Bovet, Girard-Perregaux and MB&F presented three superlative timepieces during the SIHH 2017 week in Geneva that provide fascinating insights into the personalities of each brand, inspired by different aspects of the universe that surrounds us.
Introduced as a “10-Day Flying Tourbillon Night Sky Annual Calendar with Astronomical Functions”, the Bovet Récital 20 Astérium invites us to “explore the origins of the universe and time itself”. With time defined by the position of the stars in the sky, the night sky with its stars and constellations as seen from the Earth is the major feature of this new timepiece, laser-engraved on a dome of translucent blue sapphire, then coated in Super-Luminova® for a true-to-life effect. To ensure maximum precision of the position of the stars, an annual calendar mechanism of sidereal length – the real 365.25 days it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun rather than the usual Gregorian 365 days with leap year adjustment – governs the night sky and sidereal indications. On the case-back, a central hand indicates the signs of the zodiac, the seasons, the solstices and equinoxes, as well as the dates and months of the annual calendar marked on the case-back bezel.
Additional features on the front of the timepiece include two double hemispheric indicators, a moon phase and equation of time indicator on one side, a power reserve and a retrograde minutes indicator on the other, while the hours pass concentrically across the night sky on a 24-hour dial that is positioned beneath the night sky and visible through the transparent sapphire.
The seconds hand is driven by the patented double face tourbillon, flying of course. Amazingly, considering the many indications, this 46 mm x 18.3 mm thick timepiece in red or white gold, or platinum, has an autonomy of 10 days with a single barrel, thanks to a patented mechanism first used in Bovet’s Récital 18 Shooting Star®.
With a precision moon phase display on its dial, the Tri-Axial Planetarium from Girard-Perregaux is also inspired by the sky, but has earthly considerations too, with a rotating globe that makes one full turn in 24 hours serving as a night and day indicator. Both complications are beautifully miniature-painted with symbolic references: the lunar disc shows the selenography of the 17th century when the telescope was invented, while the globe depicts the world as it was known in 1791 – the year of the brand’s creation. Easily adjustable with a corrector at 2 o’clock, the astronomical moon-phase indicator will need adjustment… in 122 years.
Within the pink gold case featuring a signature curved case middle, bevelled bezel and cambered lugs, the clean harmonious silver-toned guilloché dial presents the hours and minutes at 2 o’clock and the Tri-Axial tourbillon at 9 o’clock with its lyre-shaped carriage. Two domes on the three-part sapphire crystal provide rotating space for the globe and the tourbillon, with extra light from the side opening of the 48 mm diameter x 18.66 thick case (21.52 mm including the domes) to admire the hand-winding Manufacture GP09310-0001 calibre with a power reserve of 70 hours.
Previously inspired by outer space and the sky, MB&F now plunges into the sea with the Horological Machine N° 7 ‘Aquapod’. Inspired by jellyfish, the oldest multiorgan animals on the planet, older than dinosaurs and roaming the seas for 500 and possibly 700 million years, the ‘Aquapod” features a central flying tourbillon topping a concentric vertical movement architecture that brings the animal into the 21st century.
Radially symmetric like its medusa-inspired source, the HM7 ‘Aquapod’ generates power from its tentacle-like automatic winding rotor. Also symmetrical are the rings displaying hours and minutes, encircling the flying tourbillon that regulates the power generated by the rotor, transforming it into the display of time. Spherically three-dimensional, all the mechanisms of the HM7 – from the winding rotor at the bottom to the flying tourbillon on top – rotate concentrically around the centre.
And with total inspiration from the jellyfish, this timepiece glows in the dark, on the hour and minute numerals, around the movement to light up the flying tourbillon at night, and along the tentacle-like winding rotor to appreciate it in the dark. With a power reserve of 72 hours, the HM7 is available in a 53.8 x 21.3 mm case of Grade 5 titanium or 18K 5N+ red gold. While the HM7 is water-resistant to 50 meters, it is not a diver watch!