There is a bit of collaboration fatigue in the Swiss watch world these days, but Bovet has bypassed the usual car, art or even wine affiliations for a different kind of partnership: ultra prime real estate.
The Swiss independent watchmaker has teamed up with the OWO Residences, in the building known as the Old War Office in London’s Whitehall district which opened in September. In addition to the residences, the building, renamed as the OWO, also includes a Raffles hotel.
Its owners, Hinduja Group of Mumbai and Onex Holdings of Dubai, spent about a billion pounds (about $1.28 billion) on a six-year restoration that created 120 rooms and suites and 85 luxury residences, ranging from 441 square feet to 7,700 square feet in size.
Buyers of the 10 most expensive residences — including the penthouse, which has a wraparound terrace and views of Buckingham Palace and the Thames — will receive a special edition Bovet watch celebrating the landmark building’s history and restoration.
Completed in 1906, the Edwardian-era building was used by the British military for decades, with Winston Churchill working and living there as secretary of state for war from 1919 to 1921. Later, the intelligence services had their headquarters there too, with members including Ian Fleming, the British naval intelligence officer who created James Bond. (Five of the 007 movies, including the 2012 “Skyfall,” were filmed there.)
Pascal Raffy, Bovet’s owner, met members of the Hinduja Group by chance during the Formula 1 race in Monaco in 2022 and said he was struck by their commitment to the project. The collaboration came together “very smoothly and simply,” Mr. Raffy said in a phone interview, adding that he was drawn to “the idea of doing something together that was valuable, precious, handcrafted — knowing that these are the same assets of the house of Bovet for more than 200 years.”
Using its 19Thirty model with a 42-millimeter case as the starting point, Bovet decorated the dial with the dark blue and gold lacquer pattern echoing the building’s Rose Ceiling, above the building’s main staircase. The 18-karat red gold case was hand engraved with the egg and dart pattern that features on moldings throughout the property. And a marble shell motif, visible on the hotel’s fireplaces and moldings, adorned the watch’s bow at 12 o’clock. (The bow is a nod to Bovet’s history as a maker of pocket watches.)
Mr. Raffy said he believed that the watch, with a seven-day power reserve, would work for both black-tie events and “very casual” wear.
The timepiece also has a nod to Churchill. The case back is engraved with a version of a quote attributed to him: “We Shape Our Dwellings, and Afterwards Our Dwellings Shape Us.”