7 November 2021
By Joël Pynson and Sébastien Chaulmontet.
One might think that this beautiful Lowenthal chronograph from the 1930’s is a simple monopusher chronograph, as there were many in Switzerland at that time. However, a small detail on the pusher should draw your attention: there is a crenellation at the end, which actually allows to pull the pusher. This is the sign of quite rare chronographs, manufactured by Bovet Frères & Cie in Fleurier: the Bovet 4-functions.
We all know the Bovet Mono-Rattrapante chronographs that appeared in 1936 on the basis of a patent by Charles Jeanrenaud. But what is less known is that one year earlier, in 1935, Bovet, still in collaboration with Jeanrenaud, had launched a monopusher chronograph allowing the stop and restart functiuns. Bovet had called it a “chronographe 4 temps”.
Ad from 1935
On a classical monopusher chronograph there are only 3 functions: start, stop and reset of the chronograph hand. On the Bovet 4-functions chronograph, after the start one can pull on the pusher, which stops the hand, but by pushing again on the pusher, the hand starts again without passing by the reset. One can thus measure an intermediate time as on a chronograph with 2 pushers.
Crenellation at the end of the pusher
Bovet used Landeron movements of 13 and 16 lines, modified for this type of chronograph. This collaboration with Landeron was short-lived: with its Mono-Rattrapante chronograph, Bovet used a few Landeron calibers, then signed an exclusive contract with Valjoux for the famous calibre 84.
Lowenthal 4 temps chronograph. Calibre Landeron 16 lignes
Bovet 4 temps chronograph
Bovet 4 temps chronograph. Calibre Landeron 13 lignes
The expert's opinion:
These 4-functions monopusher chronographs are rare. They can be found mainly under the names Bovet and Lowenthal, or with an anonymous dial. As the trend is towards larger watches, the versions equipped with the 16-line Landeron caliber are the most coveted. Beware of the condition of the Landeron caliber: supplies are very rare. Steel or gold cases are preferable. The Bovet Mono-Rattrapante also existed in a 4-functiuns version, based on the 16-line Landeron or Valjoux, under the brands Bovet, Lowenthal or Recta.