The Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 is the first watch ever to acknowledge daylight savings The Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 is the first watch ever to acknowledge daylight savings

The Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 is the first watch ever to acknowledge daylight savings

Buffy Acacia

Picture this scene. You’re an American who’s got something to celebrate, and you’ve already purchased a watch. It’s a world timer from a legendary brand, and it’s been your grail watch for decades. You also book a three-week European holiday, excited that you can keep up with both your home and local times no matter where you go, thanks to the world time complication. Your plane touches down on March 10th, and you realise something’s wrong. Your home time doesn’t look right. You double check, and realise that daylight savings has just begun in the US, but not in Europe. By the time your three weeks are up, Europe will just be entering daylight savings as you board the plane home. As unlikely a scenario this is, it demonstrates a problem which the Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 has solved.

The dial

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 dial close up

To be honest, it didn’t even occur to me until I saw this watch that world time watches don’t adjust for daylight saving time. It makes complete sense now, but a static array of UTC-based time zones just isn’t very accurate to the world we live in. Of course, the Récital 28 Prowess 1 isn’t flawless. Not all countries use daylight savings, and those that do are rarely synchronised. Instead, Bovet covers most of its client base with adjustments for American and European daylight savings. You can have either, both, or none of them active, allowing for reliable time conversion between American and European locations at any time of the year. If your country uses daylight savings and isn’t covered (like Australia) then you still have to make the adjustment in your head.

Bovet is best known for its lavish displays of maximalist opulence, but the Récital 28 Prowess 1 shows us a different side. It’s an incredibly high-tech dial which shows us the inner workings of the movement without being a traditional skeleton. There’s so much dimensionality thanks to the taller side of the writing slope case, and you can clearly see all of the micro-engineering which went into creating it. The dial is prolific in its use of rollers, which are a space-efficient way of displaying plenty of information. It may be a world timer, but it’s also a perpetual calendar. Rollers are also used for the UTC/Summer/Winter setting, retrograde date, month, and leap year indicator, while the weekday is displayed on a traditional wheel. The right side of the dial has a small sub-dial with a hand and symbols, presumably indicating between the crown’s different functions of winding, adjusting the world timer, and the home time.

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 dial

Just because the Récital 28 Prowess 1 is highly functional and technical, doesn’t mean Bovet hasn’t snuck in some of its signature flair. The centrepiece at 12 o’clock is hard to ignore, with a flying tourbillon held aloft by blued bridges. The golden sparkle of the tourbillon itself is complimented by the rose gold hands on the main dial, which sit above an aventurine disk. Beneath the printed Bovet logo is “10 Days” in script, signifying the watch’s power reserve. It’s these touches which give the watch an air of class despite its industrial background, and pay homage to the brand’s high-end history.

The case

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 wrist

Cramming a perpetual calendar and a brand new form of world timer into a wristwatch was never going to be easy, so you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is quite a big watch. Its diameter comes in at 46.3mm, which to be honest, could be much worse. At its tallest, the height is a whopping 17.85mm, although this slopes down towards the bottom lugs so that the dial can more easily face you from your wrist. The version we see in these renders is made from grade 5 titanium, however they will also be available to order in cases of 18k red gold and platinum.

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 case profile

Given how wide the dial needs to be, the case itself doesn’t take up much space. Its profile is cylindrical, with soft flanges towards the bezel and caseback for a bit of sculptural character. Aside from the large, cabochon-set crown, the polished case sides also feature hidden pushers for adjusting certain parts of the perpetual calendar. The lugs do their best to remain petite for wearability, but again there is some sculpting to them, so they don’t entirely seem like afterthoughts.

The movement

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 movement caseback

Powering the Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 is the calibre R28-70-00X. Considering that this is the world’s first world time movement to compensate for daylight savings, it almost goes without saying that it’s an in-house effort from Bovet. In fact, it’s been five years in the making. The way the adjustment works is surprisingly simple. Each of the rollers have four positions, which encompass UTC, AST (American Summer Time), EAS (Europe and America Summer Time), and EWT (European Winter Time). They can all be adjusted by a push of the crown, so you don’t even need to understand how it works in order to use it effectively. The perpetual calendar rollers offer more of a spectacle, with the retrograde date, leap year, and month all scurrying back to their original positions like slot machines when they reach their end.

From the exhibition caseback, we can see that the back of the movement is nowhere near as utilitarian as the front. It’s made from 744 components, and each of them have been hand-finished with various decorations. Most notable is the fan-like engraving on the bridges which almost looks like crystalline growth. This is definitely the kind of movement which rewards examination with a loupe, as every bevel is also executed by hand, with many interior angles.

The strap

bovet recital 28 prowess 1 clasp

Though the strap is unlikely to sway any purchasing decisions when it comes to a watch of this calibre, I wanted to point out one component in particular – the clasp. It’ll spend most of its time looking at the top of your desk, away and out of sight, but that didn’t let Bovet forget about it. In fact, it’s finished wonderfully, with a multi-piece construction and hammered decoration in a case-matching metal. If that wasn’t enough, the stitches of the alligator strap are a blend of fabric and platinum. Because of course they are.

The verdict

It seems as though Bovet gets unfairly dismissed by many enthusiasts, either because its designs are too over-the-top or simply because its fame wasn’t centred in Europe for the last 200 years. But, if there’s anything which proves that it belongs in the conversation of important watchmakers, it’s the creation of a new complication. Adjusting for daylight savings seems like such an obvious thing to do in hindsight, and I’m sure that given enough time, there’ll be plenty of more famous brands attempting to do the same. The Récital 28 Prowess 1 certainly isn’t a watch for the masses, but it should be a beacon of inspiration to all other manufacturers of grand complications.

Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 pricing and availability

The Bovet Récital 28 Prowess 1 is available in highly limited production of approximately 8 pieces per year. Price: On request

Brand Bovet
Model Récital 28 Prowess 1
Case Dimensions 46.3mm (D) x 17.85mm (T)
Case Material Titanium, platinum, or 18k rose gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Openworked with blue aventurine world time sub-dial
Strap Black alligator leather with platinum stitching, decorated folding clasp
Movement Bovet R28-70-00X, in-house, manual winding
Power Reserve 10 days (240 hours)
Functions Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon, perpetual calendar, world timer with adjustments for American and European daylight savings
Availability 8 pieces produced per year
Price On request