Bovet Récital 27: The Trinity Of Time
Time is a bit of a nebulous thing to understand on its own: it is often useful to have a frame of reference to compare, a way to understand it from multiple perspectives.
I have noticed that in literature and cinema there is a popular theme of comparing and contrasting three different time frames to better understand each. This trinity has many mystical, mythological, and philosophical connotations across cultures. And a set of three is the most basic set of data to establish a baseline and look for patterns and meaningful repetition.
In the novel and later movie adaptation The Hours, three women (one of whom is novelist Virginia Woolf) find themselves in different situations and time periods and are compared against each other, all while being (appropriately) connected by the Virginia Woolf novel Mrs. Dalloway.
The Hours deals with topics including mental illness, suicide, LGBTQ+ issues, and ruminations about the past, present, and future, all in different ways across each time period. Interestingly, the Mrs. Dalloway novel also tackles similar issues, providing a meta-narrative about understanding topics by linking them and comparing them with time.
On a more mystical note, the German Netflix show Dark is packed full of references to time (it is a time-travel show after all) and is based very heavily around the trinity of time. Dealing with topics such as choice, fate, personal motivations, and the circularity of time, the show allows the viewer to understand complex ideas by using contrasts over different time periods. As the show progresses, the ideas become more solid thanks to how each period fills in details that add to the whole.
Without saying anything more to spoil the show (I highly recommend watching it), the idea of using three perspectives on time to provide insight into nuanced topics clearly has its advantages. But sometimes you don’t need to comprehend the pain of mental illness or the existential angst of being destined to choose your own demise, sometimes you just need to compare three different times. You know, like when you are traveling and need a three-time zone watch?
The Bovet Récital 27, which first debuted in 2019, is just such a timepiece: its foundation is a triple time indication for the globally committed traveler or businessperson. Including even more complications, the Récital 27 joins the Bovet family of incredible (and functional) timepieces that demonstrate a commitment to a different kind of watchmaking.
Bovet Récital 27
The Récital collection, which includes more and less complicated watches within the Dimier collection, has developed a certain personality thanks to the now common writing slope case found in all the recent Récital models.
The Récital 27 is an update of the Récital 17, which was released before the introduction of that awesome sloping case shape, and with the update we have some changes to the movement, a big aesthetic shift for a whole host of details, and, of course, a new case.
As I mentioned before, the Récital 27 is built around a triple time zone display that one might imagine could become busy, but Bovet is rather skilled at combining complications in a way that doesn’t seem forced in any respect. In the center are the regular hour and minute hands for local time, flanked on each side by miniature dials with full Arabic numeral chapter rings, hour and minute hands, and a centralized day/night indicator.
At the 12 o’clock position on the secondary and tertiary time zone subdials is a window where the corresponding landmark city is displayed for the chosen time zone. Each window highlights one of 24 named cities on either one of the disks. These disks are exposed through the openworked dial architecture, and we can see the radiating assortment of cities. This fills out most of the upper two-thirds of the Récital 27’s dial, with only a cartouche bearing the Bovet 1822 logo and a single numeral 12 visually separating the two.
The rest of the dial is taken up by a large twin moon phase display showing the current moon phase for both the northern and southern hemispheres side by side. The moon disk is engraved in the reverse of what one might expect, with two circles of blue with stars indicating the night sky. The rest of the disk is engraved with a representation of the crater-pocked lunar surface in silver. Both the silver and blue circles are filled with Super-LumiNova and in the dark they become the literal highlight of the watch.
Some remains the same while the essence changes
On the rear of the Récital 27, not much has changed from the Récital 17. Even though the caliber is different, the reverse of the movement is identical to the previous iteration. Here we find the seconds indication on the right side via a triple-spoked second hand and a 20-second scale. Just below this, toward the center, is the balance flanked on its left by the power reserve indicator. This simple indication reveals a secret of the Récital 27: the seven-day power reserve.
The reserve scale has seven segments representing seven days but lacks any numerals or verbiage, keeping the true nature of the indication a bit of an owner’s secret. But no worries, there is still the very cool and uncommon crossbar ratchet click for the mainspring, several examples of which are highlighted in The Schmidt List’s Top 5 Funky Clicks. Otherwise, the rest is the same finely finished Bovet caliber with Geneva stripes arcing across the movement, centered off the main plates and bridges on the right side.
