Bovet Fleurier Miss Audrey Sweet Art: Real Sugar Crystals On The Dial Glisten Like Tiny Colorful Pearls (No Licking!)
The human body is hardwired to crave sugar, and that is a problem.
For most of humankind’s time as a species, access to high-calorie foods was incredibly rare as we were mostly a hunter-gatherer culture. Whatever we could chase down or scrounge from our environment was what we could eat. Anyone who has spent time in the wilderness should be at least mildly aware of how uncommon most delicious foods are – and how common woody plants, fungi, and mostly inedible leafy plants are.
So finding foodstuffs that provided not only nutrients but the raw calories that we need to survive was incredibly important, and we evolved the drive and motivation to find such food sources. This meant that we developed cravings for things such as fat and sugar: foods high in these elements were what our body could most easily turn into energy. Because of that, those instinctual urges are at our core and stronger than our later developed logic and reasoning.
Once we learned how to farm crops, access to nutritious and delicious foods increased, but only marginally compared to the modern world. As late as World War II, sugar was still in a somewhat limited supply until commercial mega-farms arose. Now the average American consumes ten times more sugar in a day than someone in 1800, and our access to sugar is practically infinite.
The human desire to eat sugar is primal, most animals share this urge, and thanks to modern farming techniques, sugar is readily accessible every single day. Our cravings have not kept pace by reducing alongside this increase, so people tend to consume much more sugar than the body needs or can use. I used to have a massive sweet tooth, but a year ago I gave up added sugar and dramatically changed my diet to reduce high-sugar foods. It was not easy.
To this day the cravings have not gone away even though they have subsided; my genetic desire to eat sugar will be with me until the day I die. Because of this, I need to get my sugar fix in a different way, so imagine my surprise when Bovet Fleurier released the Miss Audrey Sweet Art, a stunningly sweet piece of métiers d’art that uses pure sugar crystals to create dials in a variety of unique colors and styles.
The best part is the sugar is locked away so that I can look but can’t taste, leaving me to admire the beauty instead.
Bovet Miss Audrey Sweet Art
Sweet Art is an extension of the Miss Audrey collection, an award-winning watch with an Amadeo convertible case system providing three configurations, and here acts as a great canvas for this new artistic exploration.
The Miss Audrey Sweet Art is a simple time-only watch, though it sports the same Caliber 11BA15 as the original Miss Audrey, which has a date feature. So with Bovet’s ability to customize to a client’s specification, it’s likely possible that a date could be added back in if desired.
The Amadeo case comes with a diamond-set bezel and bow as well as a crown and strap bolts set with sapphire cabochons. As part of the convertible case system the strap can be removed and replaced with a chain for the watch to be worn as a pendant, or both can be removed and an integrated ring on the rear of the case opened to turn the Miss Audrey Sweet Art into a small, self-standing desk clock.
The final touch is the choice of hands: the hour and minute hands each feature one half of a heart shape so that once every hour a heart is formed on the dial. Since the original Miss Audrey is named after Bovet owner Pascal Raffy’s daughter, this feels entirely appropriate.
The focus of the Miss Audrey Sweet Art is that incredible dial and the immense skill it takes to create it. Bovet Fleurier has long been a brand to highlight artistic crafts on its pieces, be it enamel, miniature painting, engraving, stone marquetry, precious gem setting, or a variety of unique materials. And now it can add pure sugar to that list.
I was skeptical when I first heard about the sugar being used but the results speak for themselves, and it is hard to argue that the dials aren’t indeed gorgeously crafted.
In my mind, there were two problems with the idea of a dial made out of sugar. First, sugar dissolves easily in liquids so coloring and fixing the sugar crystals to a substrate seem like a nearly impossible task.
Second, sugar crystals are also not exactly the strongest material around, but if dials can be made using butterfly wings and peacock feathers, I suppose mineral crystals (which is what sugar is) are well within the realm of possibility.
Bovet developed a patented process to prepare the raw sugar crystals, which in this case uses spheres instead of the more standard cube shape so that they would become thermally stable and wouldn’t dissolve. However, the crystals are still fragile so great care is still needed until they are finally locked in place.
After stabilizing, the crystals are sorted by size using a series of fine mesh screens to get as many consistently sized crystals as possible. Then an artisan uses a biodegradable lacquer to add color and ensure the crystals are placed precisely on the dial.
