Some wrist watches tell time. Others try to do a bit more. Case in point is Swiss watchmaker Bovet's new Récital 22 Grand Récital (yes, that's two Récitals). This haute horlogerie timepiece designed by Bovet owner Pascal Raffy is also a tellurium-orrery that shows the dance between the Earth, Sun, and Moon, with a flying tourbillon playing the part of the Sun.
Even at first glance, the Récital 22 Grand Récital is a remarkable combination of craftsmanship and playfulness. You can tell the time with it, though it does take a bit of practice because of the way the hours, minutes and seconds are displayed. But what really stands out is the astronomical theater at the heart of the watch.
Down at the six o'clock position is the Récital 22 Grand Récital's flying tourbillon carriage, which is raised above the surface of the movement and surrounded by a titanium carriage bridge. Riding on it is a handcrafted three-dimensional representation of the Sun. The tourbillon rotates every 60 seconds with an indicator fixed directly to the carriage wheel to count off the seconds in 20 second increments.
At the 12 o'clock position is a three-dimensional northern hemisphere that rotates anti-clockwise once every 24 hours, with the hour displayed by a three-dimensional polished titanium hand situated between the tourbillon and the globe. It has an engraved and hand-painted map with luminescent surfaces and clouds that are separated from the map by thick layers of lacquer to make them look like they are floating in air. Each watch is customized for the buyer to a chosen location set on the Earth-Sun axis at midday, allowing the map to act as a world time device and show which parts of the globe are in daylight and which in night.
Meanwhile, orbiting the Earth map is a tiny Moon that circles once every 29.53 days – exactly equivalent to the Moon's synodic period. According to Bovet, this indicator will only be out one day in 122 years. The Moon itself is a black and white sphere to show the lunar phases.
Also, on the dial are the retrograde minute and power reserve indications, and sapphire crystals beneath the main face crystal magnify the view of the movement as well as the date indicator window.
On the reverse of the watch beneath another sapphire crystal is a perpetual calendar dominated by a bridge decorated with circular Côtes de Genève and centered around the tourbillon's axis. The hour, day, month, and leap-year indicators are run by a retrograde mechanism with a micrometric rack and regulator train that dissipates the energy caused by the calendar disc's movements to maintain accuracy.
Adjustments to the calendar can be made to each individual indicator or by using a pusher that simultaneously adjusts all the timepiece's functions, so it's simple to set the calendar if the watch is allowed to wind down for several days.
All of this is powered by the Récital 22 Grand Récital's in-house designed and built 17DM03-TEL manually-wound caliber. Sporting 472 components, it has a nine-day power reserve and manages 18,000 vibrations/hour thanks to a variable-inertia balance wheel. The movement boasts hobbed teeth, traditionally burnished pivots, and a specially balanced, double-sided, flying tourbillon with the sprung balance and escapement positioned on either side of the central attachment point.
The caliber is sealed in a 46.3-mm case available in 18K red gold or 950/1000 platinum with a water resistance of 30 m (100 ft). The Récital 22 Grand Récital is secured by a full-grain alligator strap with a choice of 18K red or white gold buckle.
The Récital 22 Grand Récital is a limited edition of 60 units and is priced at US$469,800 for the red gold version and US$502,200 for the platinum.
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