Remember the extravagant and aptly named Rolls-Royce Boat Tail Convertible? One of the car’s exclusive features is that the dashboard has a compartment to place the specially crafted Bovet 1822 watches made for the couple who owns the car (in lieu of the usual analog clock that you’d normally see in other Rolls-Royces).
Well, for the horologically inclined, we can finally take a closer look at the pair of bespoke timepieces. Made as his-and hers watches, these reversible time-tellers are housed in Bovet’s patented Amadeo case that allows the watches to be worn on the wrist, be used as desk clocks, function as pocket watches, double as necklace pendants, or be placed front and center in the compartment of the Boat Tail.
These two watches have an 18-karat white gold case, both 44mm in diameter and with a 14mm thickness. The gentleman’s watch is finished in a high polish, while the lady’s watch has been intricately engraved and filled with lacquer to embellish the case.
The front dials both have the same Caleidolegno veneer that can be seen on the deck of the Boat Tail. And you can see the names of the couple finished within the dials. Rounding out the bottom part of the dial, you’ll find the Spirit of Ecstasy (crafted from gold) on the tourbillon bridge.
For the rear dial, things get a little more interesting. The gentleman’s watch has an aventurine dial that shows the celestial arrangement of the night sky “over the place of his birth on his birthdate,” while his wife’s piece has a miniature painting of a bouquet of flowers on a mother-of-pearl dial. You’ll also see a hand-engraved miniature depiction of the Boat Tail with complete details, and it is specially lacquered to match the color of the actual car.
There’s a bespoke 60-second tourbillon keeping things ticking, with a generous five-day power reserve. They know that these watches will be displayed on the dashboards of their respective cars, so it’s imperative that these stay wound for as long as possible.
Tourbillons are high-end complications made from many components. They are considered to be quite fragile, so Bovet had to utilize pivots instead of traditional ball bearings, a heavier balance wheel, and increased oscillation to help reduce the potential impact of vibrations from the car, and also to aid in maintaining accuracy.
As for the dashboard holder, Bovet worked with Rolls-Royce to ensure that the holder would reduce vibrations as much as possible—making sure that the system’s moving parts are external, while the holder is completely solid, ensuring the timepiece can operate without any problems (and should be secure and easy to mount and unmount).
Should the couple choose to not exhibit their watches, they can cover the compartment up with an engraved and lacquered display plaque.
All of this took Bovet a conservative estimate of just around 3,000 hours to complete the task. We still don’t know who commissioned the Boat Tails and these magnificent watches, but we’re quite glad to see companies partake in projects like these.