have something very specific in mind.


What is the most significant achievement of your 15 years at the head of BOVET ?

Definitely the team. You can buy buildings, but not a sincere smile or a look sparkling with authenticity. In December 2001, BOVET was composed of four people, a number that grew to 43 and now stands at 143. I know every first name and even those of some of their children. They talk about their daily life and about brand values with affection and the same philosophy pervades all four production sites : these are our true assets.


What did you get out of participating in the first Dubai Watch Week ?

I was extremely enthusiastic even before it opened, in fact as soon as we received the invitation. I really like the logo – it’s really hard to create something so simple and beautiful – and the fact that it took place from October 18 to 22 was an unintended nod to BOVET (born in 1822). This initiative is entirely legitimate in a part of the world that is home to some of the greatest collectors. In my view, the Seddiqi* family with which we share the same exceptional values represents the ultimate reference in every conceivable way. Discussing watchmaking with Mr Seddiqi is a real delight, and his idea of creating the 19Thirty with Hindi-Arabic numerals is entirely in tune with the spirit of BOVET – which develops timepieces tailored to collectors’ wishes. Finally, the human-scale dimension of the Dubai Watch Week is very important to us.


If the SIHH were to welcome you into the fold, would you join it ?

If the SIHH were to offer us the opportunity of displaying our products in the right conditions, it would be a pleasure to return there. Our Maison is mature, the teams are united and the Manufacture is rock-solid. BOVET is represented in 40 countries and the collections are appreciated, especially among women due to our successful efforts to make up for an initial weakness in the field of ladies’ watches that currently account for 40% of our sales. This first 15-year stage is exactly what I wished for in 2001, and now we are eagerly moving on to the next phase.


*see the articles on the DWW and the interview with Hind Seddiqi on


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.

Review overview