A"There is nothing Britain possesses," wrote the Emperor Quianlong to King George III, "that the Celestial Empire can possibly need." Except for one thing. Watches were the only foreign products that interested the Chinese elite.
Quianlong himself had a sizeable collection. While Britain resorted to gunboats and opium to force the Chinese market to open, it was a Swiss businessman who found the key. 21-year-old Edouard Bovet arrived in Canton in 1818 and almost immediately sold four watches for 10,000 francs - about a million US dollars today.
Edouard Bovet decided to stay in Canton, establishing a watchmaking dynasty that lasted 80 years. Very soon in China, "Bo Wei" became synonymous for a watch. In the currency turmoil of late Manchu China, BOVET watches spread throughout the country as a medium of exchange.
The high-tech ceramic case is almost impossible to scratch, and has a hardness that comes close to sapphire crystal and is unmatched by stainless steel. The cases are manufactured in solid ceramic. The protective case back is made from titanium. The watch is powered by a Swiss mechanical precision movement modified to Arctos Specifications.
BOVET perpetuates the tradition in decorative arts for its dials and movements that made its watches among the most treasured luxury objects of the 19th century.
Today workmanship, mother-of-pearl, miniatures and engraving continue to set BOVET watches apart as distinctive works of art. Miniature painting takes more than seventy hours of concentration and sixty or more firings in a kiln to distil the emotion of a portrait or the drama of a wildlife study.
Decorating a movement is also a delicate operation involving a vast array of tiny details, many of which are hidden, and all of which require a specialist's hand. Movements for the Fleurier line are richly engraved in BOVET's own fleurisanne style, sometimes enamelled and set with split pearls, whereas Sportster movements are finished in the classic Cotes de Geneve decoration with screws and rotor blued by fire.
BOVET has achieved its vertical integration in an independent and high-quality way. It owns its own hand-crafted high watchmaking Manufacture as well as a dial and gem-setting factory, both united under the name DIMIER 1738, in Switzerland.
DIMIER 1738 Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Artisanale, located in Tramelan, in the Bern Jura, develops the tourbillon movements. Over 70 craftsmen are bringing together their know-how and passion to bring to life high-qualitative movements with a high sense of detail. Each part must be fashioned and decorated according to the criteria laid down for the very peak of the timepiece segment. Nothing is left to chance.
DIMIER 1738 Manufacture de Cadrans et de Sertissage, located in Plan-les-Ouates, in the region of Geneva, houses artisan dial crafting and precious stone setting workshops. The manufacture is renowned for its original designs and traditional hand-crafting of dials as well as the meticulous hand-setting of precious stones. More than 37 artisans and craftsmen are expressing their creativity and know-how to adorn timepieces at the highest level of quality.