Review: Bovet Dimier Récital 29 – Balancing Luxury and Restraint

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Bovet Dimier Récital 29

The Bovet Dimier line is no stranger to the watch community. Watches from the collection are known for its atypical case shape, stunning movement architecture, opulent decoration, and fascinating complications. In 2018, the Dimier Récital 22 even took home the prestigious Aiguille d’Or prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), a testament of the level of watchmaking we’re dealing with here.

For 2020, a different approach to the Dimier Récital was taken by the manufacturer. For the first time, a stainless steel model was introduced and with minimal complications. In fact, this is one of the simplest models ever created for the Dimier Récital series. Here, we bring you the low-down and our honest thoughts on the Dimier Récital 29.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

Like its predecessors, the Dimier Récital 29 features the iconic ‘writing slope’ case whereby the round case of the watch is thicker on one end than the other. This specially designed case shape isn’t merely for aesthetics but also improved legibility, with the contents of watch angled towards the wearer’s eyes (much like an actual writing slope). Measuring 42 mm in diameter and 11.6 mm in height at its thickest point, the Dimier Récital 29 is arguably the most “wearable” model of the entire collection. The fact that it is made of stainless steel (a first for the collection) makes the watch that much more appealing for daily wear. The case also features a crown at 3 o’clock set with a sapphire cabochon, as well as short downturn lugs that secure the green alligator leather strap that the watch comes with.

The ‘writing slope’ case, for the first time, is made of stainless steel. The straps are secured between the lugs via screw pins rather than the more pedestrian spring bars.

The Dimier Récital 29 boasts a partially openworked dial that should now be a familiar design element of the Dimier Récital series. The most striking aspect of the dial is the hour and minute sub-dial at 12 o’clock that is shaped like a dome. Rendered in a jade-like shade of green or sapphire blue depending on the variant, the dial is decorated with the most mesmerising guilloché motif that is reminiscent of plumage.

Bovet never disappoints when it comes to dial aesthetics. The decoration of choice this time is guilloche and lacquering.

Meanwhile, the moon phase display (or rather, dome) is located at the 6 o’clock position. Its surface is engraved to depict the actual surface of the moon and is further painted by hand with luminescent material. The result speaks for itself when the lights are dimmed.

The Dimier Récital 29 has a moon phase display that glows splendidly when the lights are off.

The double aperture overlooking the dome indicates the age of the moon, whether you are in the Earth’s northern or southern hemisphere. There is no need for a corrective tool to adjust the moon phase. The operator simply has to actuate the sapphire decorating the crown to make any correction with equal ease and safety. If that’s not impressive enough, the moon phase indicator is also accurate to within a day every 122 years.

The moon phase display on the Dimier Récital 29 is both aesthetically and technically impressive.

The rest of the watch’s visage is considered movement proper. It is worth mentioning that there is a fairly discreet power reserve indicator located just north of the balance wheel. Unlike the purely poetic nature of the moon phase display, the minimalist power reserve indicator here is purely pragmatic.

The movement is front-loaded, as it usually is with the Dimier Récital series of watches, allowing the wearer to enjoy its beauty without having to flip the watch.

The Movement

Driving the Dimier Récital 29 is a hand-wound movement developed and manufactured in-house by Bovet. It has a respectable power reserve of five days and operates at a 3Hz frequency.

The view of the movement through the sapphire crystal case back.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, there’s not too much to see through the case back except for the even perlage and straight-grained skeletonised plate. All the excitement is stored in front where the blued screws, the circular waves and the sharp outward anglage are.

A closer look reveals the intricacy of the finissage applied unto the movement parts.

The Competitive Landscape

The Dimier Récital 29 sets out to be the most versatile piece of the series and accomplishes this via two main avenues: a stainless steel case, and a manageable case size. It is also one of the least embellished models from the Dimier Récital collection. That said, the watch will still stand out like a beacon in the sea of moon phase watches available on the market thanks to its unique case shape, openworked visage, and undeniably ornate displays. Bonus points as well for being reasonably priced (for a luxury watch anyway), at CHF24,500 for either the green or blue dialed variants.

The Dimier Récital 29 wears securely on the wrist and doesn’t feel top heavy.

The Dimier Récital 29 is what many consider to be a modern design, but in truth, it retains a lot of classical aspects of watchmaking like a round case shape, a guilloched dial, and an analogue time display. For something even more departed from tradition, look no further than the MB&F MoonMachine, created in collaboration with Stepan Sarpaneva and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor. Put simply, the watch is a reconfiguration of MB&F’s HM3, rotated 90 degrees and fitted with Sarpaneva’s famous moon face moon phase indicator. The three dimensional movement is designed by Wiederrecht, powered by a Sowind base, and further modified by Sarpaneva. The MoonMachine has the very same functions as the Dimier Récital 29, but what’s not so similar is its price tag: a cool USD98,000 for every version, be it titanium or gold.

MB&F MoonMachine

Speaking of moon phase watches that are off the beaten path, one stands out by being extremely minimalist, as paradoxical as that sounds. We’re talking about the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept Vantablack. As the name and the appearance of the watch suggests, the dial is coated with Vantablack, a pigment capable of absorbing 99.975% of light that strikes it. Staring at it is akin to peering into oblivion, and it can be quite a disorienting experience. The simple hands and moon phase display (accurate to one day in over a millennium, mind you) do look terrific on it though. At around CHF35,000, the Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept Vantablack is perhaps the most interesting watch of its kind at this price point.

H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept Vantablack

Concluding Thoughts

The Dimier Récital 29 is different to its predecessors in that it is more restrained. It has got a non-precious metal case – a first – and only three functions: the time, the moon phase, and the power reserve. Is this just Bovet adapting to times? Perhaps. At any rate, the Dimier Récital 29 is an addition that makes sense. Because previous incarnations have always been more of a showpiece on the wrist; with the 29, the Dimier Récital series finally gains a timepiece that is both versatile and amenable to daily wear.

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