Bovet Fleurier

To know Pascal Raffy is to know what it means to have passion so great that it is contagious. The owner and founder of Bovet Fleurier, originally founded in 1822 and then reinvented in 2001 has the demeanor of the Swiss and a heart for horological brilliance. Making his fortune in pharmaceuticals, Raffy turned his priorities to family and his passion for watches. He made the decision to breathe new life into the brand that needed not only money to survive, but also direction.

Bovet produces a mere 2000 to 3000 timepieces annually, but each piece is produced as a masterpiece, ornate in style, complicated movements, tourbillons, with detailed engraving and miniature enamel painting. While some would say the brand designs are odd, somewhat eccentric, it is a matter of opinion and there is a loyal group of collectors that love the brand and support the timepieces. There is a strong connection with the brand and China, so much so that ‘watch’ in Mandarin is a derivation of ‘Bovet’ itself. There is a history for sure between the brand and China and it has even been documented in a book.

The book tells the history of the founder in 1818 leaving London and traveling to Canton where he sells four of his timepieces, which today would be equivalent to about one million dollars. The relationship was born, and four years later with Edouard the founder in China, his brothers in London and another brother, a watchmaker in Switzerland they all worked together to build the brand House. The brand struggled with the war, the knock-offs, and the competition, all taking its toll and forcing the founder to sell off the manufacture and marque. Trading hands many times over the years, the trademark had not released a new timepiece since the 1950’s prior to Raffy stepping in.

Raffy understood the deals with China and why sales there is a perfect fit. While the historic connection to China is not your standard Swiss watchmaking sales points, it is a smart move and one that Raffy pursued. The philosophy of the Bovet brand is quality, not quantity, and that doesn’t change due to presence in China. While growing sales there, we are not a fast food watch maker, we work to sell quality, excellence, and exquisite timepieces.

The sales in China are dependent on collections and collectors, but hover around 20 to 25 percent. Raffy said he doesn’t want to be relying on any one region of the world, he wants to be equally respected and have a balance that keeps the brand performing with elegance, not worrying about producing more, but producing sought after pieces. The sales the brand sees around the globe is weighted toward the women’s collections to the tune of about 40 percent, and 30 percent in China. It is a nice balance for gender, much like that of our global collectors.

The House of Bovet has done an amazing job of sharing Swiss culture with mainland China and promotes diversity and being open to other cultures. Learning to embrace other cultures and opening your mind to ideas is the way you grow, it keeps you from becoming stagnate and keeps you fresh with passion as well as drives you for more. The plans for the brand are to continue to grow over the next five years, but not at the expense of quality as quantity is not the answer. Luxury and exclusivity come in small numbers, and keeping that is the key to becoming better. The brand will continue to impress, because they are working with wisdom, truth and excellence in what they do.