We talk to Pascal Raffy of Bovet Timepieces about the bespoke Fleurier timepieces created for the couple that owns the 2022 Rolls-Royce Boat Tail : Time & Tide
Singapore - As one moves up the hierarchy of luxury, time becomes even more of an interesting construct, because it is ‘time’ you’re really buying – that of yours and the artisans – as opposed to mere products.
Your time is precious, yet you’re in an enviable position to stop, smell the flowers and appreciate the finer things life has to offer, which often includes things that aren’t ‘off-the-shelf’.
Many people mistakenly think money is about instant gratification, simply because they think it can buy other people’s immediate attention.
On the other hand, some reckon the true meaning of luxury is never having to buy off-the-rack, because ready-to-consume luxury is a dichotomy on several levels.
The real indulgence is being able to wait for what you want, because that is the price for something that is yours and yours alone.
And what happens when personalising an existing Rolls-Royce isn’t enough to pander to your sense of individuality?
You commission a coach-built Boat Tail, that’s what, complete with matching His/Her timepieces from the House of Bovet that fit perfectly into the car’s centre fascia.
We’re at the Rolls-Royce showroom to meet watch enthusiast and Rolls-Royce aficionado, Pascal Raffy, the spry fifty-something owner (and custodian) of the Bovet brand since 2001.
As a friend of the collector couple who commissioned the Boat Tail with Rolls-Royce, he was asked to create matching timepieces for the couple that would fit perfectly into the dash fascia of the Boat Tail.
“The Boat Tail is a momentous achievement that can be appreciated in the lines, curves, details, painting, engineering and the decoration of every detail. The collector couple are exquisite people who have a true understanding of what luxury should be, especially in terms of the car’s details and for the timepieces when we first started this journey four years ago!” Pascal tells us.
He continues, “I love how the couple brought the two houses of Rolls-Royce and Bovet together. Things can’t be forced and have to come about naturally, because it is all about the encounter of human beings and for this I have to thank the couple who brought Bovet together with a car marque I have loved for decades. Thanks to the human dimension, the respect and the reciprocity, Bovet’s collaboration with Rolls-Royce has been a smooth journey, even in spite of the great technical challenges (related to vibrations, humidity and magnetism, weight and crash tests)."
"When the energy is positive everybody surpasses expectations in terms of skills and will, but in a very harmonious way. With such close collaboration, I need to understand and feel people, to see that there are shared values. The experience (with Rolls-Royce) has been magical,” Mr. Raffy says.
In many ways, Bovet shares a kinship with Rolls-Royce in that both brands do not follow the fickle winds of fashion. “You have to be proud of your roots, defend your roots. Any evolution must be logical and sustainable. Fashion is ephemeral, but tradition lasts. However, tradition has to be substantial and possess ‘depth’,” he explains.
“From the weight limit (maximum 200g) to the movement, then decorating part of it using the same wood that is used in the Boat Tail, hand-engraving the Spirit of Ecstacy (this takes one engraver one week to complete) and the relief of the car on the watch-back, our feeling was to please both the couple, as well as the Rolls-Royce team. When you take a magnifying glass to the timepiece, you will realise it truly is the Boat Tail, right down to the painting of the car itself. For the lady, we’ve created a symbolic beautiful flower bouquet, hand-painted through a microscope, and for the gentleman, it is a star chart of the planets as seen on the day, time and place of his birth.”
People often miss the forest for the trees when they focus only on the price-tag and not the experience and emotion of owning a piece of luxury.
Pascal explains, “Luxury for me is related to two words: ‘education” (to appreciate) and ‘emotion’ (to feel).You don’t sell a Bovet timepiece, you ‘transmit’ it.”
“Whenever we present a bespoke, very high-end Bovet timepiece to the client, I look out for that little smile when they use a magnifying glass to inspect the exquisite details. Every Bovet has to be balanced, beautiful, valuable and matching the taste of the people and this is why we’re as bespoke as the house of Rolls-Royce,” he says.