Bovet Saguaro History
Edouard Bovet, the son of Jean-Frederic Bovet, was born in Fleurier in 1797. As the son of a master watchmaker, the younger Bovet was inspired to become a watchmaker in his own right and completed his apprenticeship in 1814 and departed for London. As one of Europe’s most prestigious watchmaking cities, London was also a major trading and commerce center for watches and clocks.
After a voyage to Canton that landed him four sales that catapulted him into extravagant wealth, Bovet established a watchmaking partnership along with his three brothers with the aim of trading watches with China. In 1822, the company moved their manufacturing facility back to Fleurier.
When Edouard Bovet died in 1849, he had created a monopoly in China and all watches in the so-called Celestial Empire were synonymous with Bovet. The watches were considered an unofficial currency in the country for the purposes of trade.
The company continued under the guidance of his nephew, Fritz Bovet, and successfully invented a single push chronograph allowing for measurements of up to 24 hours. This allowed use of the chronograph as a second time zone.
The modern Bovet expanded into Geneva, New York, London, and Bombay, but currently employs only 150 people and produces 2,000 watches a year.
A tradition unheard of in the watchmaking industry is that of Bovet’s individual detail in every watch. Artisans are nearly independent in their creation of the watch elements, spurring creativity and ingenuity. The original designs often sell for over $300,000 for the most decorative models. The Chinese watches were originally sold in pairs – a mahogany box held two similar watches that served a dual purpose: good luck to the buyer and also to serve as a functional backup in case one needed repairs. Repairs of the original models sometimes took up to six months to complete due to the intricate and beautiful designs.
Adorned with skeletal views and beautiful movements mimicking a clock, Bovet’s were the first watches to embrace this design approach.
When the company resumed watchmaking in the 1990s, their unique style and elements returned. Lugs in a pocket watch style, high-quality enameling, engraving, and a seven-day self-winding tourbillon are just a few of the elements incorporated into each modern Bovet.