The Récital 20 Astérium® seamlessly continues the tradition set by its illustrious predecessor, reprising the characteristic shaped case to present an unprecedented mechanical display that showcases the volumes and decoration of the timepiece. What is more, the diptych now formed by these two timepieces takes us on a genuine philosophical journey to the edges of time and space. For with these timepieces, Pascal Raffy and the BOVET 1822 watchmakers invite us to explore the universe and the origins of time itself. While the watchmakers chose to soar above and offer a celestial view of our planet with its 24 time zones visible at a glance for the Shooting Star, they have returned to Earth for this masterpiece and lifted their eyes to the skies.
Time is defined by the position of the stars in the sky. Based on this undeniable fact, the night sky was chosen to play the ‘starring’ role in this new exceptional timepiece. Faithful to the underlying principles governing complication development at BOVET 1822, this sky map was designed to be functional, precise and intuitive all at once. With this in mind, the BOVET 1822 technicians opted to map out the stars and constellations visible from the Earth on a dome of translucent blue sapphire, on which they are laser-engraved before being coated in Super-LumiNova® to create a dazzling true-to life sky. To ensure utmost realism, the highest stars in the sky are depicted at the top of the dome while the lowest stars nearer the horizon appear on the periphery of the display aperture. Yet, this unrivalled exactitude in time display would count for little had Pascal Raffy and his artisans not applied the same rigor to the mechanical precision of the timepiece. To this end, they devised a sidereal calendar. The duration of a complete Earthly orbit (known as a sidereal year) is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.77 seconds, or an unchanging 365.25 days. For obvious reasons, the Gregorian calendar was obliged to round down the number of days in a year to 365 and to compensate for the remaining hours by adding an extra day every four years, giving us our leap years. While the Gregorian calendar is perfect for governing our everyday lives, it differs by 0.25 days per year from sidereal reality before resynchronizing every four years. The calendars usually employed in watchmaking – perpetual or otherwise – are all based on the Gregorian calendar, and the use of such a mechanism to drive a night sky results in a significant cumulative error when reading off the time.
The night sky and the collection of sidereal indications on the Astérium® are thus governed by an annual calendar calculated on a 365.25-day cycle to reflect the real duration of one full terrestrial orbit. Thanks to this combination of display and horological exactitude, the instantaneous position of the stars in the sky is thus displayed with unrivalled precision.
Only sixty Astérium® movements will be manufactured across all versions, including requests for unique pieces.This figure is no accident, of course: the number sixty has underpinned geometry, geography, astronomy and the measurement of time since the dawn of science.
Collectors can choose from red gold, white gold or platinum cases, which can be customized by the Manufacture’s artisans in a tradition that has distinguished BOVET 1822 for 195 years.