Bovet Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined: Now Sporting A Black DLC Titanium Case And Colorful Lume Dials
by Martin Green
Sometimes you go to restaurants where the kitchens are ruled by chefs that have different techniques. They use the same ingredients as any other culinary artist, yet the dishes they bring forth are distinctly different – to the extent that even if you don’t like them, you still have to admit they are good.
Among such chefs, some are even capable of reimagining their own original dishes, transforming them into something new and equally tantalizing.
Same ingredients, different dish
In the world of timepieces, there are also such people. Their watches tell the time like any other, but they don’t follow the herd in terms of look and feel. An excellent example of this is Bovet, a company that was reestablished in 2001 by Pascal Raffy after being initially founded in 1822 and changing hands a few times over the years.
Raffy has cleverly taken inspiration from the brand’s rich history but hasn’t dwelled on the past, other than wholeheartedly embracing old-school craftsmanship. On this basis, Bovet quickly became a brand known for its high-quality and often highly complicated watches that have an almost avant-garde feel – but most of all unique looks.
Now Bovet offers a new take on its own formidable Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two (itself a modest reinterpretation of the Virtuoso VIII from 2016), which the brand introduced in 2020.
What sounds like a superyacht was for me one of the horological highlights of 2020, presenting a captivating combination of complications displayed in an original way with flawless finish on a caliber that seems to follow the rules of architecture rather than basic movement design.
Bovet Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined: light it up!
When Bovet says that it reimagined the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two, you can take that quite literally. The designers didn’t exactly “improve” it, rather they took the same ingredients and served them up differently.
This starts with the black case changed significantly by applying a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating on a titanium base. This may look like an unexpected metal for Bovet to work with, but the brand has used it before in, for example, the Récital 21 and the Ottantasei Tourbillon.
Using titanium makes the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined noticeably lighter than its gold sibling but also tones down the expressive form of the crown and bow-shaped lug. Bovet takes this even further by also giving the movement a blackened finish, setting the stage for the twin dials.
While these were crafted in aventurine on the original Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two, here they are covered with Super-LumiNova. These days many more vibrant colors of lume are possible, and Bovet takes full advantage of this development. Not only green, blue, and yellow are available, but also purple and salmon. Each gives the watch a slightly different character, which Bovet cleverly matches up with the strap.
A beautiful detail is that the ring around the flying tourbillon is also coated with Super-LumiNova – an impressive feature when you realize that it is also pad printed with a railroad track and Arabic numerals to indicate the seconds. It is an original way to highlight one of the features that make this watch exceptionally legible in low-light conditions.
As the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined is powered by the same movement as its sibling it also has the same features, combining the aforementioned flying tourbillon with an oversized date display and a power-reserve indicator.
Using only a single mainspring barrel, it keeps on running for ten days when fully wound. I am also a big fan of the back, where this huge barrel peeks out from under its bridge. The shape of this and the other bridges is pure elegance, showing that Bovet is not only packing its calibers with complications, but also wants the overall architecture of the movement to be beautiful.
This increases the complexity of developing such a movement significantly.
A Gran Turismo
While some refer to the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined as a “sports watch,” I don’t think that this is the correct terminology.
In terms of character, it is more like an old-school Gran Turismo: a formidable car that is fast but not a sports or race car. Instead, it surrounds you with luxury as it transports you from Paris to the Côte d’Azur in a couple of hours. I can very well imagine a future owner of one of these watches walking into a Bentley dealer to place an order for a Continental GT Speed (as long as Bentley can make it in the same color as the watch’s subdials).
That would be quite the car to match with this imaginative reimagined watch in both looks as well as character.
For more information, please visit www.bovet.com/Timepiece/virtuoso-viii-chapter-ii-reimagined.
Quick Facts Bovet Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined
Case: 44 mm, titanium with black DLC coating
Movement: manually wound Caliber 17BM06-GD with one-minute flying tourbillon, ten-day power reserve (single barrel), 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds (on flying tourbillon); oversized date, power reserve indication
Price: $230,000 / CHF 200,000
Limitation: 8 pieces available with different colored Super-LumiNova dials in green, blue, yellow, purple, and salmon
Remark: five-year warranty