Once all the crystals are in place – whether gradient, solid color, or a combination of the two – the thermally stabilized crystal dial is baked to set the lacquer and permanently fix the sugar to the dial.
Once baked, the crystals won’t discolor or degrade, but they will still glisten like little sweet pearls across the expanse of the dial.
Looking at the Miss Audrey Sweet Art, you could almost be convinced that these are not sugar crystals but tiny precious gemstone beads of some sort; the consistency in size yet variability in texture and color could easily trick your eye. But thanks to small differences in diameter and shape in combination with delicate hand placement means that the layout is not geometrically perfect and the pattern undulates across the dial.
That mixed with the color variation between crystals makes for an extremely distinctive look, each watch being 100 percent unique as no two crystals will look exactly the same, let alone an entire dial made of them.
The customer can request a variety of colors and patterns to suit their taste (no pun intended), and clearly the technique could be applied to even more complex dials as evidenced by Bovet’s submission for Only Watch 2021.
Bovet Miss Audrey Sweet Fairy Only Watch 2021: complexity
The Bovet Miss Audrey Sweet Art is the basis for the brand’s donation to the Only Watch auction (a charity auction that raises money for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy) and it showcases the sugar dial’s range. The one-off Miss Audrey Sweet Fairy combines the lacquered sugar crystals, Super-LumiNova, and miniature hand-painting for a very playful and vibrant creation.
First a miniature painting of a fairy, reminiscent of Tinkerbell (but not Tinkerbell to avoid drawing the ire of the Mouse™), was painted in the center of the dial using a mixture of paint and Super-LumiNova, then the rest of the dial was coated in orange Super-LumiNova.
The sugar was then applied over that orange Super-LumiNova with its own orange lacquer, which keeps the sugar somewhat translucent, allowing for nearly the entire dial to glow in the dark.
This combination of painting and luminous materials means that the sugar dials could be very versatile and even combined with engraving, guilloche, or marquetry for an infinite number of possible dial configurations built around this unique material.
Bovet also is known for meeting custom requests and is always open to ideas. For anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and being a bit different, the Miss Audrey Sweet Art is definitely a great option to explore your sweeter side.
Since I also try to avoid added sugar in my diet, I love this idea for the sheer playfulness of it. The creativity of Bovet’s artists seems to know no bounds, and this collection is a fantastic example.
I’d love to see the technique applied to a men’s watch or even a complicated watch, where it works together with mechanics and has more opportunities to defy our notions of what sugar can do. It has already accomplished that with the Miss Audrey Sweet Art – and done it with style.
Now that I’m craving some dessert, I’ll try to take my mind off food by breaking this down!
- Wowza Factor * 9 Considering that I didn’t even believe it was possible to do what Bovet did, this definitely gave me a huge wow moment!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 90» 882.599m/s2 It could be the craving for a delicious piece of candy or to stare at the Miss Audrey Sweet Art, but whatever it is keeping me up lusting after this watch is good enough for me!
- M.G.R. * 56 Bovet movements are always top notch with great finishing, and a simple time-only movement can’t detract from that!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A As is common, this piece has no added functions aside from making you want some confections, so you can skip the Gotta-HAVE-That cream and head straight to the store to get yourself something sweet!
- Ouch Outline * 8.9 Getting a large pill stuck in your throat! I’ll admit that I have spent my entire life up until now unable to swallow pills. I finally decided I needed to learn and thanks to some excellent help I have joined the ranks of pill swallowers everywhere, though while training I tried the large multivitamin tablets and the first few pills did not go quietly down my throat. But I’ll gladly keep practicing if it means I could get some time with the Miss Audrey Sweet Art!
- Mermaid Moment * Wait, that’s sugar?! It only took finding out what the dial was made of for me to make the call to book a caterer and a band!
- Awesome Total * 630 Start with the hours of power reserve (42) and multiply by the years of warranty the piece comes with (5), then multiply again by the number of ways you can configure the watch (3) to get a terrifically sweet awesome total!
For more information, please visit bovet.com/Timepiece/miss-audrey-sweet-art.
Quick Facts Bovet Fleurier Miss Audrey Sweet Art
Case: 36 x 11 mm, convertible Amadeo case in stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 11BA15, 42-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: CHF 25,000
Remark: five-year warranty