Ben Eastick Written by Ben Eastick

Pure sugar watch dials: innovation freezes sugar in time

Having manufactured pure sugars and syrups for over 90 years, we at Ragus have seen and experienced it all when it comes to sugar. However, the latest application by Bovet 1822 is new even to us.

What is the Miss Audrey Sweet Art watch?

Bovet 1822 is famous for its unique watch materials and hand-crafted painting and innovations, but its latest design goes beyond previous developments. The new Miss Audrey Sweet Art watch is unlike anything seen before in the world of jewellery and watches, namely because it has a dial made of pure sugar crystals, preserved using a patented method that ensures the crystals remain unchanged.

How are the watch dials made of pure sugars?

Though this is the first time that sugar has been used in this way, the reason it is possible is not new at all. Put simply, it is only plausible because sugar is a natural preservative. White sugar does not go off or experience microbial spoilage for up to twenty years, providing it is stored in stable conditions. Such natural attributes intrinsically make sugar a favourable food to use in an application designed to stand the test of time.

sugar crystals on a blue background

If kept in stable conditions, crystalline white sugar does not degrade. 

There is another key likeness too. Sugar’s crystalline structure reflects light in a similar way to the jewel crystals traditionally used in high-end watches, which means it can be used as a viable alternative. But there is a crucial difference between sugar and mined diamonds – sugar is grown and refined sustainably whereas diamonds are mined unsustainably and often unethically. It can be suggested that Pandora’s recent switch to lab-created diamonds supports this because the company’s aim is to “transform the market for diamond jewellery with affordable, sustainably created products”.

Bovet 1822 Owner, Mr Pascal Raffy, claims that he has wanted to use sugar in Bovet’s watches for over twenty years. So, what has stopped him? Well, it is only within the past two years that technological advancements have allowed Bovet 1822 to develop a patented method that ensures the molecular structure of the pure sugar crystals will not degrade in extreme temperatures or lights.

The process is uniquely complex, requiring extreme precision and painstaking attention to detail. First, it takes a week to prepare the sugar crystals using the patented method. Then, each crystal must be shaped to the exact same size so that the hands of the watch can pass over them cleanly. Finally, the crystals are painted and then added to the dial by hand by a miniature painting artisan.

An evolving perception of sugar?

This latest application may be unexpected, but there is a clear message behind the use of sugar in the watch dials, with the Bovet website stating the sugar crystals represent ‘sweetness and purity’. And with a price tag of $25,000, they might also imply a connection between sugar, fashion and luxury.

This perception of sugar has often ebbed and flowed throughout history. First it was foodstuff exclusively reserved for the wealthy, then it became ubiquitous and commoditised, and has experienced various minor changes in-between.

So, should sugar be viewed as a commodity? Some sugars perhaps, but with Ragus and Bovet there is a difference – pure sugars are not commodities, they are value-added products.

Sugar innovation: creativity beyond confection

Sugar has long been used in all manner of creative ways since humans discovered the natural sweetness of cane and beet and began to cultivate them. Since then, its applications have evolved because its unique functional properties enable it to be used in what seems like a practically limitless range of applications.

From stabilising pharmaceutical products to increasing organic material in soil and making recyclable containers, sugar is unmistakably one of the most diverse and beneficial natural ingredients on the planet. This latest sugar innovation by Bovet is just another to add to the list. Nevertheless, it is exciting to see this creative development and we look forward to seeing what comes next.

Ragus has over 90 years’ experience manufacturing pure sugars and syrups for specialist applications. Contact a member of our customer services team on +44 (0)1753 575353 or to find out more about how our high-quality, consistent and natural pure sugar products can enhance your application. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, follow Ragus on LinkedIn.