The Art of Decoration

The Art of Decoration

At the dawn of the 19th century, when Edouard Bovet manufactured his first watches, he straight away took great pains over their decoration. Cases and movements were adorned with gems, pearls, miniature paintings in Grand Feu enamel, and engravings.

The House of BOVET quickly became a reference in terms of the decorative arts. Indeed the Emperor of China was one of the earliest collectors and today many BOVET watches remain part of the priceless heritage of the Forbidden City. While the business activities of the House of BOVET had their beginnings in China and Edouard Bovet at the time had the clear-sightedness to manufacture watches specifically for the Middle Empire, the fame of the “Bovets of China”, as they were then called, spread rapidly to other continents. The popularity enjoyed by Edouard Bovet and the legitimate place which his creations now occupy in museums the world over are no chance phenomena. He took the watchmaking arts to the pinnacle of refinement.

In addition to precious stone setting and enamel work, engraving is omnipresent throughout Bovet’s history and every different technique is mastered and employed. In the engraving of his movements Edouard Bovet introduced a hitherto unknown level of detail. Under his impulse, the decoration of movements became much more subtle and, in a bold new step, every possible surface was engraved to compose veritable three-dimensional masterpieces. The results, both convincing and original, led Edouard Bovet to reveal his engraved movements to the naked eye by incorporating the first transparent case-backs in his designs.

More than 190 years later, BOVET is preserving the future of watchmaking’s decorative arts, a field in which many skills were otherwise destined to disappear forever. This heritage and the exceptional expertise built up over two centuries of watchmaking activity are illustrated in the contemporary designs of the House of BOVET, which continues tirelessly to innovate in keeping with tradition.


Hand engravings are therefore present on all movements contained in BOVET watches. Heirs to the expertise of their predecessors and loyal to the history of the House, the artisans employed today by BOVET are able to decorate every part of a watch where such work is technically possible, regardless of the chosen motif and engraving technique. Dials, flanges, case-bands, bezels and bows are therefore frequently decorated. BOVET gives every collector the chance to personalize their timepiece with a specific decoration  and create for them unique watches. In terms of engraving, the possibilities of individualizing a watch are virtually endless: simple text (name, initials or date), decorative motifs or figurative engravings are just some of the choices and themes available.

“Fleurisanne” engraving is the decorative pattern featured most often on BOVET watches of the 19th century. Today, it remains the most sought-after by collectors, whether for decorating a dial, a case, or the bridges of a movement. However, following the example of Edouard Bovet, whose creativity has lost none of its power to impress, Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET 1822 and DIMIER 1738, regularly proposes new ideas.

More than 190 years after its foundation the House of BOVET underlines its supremacy in the decorative arts of watchmaking, successfully innovating in perfect harmony with its tradition. A virtuosity greatly appreciated by collectors, since nearly a third of the three thousand or more timepieces manufactured annually by BOVET are unique watches.