Edouard Bovet

dit Le Chinois

  • Né en 1797 - Fleurier
  • Décédé en 1849 - Fleurier , à l’âge de 52 ans
  • Horloger et entrepreneur



Jean Frédéric Bovet   ? ?
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Edouard Bovet , dit Le Chinois 1797-1849



The Bovet family was responsible for Fleurier's specialisation on the Chinese market. Edouard learns his trade in Fleurier. In 1814, in opposition to Neuchâtel's return to Prussian rule after the fall of Napoleon, he leaves Fleurier with his brothers Alphonse and Frédéric to work as a watchmaker in London -then the centre of Europe's watch trade and manufacture.

  • 1818: Edouard Bovet's employer, the Magniac company, sends him as watch repairer to Canton, the only Chinese port open to Western trade.
  • 1822 Edouard Bovet, now living in Canton, founds a partnership company for the China watch trade with his two brothers in London, Alphonse and Frédéric, and his third brother Gustave, watchmaker in Fleurier. The charter of the company is drawn up in London on May 1. Business booms, and the company quickly transfers production to Fleurier.

    The flourishing watch trade with China prompted Edouard Bovet to set up on his own in 1822: he founded a general partnership with the two brothers in London, Alphonse and Frédéric, and his third brother Gustave, watchmaker in Fleurier. Soon every first class watch in China with a high practical value and elegant exterior was simply called "Bovet". Pearl ornamentation and enamel miniature painting carried out in Geneva on Bovet watches ensured first class aesthetics at prices that, in contrast to the exaggerated luxury watches of the time, were affordable, at least for the upper class. Like most manufactures producing Chinese watches Bovet also produced lower end pocket watches for the Cantonese general public.

    • 1824 Edouard's fourth and youngest brother, Charles-Henri Bovet, becomes a partner in the family company and joins Edouard in Macao.
    • 1830 Edouard Bovet returns to Fleurier in triumph with his "Chinese" son, Edouard-Georges, born in Macao in 1826.
    • 1831 Edouard Bovet takes part in December's abortive Republican revolt against the king of Prussia for independence as a full Swiss canton. Fleeing the king's troops as they occupy the Val-de-Travers, he goes to Besançon in France, where he continues Fleurier watch production with other exiled watchmakers. * 1836 Louis Bovet, son of Gustave, takes over the management of the business and then joins his uncle Charles-Henri in Canton.
    • 1840 Frédéric Bovet returns from London to Fleurier and manages the watchmaking workshops. The business now employs nearly 175 people and, on November 15, the Bovet brothers re-establish their trading company, Bovet Frères et Cie, in Fleurier, bringing the registered capital to a million francs. Charles-Henri Bovet, back from China, faces jail for his Republican views and has to leave the country.
    • 1843 Alphonse Bovet returns to Fleurier to help Frédéric and their sister Caroline manage the business.
    • 1845 Fritz Bovet, Alphonse's eldest son, goes to China. As a musician (known for playing his violin with the enthusiasm of a Paganini) he studies Chinese music and transcribes tunes for music boxes made in Sainte-Croix, Geneva and the Vallée de Joux for the Chinese market. He later became the French vice-consul.


    * History of the Bovet Fleurier Companies * Wikipedia