Paolo Pininfarina & Pascal Raffy

Bovet and Pininfarina introduce the sculptural OttantaSei

For their sixth collaboration, the Turin-based design factory and the Swiss watchmaking brand have bared the heart of the new Ottantasei to show its complexity. The transparency of the case gives access to a movement that features both Swiss technique and Italian aesthetics.

By Louis Nardin

The designers working at Pininfarina’s headquarters in Cambiano (near Turin) admit that even after eight years of collaboration with Bovet, they are still amazed by the micrometric watch scale to which they always have to readjust themselves.

However, for the creation of the Ottantasei, they imposed a new challenge upon themselves – mastering all existing watchmaking decorations and colors. Their stated objective was, above all, to work on the movement's aesthetics, which they have thus completely transcended. The new watch does not seek to hide anything! Rather, it deliberately invites you for a thorough examination since the whole point was to play with the notion of total transparency. "The Ottantasei, as well as all other timepieces created in collaboration with Pininfarina, meets the expectations of expert collectors, while fully embodying the designer brand’s style and spirit", explained Pascal Raffy, owner of BOVET 1822 and DIMIER 1738. "Its presence is hence logical and well-founded in both worlds, so there is no doubt it is here to stay”.

Bovet OttantaSei Bovet OttantaSei by Pininfarina, titanium and rose gold models

Double-sided flying tourbillon

The thin case looks like a capsule. Its sapphire walls are interlinked with a metallic skeleton available in pink gold or titanium. The claimed minimalism contrasts with the myriad details and references that adorn the movement. Like a high-performance machine, it is equipped with a patented one-minute "double-sided" flying tourbillon in which the fixing system fitted on the ball-bearing train is positioned at the center of the axis instead of holding everything by an extremity. And so, the regulator is on one side while the escapement is on the other.

Bovet (and by association Dimier) is one of those rare brands that designs and produces all its movements and escapements (including balance-springs) in-house. The Ottantasei was no exception and it is remarkably accurate – ranging between -2/+4 seconds maximum per day; i.e. less than the maximum allowed by the COSC criteria (- 4/+6). If quality is measured by the piece’s capacity to regulate energy without wasting it, losing only a minimum in doing so, then this piece is similar to a marine chronometer (360) at the lowest frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. In other words, the Ottantasei is a genuine competition chronometer that can also last the distance. Indeed, Bovet often equips its watches with particularly large power reserves. The Ottantasei is no exception with 10 guaranteed days, displayed by an old but rare system consisting of a finger running along a cone which goes up or down depending on the mainspring's tension level.

Paolo Pininfarina Paolo Pininfarina presents the Bovet OttantaSei

Filed for patent, the spherical winding system of the Ottantasei works like a planetarium and doubles the turns given to the crown to reduce the winding time by half. The practical and aesthetic system also includes a completely unexpected and astonishing three-dimensional meshing teeth – filed for a patent, too.

Light and vigorous

Light and vigorous, the caliber of the Ottantasei features no less than 34 shades of color. The Pininfarina team was absorbed by the task of seeing to each and every detail. For example, they cut the sides of the plate and bridges to remove maximum brass. They also increased the number of angles. It took them one week to decorate the movement and another one to assemble it. In reference to the history of this collaboration, the dial's hour circle is linked to the center at 6 o'clock, symbol of the sixth model the partners have created together.

Incidentally, this was extremely important for Pascal Raffy, who is famous for insisting on producing long-lasting and authentic pieces. Similarly, the Pininfarina and Bovet teams meet regularly on each side of the Alpine region to design a detailed plan to combine the most accurate time measurement and technical aesthetics. And it does pay off.

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Bovet OttantaSei by Pininfarina reviewed

By Amr SindiExpert aka the Horophile
A more integrationist approach to collaborative watchmaking: meet the Bovet OttantaSei by Pininfarina . 

OttantaSei –€“ making design real