The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is not just a unique car in the automotive landscape of today but also a signal that what can be defined as truly ‘bespoke’ is starting to change. Just before unveiling this one of a kind model, Rolls-Royce announced that it will now be making coachbuilt models for customers with very, very deep pockets and the Boat Tail is just the start of this new trend. However, when the car was originally shown, one accessory wasn’t introduced to us: the clock.
As it turns out, for the Boat Tail, Rolls-Royce worked in collaboration with renowned Swiss master horologists, BOVET 1822, to create two unique timepieces for the car. They are done as a pair, for the owners of the car, the gentleman and the lady deciding to remain anonymous for now. These timepieces can be used in more than one way and are truly something to behold. The two are reversible and housed in BOVET 1822’s patented Amadeo case.
That means, they can be worn on the wrist, or used as a table clock, pendant or pocket-watch, as well as being placed front and center in Boat Tail’s fascia as the motor car’s own timepiece. Both are fitted with tourbillon mechanisms to ensure perfect accuracy. The cases themselves are made of 18 karat white gold and have matching front dials with the same Caleidolegno veneer found on the aft deck of Boat Tail itself, and are finished with the owner-couples’ names. The gentleman’s timepiece is highly polished; the lady’s is ornately engraved then filled with blue lacquer.
On the reverse side, the dials are more individual. The gentleman’s features an aventurine dial with the celestial arrangement of the night sky over the place of his birth on his birth date; the lady’s is decorated with an ornate miniature painting of a flower bouquet on a mother-of-pearl dial. This design is a traditional BOVET 1822 motif, chosen by and personalized for the owner. Both reverse dials have hand-engraved Bespoke sculptures of Boat Tail, complete with wheels, door handle, mirrors and other fine details.
In watchmaking, weight is rarely an issue for a complex timepiece, but in this instance, there was a limit on the combined permissible weight of the timepieces and their holders. BOVET 1822 met this requirement by creating an entirely new 44mm white gold case. In addition, the timepieces and holders also had to be tested to automotive-industry standards for vibration and crash safety – something never previously undertaken on mechanisms of this kind.
At a conservative estimate, the timepieces’ design, engineering, sculptures, miniature painting, marquetry, bespoke movements and cases took a total of 3,000 hours to complete.