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.
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.