Collaborations between watch and car manufacturers are many. While most of them are OK, there are a few that excel in every aspect: name, design and importance. The Maison Bovet 1822 managed to score not one but two out-of-this-world collabs: the Bovet 1822 Unique Timepieces for the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail and the Battista Tourbillon that can be the perfect accessory for the Pininfarina Battista GT electric hypercar. We are talking today about the last two products.
This article is part of the Evenings with Bovet series where I explore the Maison in all its aspects: history, artisanal and technical skills, philosophy and vision along with reviews of some important pieces. Today we start with the first review of the series, including also the fantastic automobile developed in parallel with the watch.
A match made in heaven?
Transportation and time measuring are two of the most important pillars of human evolution and development. From the ancient calendars that left behind Stonehenge or the pyramids, to the naval chronometers so important for transoceanic travels, to the pocket watches used by postal services and train companies, continuing with pilot watches and sports chronometers. So there is no surprise to see them so well linked today. While for the contemporary is more a caprice than a real necessity, due to technological advances, combining watches with various transportation means remains an important source of inspiration for both the watchmaking and the automotive world.
A personal note
Personally, I am linked with both worlds. I work in the automotive industry and write about watches. Both universes offer access to the latest innovations and bring immense joy to the inner child that had the difficult task to choose, years back, only one domain for future education. So I am one of those lucky people to combine not one but two loves on a daily basis. These two passions made it possible to enjoy my time spent with the Bovet Battista Tourbillon and with the Pininfarina Battista.
Two powerful companies worked together to bring one of the most spectacular collaborations ever made. While the two pieces made for Rolls-Royce are made especially for the owners of the Boat Tail, the Battista Tourbillon can be enjoyed by 30 collectors for approx. 300k (EUR/USD/CHF, +/- for the conversion rate and taxes), regardless of owning or not the Pininfarina hyper beast. I haven’t been so excited since Jager-LeCoultre and Aston Martin did the Amvox Transponder for the DB9 – other legends that enthusiasts should know about (the brands, the watches, the cars).
Hands-on Bovet Battista Tourbillon
“The Battista Tourbillon truly represents the Automobili Pininfarina design philosophy in small scale,” explains Luca Borgogno, Chief Design Officer, Automobili Pininfarina. “By pushing the boundaries, we reached a level of detail and design quality that has not been seen before. It makes a perfect match with the Battista itself.”
If you are not in the mood for reading the entire text, just enjoy the above hands-on video showing details of the Battista Tourbillon and the gallery at the end of the article.
Where the metal ends and the crystal starts: a vision of infinite space and freedom
The case construction of the Bovet Battista Tourbillon denotes not only thorough technical knowledge of how materials work together but also an elegant artistic sense. We can observe the evolution from the previous collaboration, the OttantaSei Tourbillon. From the industrial-oriented design to the fluid lines of the Battista hypercar. From the rigid form factor of a more concept proof to the artistic elegance inspired by automotive aerodynamics.
A subtle central caseband manufactured in superbly polished titanium (red gold or platinum) holds two large sapphire crystals hugging the metal for unparalleled transparency to reveal all the sophisticated details. The final shape measures 45.60 mm in diameter and a thickness of 11.95 mm. The watch feels light on the wrist. The revealing sapphire and the lightness of the titanium make the Battista Tourbillon a lovely presence on the wrist with smaller-than-expected wear. The video below shows exactly how my relatively small wrist (18-18.5 cm; 7-7.2 inch) handles the watch’s shape and size.
Easy to wear
The upper lugs hold the metal crown with a rubber insert. Handling the crown on the wrist is a bit inconvenient. I recommend setting and winding the watch of the wrist. The rubber strap is comfortable and very well-designed for this elegant watch. At 30m water resistance and crystal all over, I would not recommend the watch for sports activity, even if its looks are inviting.
The traditional pin buckle comes in the case material and presents the name of the brand engraved. Simple and efficient. The watch is to wear on the daily basis and offers the comfort to do so.
The Pininfarina design, the Bovet excellency in watchmaking
The dial of the Bovet Battista Tourbillon bears the signatures of both maisons. With a revealing layout, the watch offers a multitude of details for an attentive study. The dial offers all the movement’s goodies and makes the back view pale with envy. And well-chosen so, since the face is the one on focus.
The two-tone blue details feature Battista’s Triangolo pattern and are shaded from light to dark, while together forming the shape of the number “90,” a reference to the Battista Anniversario and Pininfarina’s 90-year heritage. For this, a bridge in a brushed dark grey bears the dual function of building the tail of the “9” and delimiting the 10 days power reserve indication printed in white.
Celebrating 90 years in style
The “0” of the stylised “90” anniversary symbol holds the big date indication. We find again a brushed dark grey detail bearing the Pininfarina name printed in white. Above, the Battista name in the signature style brings balance to the date aperture. The big date uses two brushed discs that will shine in the light, contributing to the shades of blue with a richer palette. The numerals are printed in white.
Looking at the picture above, one can observe that the logos of both maisons are present on top of each other. On the dial, a winged bridge, resembling Battista’s curves, and the “V” in Bovet, holds the engraved Pininfarina logo while the crystal has the Bovet 1822 logo printed in blue. Just above, it can be observed the spectacular spherical winding mechanism, also bearing the Bovet 1822 logo. The Battista Tourbillon is a statement of the Maison’s attention to detail.
Details are hidden in the time display
The time display is central using blue hour and minute hands. The odd shape of the hands is in fact a reference to the curves of the Battista hypercar’s exterior. The luminous insert will add not only legibility in low light but also cohesion in design. As indexes, for better legibility, the dial uses white luminous arrows placed on a blue circle. This detail helps the viewer to focus easier on the time reading and not get so easily distracted by the multitude of details.
The lower side of the dial is the patented two-sided flying tourbillon. Its cage is inspired by the Impulso wheels of the Battista with their centre-lock technology. Developed in-house, this section of the dial uses 104 components from the movement’s 400… The blue disc surrounding the tourbillon proudly displays the “SWISS HANDCRAFTED” print.
I particularly love the balance wheel timing weights. The 3Hz beater’s patented construction can be also observed and enjoyed on the back.
When the technical details follow the artistic shape
The two sides tourbillon is the horological detail easy to recognise. But the fans of the car will recognise another detail specific to the Pininfarina Battista electric bolide. The main structure of the movement is an abstract representation of Battista’s curves that wrap around the teardrop-shaped Goccia roof like a clamshell. The construction is organically continued to the superior lugs holding the crown, with an aperture opening to the spherical winding gears that permit double the winding from a single turn.
A blue Pininfarina logo governs the top side. Note the excellent integration of interior and exterior details (colours, shapes, finishes).
The double-sided tourbillon features a hairspring and the regulating organ manufactured in-house – a powerful achievement from an independent company. Attached at the centre of its axis and with a well-designed weight distribution of the escapement and balance-spring, the lever-arm effect and friction, are reduced so the tourbillon helps achieve a phenomenal 10 days power reserve, while looking spectacular.
On the aesthetic side, one can recognise the need for symmetry and visual balance for the construction, specific to the Bovet Maison and the rigorous exigence of Mr Raffy. As expected, the polishing, angling, teeth cutting, hardening, engraving, or decorating are all made in-house, by hand. The design is open as much as possible. Even the barrel spring is visible at a careful look. Everything is done with a keen eye for beauty but to fulfil a technical purpose.
Modern art, traditional watchmaking
The Bovet Battista Tourbillon is a beast created for pure horological joy. Even if the help of technology is unmeasurable (for us, the ones enjoying this piece ), the human touch is known and visible. A trained eye can fully enjoy the excellent work of Bovet’s artisans. I was impressed by the number of details involved in the design, the intertwining of artistic visuals with clear technical purpose, and the fluid design with precise details. Nothing is left to chance and everything is done with the sole goal of the wearer’s pleasure.
The Pininfarina Battista GT – the future looks and sounds good
Pininfarina is one of the most acclaimed maisons – beautiful designs that look towards the future. The Battista hyper grand tourer is the latest development of the prominent Italian design house. As the Battista Tourbillon, the Battista GT will be individually hand-crafted at the Pininfarina SpA atelier in Cambiano, Italy. With a high liberty towards bespoke details.
