If any brand can claim real connections to China, it is Bovet, founded by Swiss businessman Edouard Bovet. Bovet emigrated to Canton, China in 1818 and sold four watches of his own design there. On his return to Switzerland in 1822, he set up a company for shipping his Fleurier-made watches to China. The company name, pronounced “ Bo Wei” in Mandarin, became a synonym for “watch” in Asia and at one point had offices in Canton. For more than eighty years, Bovet and his successors supplied the Chinese ruling class with valuable timepieces.
In 2001, the brand was bought by entrepreneur Pascal Raffy. He ensured the company’s industrial independence by acquiring several other companies as well, notably the high-end watchmaker Swiss Time Technology (STT) in Tramelan, which he renamed Dimier 1738. In addition to creating its own line of watches, this manufacture produces complex technical components such as tourbillons for Bovet watches. Assembly of Bovet creations takes place at the headquarters in the thirteenth-century Castle of Môtiers in Val-de-Travers not far for Fleurier.
Bovet watches have several distinctive features – undoubtedly a reason for their growing fame. The first is intricate dial work, featuring not only complex architecture, but also very fine enameling. The second is the lugs and crown at 12 o’clock, recalling Bovet’s tasteful pocket watches of the nineteenth century. On some models, the wristbands are made to be easily removed so the watch can be worn on a chain or cord. Other watches convert to table clocks.