he watch world feeds on contrasting dreams. It has its head in the stars, and its eye on the loupe. While watchmaking has a direct connection with the infinite movements of the cosmos, it also needs an earthly landscape in which to flourish, soil into which it can plunge its roots, and which can nurture its artisans.
Pascal Raffy was born and brought up a long way from this world, in Lebanon. He is half German on his mother’s side, and his wife and children live in Miami. He’s cosmopolitan; he has his head in the stars, but his roots go deep. They now anchor him firmly in the Val de Travers, in the town of Môtiers, whose château he now owns.
There, on the 13th-century estate formerly owned by the illustrious Bovet watchmaking family that made their fortune in China, nestled amid the forests where Jean-Jacques Rousseau used to go for his solitary walks, overlooking the fields of Boveresse, with a view of Mont Bovet, he has infused the Bovet name with new life.
Pascal Raffy draws inspiration from the refined, ornate, decorative style of watchmaking that took root in this remote valley and conquered the imperial court of China, and, without a trace of nostalgia, revisits and distils this spirit in timepieces that are both classical and spectacular in their lacy transparency, saying as much about the soil in which they germinated as they do about the cosmos.
PASCAL RAFFY’S PARAPHERNALIA:
- 1. THE RECITAL 22 GRAND RECITAL
Featuring the sun represented by the flying tourbillon, whose carriage bridge is evocative of fiery rays, a hemispherical Earth rotating on its own axis and displaying the time on a natural 24-hour cycle, and a spherical moon orbiting the Earth in 29.53 days.
- 2. THE MADONNA AND CHILD
“This Madonna is the first Bovet watch that I was able to collect.
It dates back to 1835. I am fascinated by the exceptional quality of
this decorative art and its watchmaking refinement. Each watch
is a reflection of an era. In addition, the subject matter is particularly
close to my heart. Family is very important to me, whether
it is your immediate family or the family of all those with whom
you collaborate by sharing the same fundamental requirements.”
- 3.THE MAGNIFYING GLASS
“The magnifying glass never lies. It only tells the truth. I’ll never go
without this item. It’s too precious.”
- 4.THE CASTLE WINDOW
“The Boveresse plains, Mont Bovet... beyond these historical names
is this constantly inspiring view. The hues, shades, shapes, shadows
and highlights, everything is inspiring. Our watchmaking is
derived from this place, from this view of the land and the skies...
It is the spirit of these places that brings our decorations to life.”
- 5. “THE CHINESE WATCH” BY ALFRED CHAPUIS IN HIS WRITING CASE
“In his book The Chinese Watch, Alfred Chapuis traced the incredible
saga of the Bovet family’s success in China. This book, with
its black and white photographs, is like a treasure to me.
It outlines everything about the Bovet family’s incredible beginnings
in this small valley to their relationship with the furthest
reaches of the world. The writing case it rests upon also directly
inspired the distinctive shape of some of our cases, the Amadeo
system, which presents the watch like a book. A watch writes
out the time.”
- 6. CHESS
“The important thing is not that it sparkles, but rather that it lasts. This is a lesson we learn from chess, a game which requires strategic thinking and an awareness of time.”