With numbers that make the Formula 1 cars pale (0 -100 km/h sub-two second sprint, and with more than 1,900 hp and 2,300 Nm torque), the Pininfarina Battista GT brings unrivalled sportiveness to the street but with 0 emissions. And since it is a GT, the automobile is capable of 500 km (310 miles) due to its 4 electric engines (one for each wheel) supplied by an impressive 120 kWh battery. The sound of the car was also designed and tuned – read more here.
While the exterior is relatively limited in the bespoke chapter, the interior offers a lot of canvas to express the collector’s desires. I spent a lot of time with Francesco Cundari, Automobili Pininfarina Director of Interior Design (picture above) talking about the almost endless possibilities presented by the interior. Colours and textures can be combined to offer the most exigent requirements. Since everything is hand built, the craftmanship is a plus when it comes to the end result.
A careful look reveals details that can be recognised on the watch and vice versa. The specific signature design language left its imprint on both products.
The future is coming. Inevitable! Two powerful maisons united for a powerful exercise of creativity. Both with the goal towards a sustainable future. Mechanical watches are, without a doubt, some of the most sustainable products. We can see countless examples of watches that survived the cruel passage of time. Pininfarina is building the Battista with electrification as the main argument. The future of luxury means the best possible products made and used in the best sustainable way.
This collaboration is an example of excellency from both worlds that need to be followed by others as well. Combining knowledge and artistic crafts for this kind of product remains the appanage of the best in the branch. Without a doubt, we can say the Bovet and Pininfarina are at the highest echelon.
Bovet Battista Tourbillon Technical Specifications
Reference Number TPINBA.001/XX/001 – Price: CHF 285’000.-
Limited edition to 30 timepieces in Polished Titanium, 30 in Red Gold and 30 in Platinum
- Calibre 16BM01TVGD
- Type: Hand-wound mechanical Haute Horlogerie tourbillon movement
- Diameter: 16 ½ ‘’’
- Frequency: 18,000 v/h
- Power reserve: 10 days, single barrel
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds on the double-sides flying tourbillon, big date, power reserve indicator
- Type: Pininfarina
- Diameter: 45.60mm
- Thickness: 11.95mm
- Material: Grade 5 Titanium and sapphire crystal
- Strap: Rubber bi-colour
- Buckle: Titanium pin buckle
- Water resistance: 30m
- Two asymmetrical blue dials forming 90 (for the Anniversary of Pininfarina), blued hour and minutes hands
- 453 – including 400 components for the movement
- Spherical winding
- Three-dimensional toothing with multiple gearing
- Double face tourbillon
- 5 years
Bovet 1822 Battista Tourbillon image gallery
Pininfarina Battista GT Gallery
About BOVET 1822
The House of BOVET artfully combines the most sophisticated high-watchmaking mechanisms with the highest craftsmanship, employing artisanal techniques such as hand-engraving, enamel work, and miniature painting, while at the same time using cutting-edge designs, colours, and materials. For nearly 200 years, the House of BOVET has handcrafted the finest timepieces, allowing collectors to experience what is the true pleasure of the luxury of time. To further ensure this excellence, owner Mr. Pascal Raffy has limited the House’s annual manufacture of handcrafted timepieces, making all components in-house, respecting Swiss artisanal processes, and reinforcing its commitment to exclusivity and uniqueness.
About Automobili Pininfarina
Automobili Pininfarina is based in operational headquarters in Munich, Germany, with a team of experienced automotive executives from luxury and premium car brands. Designed, engineered and produced by hand in Italy, the Battista hyper GT and all future models will be sold and serviced in all major global markets under the brand name Pininfarina. The new company aims to be the most sustainable luxury car brand in the world.
The company is a 100 per cent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd investment and has been named Automobili Pininfarina following the signing of a trademark license agreement between Pininfarina S.p.A. and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Pininfarina S.p.A. will take an influential role in supporting design and production capacities based on their unique 90-year experience of producing many of the world’s most iconic cars.