All of the changes to the caliber are restricted to the front and seem to be largely aesthetic as pretty much all the components seem to be the same. But the aesthetic changes are not to be downplayed as the Récital 17 suffers from the “too much text” syndrome that often disappoints collectors, but the Récital 27 reduces it by half (and I would argue the brand could have kept going).
The addition of blue lacquered guilloche inserts for the secondary and tertiary time zone dials along with the Bovet logo cartouche comprises a lovely update adding texture and filling out areas that previously felt flat. There is also a green lacquer version to shake things up. That guilloche is also interesting in that it was first engraved on a single plate all at once, then lacquered, and then machined to ensure the best match of the pattern (even if it is very small).
But the biggest aesthetic update that, in my mind, dramatically improves the appearance is the moon phase display. The previous iteration used a canted set of windows that didn’t seem to relate to any meaningful orientation and were further separated by a compass rose rotated counterclockwise by 60 degrees. There seemed to be no logical or design reason to do this, plus the compass rose felt out of place and made the dial feel dated.
Small difference, big impact
The updated simple double oculus style, basically a figure eight held by a very thin frame, matches the modern classic style that much of the movement adheres to. It also played a part in getting rid of needless text around the periphery of the display that I wish could have been applied to the day/night areas in the center of the subdials.
Still, that visual change of the moon phase display feels like it brings the Récital 27 out of an aesthetic slump and in line with the rest of the Récital moon phase iterations. In my mind that makes the movement worthy of ending up in a writing slope case, a much classier case style from Bovet.
Pivoting the entire movement up and forward toward the wearer really gives the watch more presence and aids slightly in the ergonomics of reading the Récital 27. It is minor, to be fair, but the visual impact is not. The updates make the watch feel like more of an important piece, giving it that certain je ne sais quoi you often find with Bovet.
The Récital 27 is also an ultimately functional watch as well with a triple time zone, moon phase, and seven-day power reserve that makes it a formidable piece of horology. It makes sense too, since the triple time zone comes from the founding of Bovet when each of the three Bovet brothers was located in London, Switzerland and China, making this watch a double secret commemoration for the history of the brand.
And since it’s also limited to 60 pieces in a choice of titanium or 18-karat red gold, with other customizable features upon request, the Récital 27 will also be rare enough that you may never spot one in the wild unless it’s on your own wrist.
As time is an illusion, and we have three frames of reference for the time with the Récital 27, I guess it’s only logical that it is time to break it down.
- Wowza Factor * 8.8 With the figure eight window for the double moon phase it only seemed appropriate to continue the trend!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 88» 862.985m/s2 When you have three time zones to consider, the lust can be felt in the past, present, and future!
- M.G.R. * 66.8 Three time zones, moon phase, double day/night indications, and a seven-day power reserve combine to make a darn nice movement!
- Added-Functionitis * Severe It’s been a while since something this complicated came across my schedule, and with six added functions you will need to immediately take a dose of prescription strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream to manage the time sensitive swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 10.8 That pinched nerve! The older a person gets the clearer it becomes that falling asleep in odd places and positions drastically increases the risk of pinching some random nerve in the neck or back that will linger for hours, maybe days. Still I would gladly accept the risk if it meant getting one of the Récital 27’s on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Not one, not two, but three! A triple threat in any category will often be a winner but getting three chances to experience a moment in time is something magical!
- Awesome Total * 926 First take the number of pieces in the limited edition (60) and multiply by the diameter of the case in millimeters (46.3), then divide by the number of time zone displays the watch has (3) for a triply awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.bovet.com/timepiece/dimier-recital-27.
Quick Facts Bovet Récital 27
Case: 46.3 x 15.95 mm, red gold or titanium
Movement: manual winding Caliber 17DM04-3FPL, 7-day power reserve, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; second time zone (hours & minutes), third time zone (hours & minutes), two day/night indications, double moon phase indicator, power reserve
Limitation: 60 pieces total
Price: 64,000 Swiss francs