At the dawn of the 19th century, Edouard Bovet laid the foundations for a house that would become synonymous with fine watchmaking. Between Canton (modern-day Guangzhou) in China to London and their hometown Fleurier in the Swiss state of Neuchâtel, the Bovet family created an inventive spirit steeped in opulence and skilled craftsmanship.
Today, this appreciation for horology finds itself in the hands of another family. After Pascal Raffy acquired Bovet in 2001, he not only restored its former glory but once again turned the brand into a family affair. “My earliest memories of fine timepieces were seeing them on the wrist of my father,” shares Audrey Raffy, vice president of Bovet since 2022. “I was fascinated by them – the constant movement of the tourbillon, the sweeping second hand, the subtle movements of the cogs and springs and so on.” Her passion for haute horlogerie continued through the years. After graduating with a juris doctorate degree from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, she joined the family business, a move that felt more than natural but has certainly not been easy. “When you have the privilege of working to build your family legacy, your level of responsibility dramatically increases,” she says. “The professional and personal aspects of your life become intertwined, and the dynamic and level of involvement you must maintain in the daily operations of the business changes.”
The notion of family is a value that her father has ingrained into the house since its acquisition. “We think together, disagree together, laugh together, sometimes we travel together, but ultimately, we have a cooperative and creative relationship that is priceless.” This aversion to absolute commercialization and penchant for emotion is evident across the board, even in the partnerships that Bovet enters. “Take our collaboration with Rolls-Royce for example,” says Audrey, alluding to the creation of the first-ever retrievable dashboard clock for a collector and friend of both brands. “This partnership was born from the shared passion for excellence of two of the most iconic luxury houses in the world, and their mutual desire to create a marvel of engineering and a work of art that had never been seen before.”
The manufacturing process at Bovet also seems to mirror these values, with a focus on exclusivity. At the Château de Môtiers in Fleurier – a 13th-century castle that once belonged to the Bovet family – a small number of high-value timepieces are handcrafted by skilled artisans and watchmakers. With everything being handcrafted in-house Bovet has no desire to manufacture at an industrial scale as it prioritizes sharing its innate passion and savoir-faire with the world. As narrated by Pascal Raffy to his daughter, “True luxury is about having a clear identity, a unique and unforgettable design, limited quantities, and everything handcrafted.”
This appreciation for true luxury is something Audrey believes she has in common with the residents of Dubai, which is why she moved to the city after her graduation. “This decision came from a sincere appreciation for the region’s culture, and a strong desire to focus on Bovet’s cherished relationships with our Middle Eastern partners, such as our retail partner in the UAE, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.” She finds herself thriving in a culture that prioritizes education, respect, and family values in a way that is integral to Bovet.
Importantly, she often comes across collectors who share the passion for horology that defines the house. “I want collectors to experience the same sense of emotion and empowerment I experience every time I put my Bovet timepiece on my wrist.” While the house has a plethora of stunning timepieces to choose from, Raffy does have a personal favorite – the Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter 2 Sunshine.
“The fact that it is large and mechanically complicated has not affected the way women react to it, and the fact that it is on my wrist has not affected the way men perceive it – and that makes it very special to me,” she shares. “I feel it shows that we are no longer driven by preconceived notions and can all appreciate luxury, engineering, and art in any form.”
Photography: Vaughan Treyvellan
Style: Sarah Ruxton
Hair: Julia Rada
Makeup: Manuel Losada
Nails: Mai at Ginza Beauty Dubai
Producer: Danica Zivkovic
Production: Dinika Govender
Talent: Audrey Raffy
Style assistant: Zeina Madwar
Location: Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai