or the first time ever, two tourbillon timepieces from Bovet 1822 have been engineered, designed, and developed in parallel with the production of a coachbuilt Rolls-Royce. Using the revolutionary and patented Amadeo system, these timepieces can transform from a wristwatch to a pocket/pendant watch to a desk clock and... that’s right, a dashboard clock.
Born in the mind and heart of a Rolls-Royce and Bovet 1822 collector, the concept was to design and produce a bespoke Rolls-Royce and two unique Bovet 1822 timepieces, one for himself and one for his wife, that go hand in glove. Three years in development, Bovet 1822 and Rolls-Royce accomplished something never realized before in either industry.
As the mechanical tourbillon timepieces are meant to be mounted in the car as dashboard clocks, this changed the development completely as now they had to be considered part of the car. As a result, the holder and timepiece — all 51 components engineered and manufactured by Bovet — had to be tested like any other part of the car for vibration, security, safety, and more. No other timepiece has ever undergone such scrutiny and testing – up to and including crash tests.
Bovet 1822 was challenged to develop timepieces that could be worn on the wrist and instantly converted into dashboard clocks, mounted into a special holder that slots into the car itself. "As a long-time Rolls-Royce owner and lover, I am particularly pleased to have an opportunity to work on such a special bespoke project,” explains Pascal Raffy, owner, Bovet 1822.
The engineers, designers, watchmakers, and artisans at Bovet 1822 went above and beyond to personalize these exceptional timepieces for the clients, integrating their wishes and key elements of the coach-built car itself, and even realizing one-off movements. On top of this, both of the timepieces are able to be placed into a display mount designed specifically for this purpose, effectively making them part of the car and subject to the norms of automobile production standards.
“I am so proud of the Bovet 1822 team, who worked in tandem with the elite design team of Rolls-Royce, to produce something spectacular,” Mr. Raffy continues. “The owners of the coach-built car and these bespoke timepieces are dear friends of mine and valued collectors of Bovet 1822, so it was important to do the very best for them — two completely unique pieces that are unlike anything we have ever done before.”
For Rolls-Royce, this introduction is a return to the marque’s illustrious past. “This marks a seminal moment for the House of Rolls-Royce. We are proud to unveil to the world the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail and with it the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within our future portfolio,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce.
“Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. In the contemporary Rolls-Royce narrative, it has been informed by our guiding philosophy of Bespoke. But it is more, much more. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand. It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique, personal commissions of future historical significance.
“Rolls-Royce has carefully listened to its closest clients who have expressed their interest in deepening their relationship with the brand by creating ambitious, personal statements of true luxury,” he continues. “Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is not a concept created to be retrospectively sold to clients. Quite the contrary. Rolls-Royce believes in complete authenticity and Boat Tail is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with our most special clients.”
The two brand have come together to re-imagine Rolls-Royce’s iconic centerpiece, the dashboard clock. The result is an accomplishment never before realized in either industry. Two fine reversable timepieces, one for the lady and one for the gentleman, have been designed to be worn on the wrist, used as a table clock, pendant or pocket timepiece, or placed front and center within the Boat Tail’s fascia as the motor car’s clock.
The holder mechanism, designed completely by Bovet, started from a blank sheet of paper, as nothing like this had ever been produced before. The designers and engineers in Bovet focused on adapting the patented Amadeo convertible system, which was introduced in 2010 and is tried and proven, as the base of the system. The timepieces, the holder, and the Boat Tail car were being designed at the same time, so there were many moving parts to this story.
Adding to this was the requirement by Rolls-Royce that the system be developed and mounted into the dashboard at the exact time the interior of the car was finished, as no one wanted to have to open up the dashboard later. There was a tremendous amount of back and forth between Bovet and Rolls-Royce. So many things had to be taken into consideration – any vibration from the car had to be isolated from the timepieces or compensated for, no noise could emit from timepieces, and the system had to be simple, easy to use, and, above all, safe and secure.
From the start, Bovet was determined to accomplish this project in a purely mechanical way, in keeping with its commitment to its in-house, Swiss Handcrafted production. As a result, the engineers and designers had to devise new solutions as they were encountering challenges that they never saw in watchmaking.
The solution they chose was to keep all the mechanical parts of the system on the outside of the dashboard. Usually in anything similar, the fixation system never moves, and the movable piece just slots in, like sliding a CD into a CD player. Here it is exactly the opposite – in the dashboard is simply the place for the holder, which is equipped with all the mechanical pieces. In addition, a special drawer was designed and produced as well, using the same leather as the seats in the Boat Tail. This holds the timepieces, the straps, the chain, the pendant, when not in use.
This drawer slides into the dash as well, neatly and cleanly keeping everything in place and secure. Should the timepiece not be mounted in the holder and put into the dashboard, there is a special laser-engraved and lacquered display plaque in its place, to complete the aesthetic of the dashboard.