Pininfarina Hyper GT Inspires Bovet Battista Tourbillon: It’s Electrifying!
by Martin Green
Pininfarina was established in 1930 by Battista Farina, who went by the nickname “Pinin” (youngest/smallest) as he was the tenth of his parents’ eleven children. Farina founded his company in Turin, Italy with the help of Vincenzo Lancia and embraced the unibody construction he pioneered.
“Pinin Farina” proved itself very quickly to be the coachbuilder of the rich and famous, who ordered their car chassis from legendary marques like Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo, to name a few, and commissioned the Italian firm to fit the bodywork.
Things went very well for the company until World War II came along. With the workshop destroyed by allied bombers, Pinin Farina, now joined by his son Sergio, had to start from scratch, yet did so passionately. In 1945 he designed the Cisitalia 202, a car that would become his breakthrough. This beautiful little coupe oozed speed and elegance and was even incorporated in the 1951 Museum of Modern Art presentation called “Eight Automobiles.”
This attracted recognition in the United States for Pinin Farina and also drew the attention of Nash Motors, resulting in the mass volume of some of the designs he made for that company, and also establishing the brand internationally. Nineteen fifty-one was an important year for Pinin Farina because of an important meeting that took place in a restaurant halfway between Turin and Modena. There, a partnership that would last more than six decades was formed: Enzo Ferrari was ready to entrust the design of his cars to Farina.
This partnership resulted in some of the most beautiful cars ever made, and Pininfarina became a brand in its own right and continued to grow. In 1961, the president of Italy officially gave permission to Battista to change his last name to Pininfarina, and the company did the same. Today, Pininfarina is more than just a car designer; it also designs consumer electronics and yachts. Even buildings are being (co-)developed by the company.
Importantly, Pininfarina is also a car brand in its own right, with the all-electric Battista as its modern calling card. And it is this car that inspired the new Bovet Battista Tourbillon.
Bovet and Pininfarina: a sensible collaboration
I have a strong opinion about partnerships between watch brands and other companies. These rarely work out as intended, often because the “DNA” of both parties is not compatible enough. Bovet and Pininfarina have already proven over a decade that they aren’t subject to such a mismatch.
What started with the Pininfarina Tourbillon Ottanta to celebrate the design company’s eightieth anniversary in 2010 has become an intimate partnership resulting in some very compelling watches.
It is not that easy to describe Bovet as a brand. While classically inclined in terms of design, it is also among one of the most modern brands around. Bovet doesn’t shy away from new materials and is always willing to push the (mechanical) envelope a bit further.
While the house of Bovet was officially founded on May 1, 1822, its current renaissance takes place thanks to Pascal Raffy, who revived the brand in 2001. In less than two decades, he has turned the brand into one of the most respected names of haute horlogerie.
Bovet has always been very loyal to its own design code, and the beauty is that this also includes the collaborations with Pininfarina. From that very first watch more than a decade ago, this partnership has resulted in timepieces that can best be described as high-performance sports cars for the wrist. While they incorporate modern materials and design, there is an instantly recognizable Bovet look to them.
This is quite an achievement as these watches represent the sportiest side of Bovet. But then again, there is a reason that even Enzo Ferrari trusted Pinin Farina with the design of his cars.
The Pininfarina Battista is wired
The Pininfarina Battista is the inspiration for the latest collaboration between the two brands. This all-electric car marks a significant moment in Pininfarina’s history, too: it is the very first time that the company has introduced an automobile under its own name.
The Pininfarina Battista was first shown to the public at the Geneva Autosalon in 2019, making some waves as it is one of the first electric hyper GTs. It treats its owners to mind-blowing performance thanks to four motors offering a combined power output of 1,400 kW/1.877 hp, and an astonishing 2,300 Nm of torque. That is enough to propel the Battista to 100 km/h in under two seconds; 300 km/h appears on the speedometer in less than 12 seconds.
