MAN OF THE MO­MENT: TICK­ING TURNS

As owner and CEO of Bovet, Pas­cal Raffy knows a thing or two about mak­ing a good watch. But, as a col­lec­tor him­self, his take on cre­at­ing ex­quis­ite time­pieces is framed through the eyes of an afi­cionado.

The Peak (Hong Kong) - - Contents - STORY GLORIA FUNG

Bovet watch’s Pas­cal Raffy shares his pas­sion for cre­at­ing and col­lect­ing time­pieces

O wner and CEO of Bovet Pas­cal Raffy has a deep un­der­stand­ing about watches be­yond that of a watch­maker; him­self a col­lec­tor, he shares his take on cre­at­ing ex­quis­ite time­pieces through the eyes of an afi­cionado. What in­spired you to ac­quire Bovet in 2001? Some­thing that in­ter­ests me be­yond watch­mak­ing is in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions – to be able to open my mind to other cul­tures and to make my­self more open. I was in law then in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, but I was al­ways a watch col­lec­tor. [Af­ter a while] I wanted to go back to my first pas­sion, which is the art of watch­mak­ing.

What is it about watches that cap­ti­vates you? Fine watch­mak­ing is one of the only true real lux­u­ries in the world. It’s an art that keeps chal­leng­ing the skills and the minds of ar­ti­sans and watch­mak­ers. The unique­ness of time­pieces at the very top tiers of fine watch­mak­ing is what I find fas­ci­nat­ing.

How then do you de­fine your take on lux­ury watch­mak­ing? Not just in watch­mak­ing, but also in the lux­ury con­sumer world, we of­ten con­fuse over­ex­po­sure with hav­ing a clear, sin­gu­lar iden­tity. The qual­ity you find in true lux­ury isn’t, and shouldn’t, but some­thing you can find any­where and ev­ery­where. There needs to be a sense of ex­clu­siv­ity and that’s achieved with fine hand­crafts­man­ship, where we sim­ply do not have the ca­pac­ity to cre­ate [large num­bers] of what we make.

What do you strive to cre­ate when you set out to make a new watch? I don’t think about what can or can­not be done. If I want to cre­ate a watch, even the most com­pli­cated piece like The Amadeo Sys­tem [Bovet’s adapt­able con­fig­u­ra­tion case], I know we can make it hap­pen. It might take many years of ded­i­cated at­ten­tion from our watch­mak­ers, but I will make it hap­pen. The im­pos­si­ble is not pos­si­ble for us. And I only ever want to make pieces that please me first and fore­most, mak­ing pieces that I want to make and to own, from a col­lec­tor’s per­spec­tive.

As a col­lec­tor who’s evolved to be­come a watch­maker, how has the size of your col­lec­tion changed? Are you still buy­ing as many pieces as you were be­fore? If a time­piece catches my at­ten­tion and sur­prises me, I will add it to my col­lec­tion. But I have to say, not many pieces have that ef­fect on me now be­cause I feel there is a lack of gen­uine cre­ativ­ity and risk tak­ing.

What are your thoughts on the tour­bil­lon trend and where that’s headed? I think it’s still a great achieve­ment for any watch­maker to cre­ate a tour­bil­lon. But the com­pli­ca­tion has be­come a gim­mick over the years. Mak­ing it wear­able and ap­peal­ing ap­pear­ance-wise is still im­por­tant and a chal­lenge. I think the value in the tour­bil­lon is to see it as a piece of art, and not just an item for sale.

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