While cars like this often remain in the prototype stage, the Battista is becoming a reality for 150 future owners, with first deliveries scheduled for later this year. The car is not only unique due to its looks and performance, but also offers a new approach to luxury as owners are invited to customize their Battistas to match their personal styles.
The options are nearly endless as Pininfarina offers 128 million (that’s not a typo) options for the interior and materials alone. This makes it highly unlikely that the company will ever make two identical Battistas.
Making a watch to match such a car is a daunting task, but one that only seems to have excited the people at both Bovet and Pininfarina.
Bovet Battista Tourbillon: proportions and design
One of the first things that struck me was the size of the Battista Tourbillon. With a diameter of 45.6 mm, this watch is clearly not following recent trend toward smaller watches. Yet neither Bovet nor Pininfarina are brands to choose size without good reason.
Here, every millimeter is put to good use. Even more importantly, the overall proportions are well balanced. The height of the watch is a relatively modest 11.95 mm, and the Vendôme-style lugs ensure excellent wearing comfort. With these details in place, the owner may enjoy a larger timepiece without many of the disadvantages that size might bring.
It also gives Pininfarina the perfect environment in which to do what this company does best: design greatness. The Battista Tourbillon is, in that matter, slightly different from previous models: it puts more emphasis on the car it was inspired by and Pininfarina’s heritage.
The asymmetrical subdials, a first in Bovet’s history, feature the Triangolo pattern, which also prominently decorates the brand’s Super GT. A distinctive Pininfarina feature is the collaborative flags icon, which decorates the power reserve indicator here and features the signature Lotus flower of Bovet on one flag and the “F” for Pininfarina on the other. Even the signature of Pininfarina’s founder is present, located just above the large date display on the other subdial.
There are more details referring to its automotive counterpart on the tourbillon cage. Bovet skillfully crafted the cage to resemble the Impulso wheels of the Battista with a ring indicating the seconds maintaining the practical use of the timepiece.
Thanks to a back and front made of sapphire crystal and very thin bezels, plenty of light flows into the watch. It will be available in three different versions, with 30 pieces in polished titanium, 30 in red gold, and an additional 30 in platinum. These numbers also make the Bovet Battista Tourbillon even more exclusive than the car it was named after.
Bovet Battista Tourbillon: a mechanical powerhouse
A good-looking watch becomes a great watch when the movement is also of tantalizing quality. As this is a Bovet, there is little to worry about in this matter and all the more to enjoy. With more than 400 components, the caliber features a very generous power reserve of ten days from a single mainspring barrel.
Winding such a movement would normally be a relatively long task, but ingenuity makes life easier: to prevent it from becoming a chore, Bovet has added its patented spherical winding. Visible at 12 o’clock, this allows the movement to be fully wound in half the number of turns it would have needed without it. Alongside the oversized date and the tourbillon, the exquisite finishing makes this watch such a delight to admire.
With over a decade of collaboration under their belts, Pininfarina and Bovet have proven the synergy between the two brands. While the Battista car may be a new chapter for Pininfarina, the Battista Tourbillon continues the previous work accomplished with Bovet. It has now become tradition, a concept both Pininfarina and Bovet are very familiar with.
All that is left now is to wait for a chance to drive the Pininfarina Battista with Bovet’s latest tourbillon on my wrist: that would be the experience of a lifetime!
For more information, please visit www.bovet.com/Timepiece/battista.
Quick Facts Bovet Battista Tourbillon
Case: 45.6 x 11.95 mm, polished titanium, red gold, or platinum; sapphire crystal display back, water resistance 30 meters
Movement: manually wound Caliber 16BM01TVGD with patented flying one-minute tourbillon, ten-day power reserve, patented spherical differential winding system, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; large date, power reserve indicator;
Limitation: 30 pieces in each type of metal
Guarantee: 5 years
Price: 285,000 Swiss francs (polished titanium); 320,000 (red gold or platinum)