With SIHH Geneve 2014 behind us, the focus now turns to Baselworld, the world’s largest watch fair (it begins March 27). The preview I have here is of the new Blancpain Villeret, an elegant time+date watch with an eight-day power reserve and a grand feu enamel dial.
At Baselworld 2013, Blancpain introduced an intriguing watch which includes both a tourbillon and a carrousel. What makes this interesting is that both complications play a similar role in a watch — that is, to average out the effects of gravity on the watch. The tourbillon is of course the more famous and commonly seen complication of the two, but both complications require great expertise to create and as such you rarely see pieces with either complication for less than six figures. Let alone seeing both in one watch – this is, as far as I know, the first time this has been done.
Click through for video of the Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first diving piece, Blancpain this year presents the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaph. Created in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain has become among the most famous diver’s watches. The vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe presented in a 2013 includes men’s and women’s versions. This is a very distinct and great looking watch, with some excellent strap pairings, and a ceramic bezel with graduated scale in Liquidmetal® (a high-tech metal that first popped up in the Omega SMPO in 2009, but has also been used in Breguet and now Blancpain — all Swatch Group brands).
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Here are two new absolutely gorgeous watches from Blancpain:
These graceful watches in white or red gold feature mother-of-pearl detailing, decentralized hour and minute counters (@ 6 o’clock), moon phase with diamond-stars, and calendar indicated by a star-tipped serpentine blue hand. The calendar functions in a “retrograde” manner — meaning that the indicator hand “jumps” back to the first day of the month. While of course it is easy to adore the diamond studded bezel (set with 40 diamonds), don’t overlook the diamond-topped crown as well. A total of 2.021 carats!
On the back, the sapphire display back showcases a charming flower-shaped oscillating weight for the automatic mechanical movement (Blancpain calibre 2650RL).
A beautiful piece, available in choice of 36mm white or red gold case, fitted on a white leather strap.
by Kyle Stults on March 13, 2012
An interesting new piece from Blancpain — and a reflection on the attention given to the Chinese consumer these days. With it, Blancpain lays claim to the first mechanical wristwatch equipped with a traditional Chinese calendar. On its dial, the hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar rub shoulders with the main indications of the Chinese calendar: traditional double-hour indication, day, month with indication of leap months, signs of the zodiac, as well as the five elements and the 10 celestial stems. The combination of the latter with the 12 animals of the zodiac that represent the terrestrial branches follows the sixty-year cycle that is central to Chinese culture. The moon phases, a key element in Blancpain complete calendars, are also presented and play a particularly important role in this model, given the link between the lunar cycle and traditional Chinese months. The watch will be available in platinum (20 piece limited edition with special “dragon” rotor) or red gold (non-limited edition). Read on for more details…
Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar (Villeret Collection)
platinum: 20 pieces limited edition; or red gold (non limited)
45mm platinum or red gold case (15mm thick), Madagascar ruby crown, five integrated under-lug correctors serving to adjust the indications, grand feu enamel dial, “hollow leaf” shaped hands, automatic mechanical Caliber 3638
The watch is powered by Blancpain’s new self-winding Calibre 3638. Its complexity stems as much from the number of indications to be displayed as from the irregular nature of their cycles. The hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar are presented in the center. The counter at 12 o’clock indicates the double-hour numerals and symbols (24-hour cycle); while the one at 3 o’clock shows the elements and the celestial stems (10-year cycle). The month of the Chinese calendar (12-month cycle), its date (30-day cycle) and the leap month indicator appear at 9 o’clock, while a 12 o’clock aperture reveals the zodiac sign of the year in progress (12-year cycle); and the moon phases are displayed at 6 o’clock.
platinum case (limited edition 20 pieces)
Contrary to the Gregorian solar calendar which uses the solar day as the base unit, the traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, meaning a solar calendar with the lunar cycle (29.53059 days) as its base unit. Since a year comprising 12 lunar months (354.36707 days) is approximately 11 days too short compared with the tropical or solar year (365.242374 days), a leap month is sometimes added to preserve the match with the cycle of the seasons. Given that each month of the Chinese calendar, including the leap months, begins on the day of the new moon, its length is either 29 or 30 days. This means that when a year comprises a leap month, this 13-month year will be longer than the tropical year. On the contrary, when there is no leap month, the year of 12 lunar months is shorter than the tropical year. This distinctive feature is the reason behind the variable date of the Chinese New Year.
red gold case (non limited edition)
Baselworld 2012: From Blancpain’s Villeret collection, a masterfully executed skeleton dial with exquisite engraving and decoration. Manual wind Breguet caliber with 8 days power reserve. Yes please!
Blancpain Villeret Skeleton 8 Days
38 mm x 9.08 mm white gold case, manual wind Blancpain Calibre 1333SQ, 8-Day (192-hours) power reserve, hand-decorated
A retrograde small seconds…
In 2012, the Blancpain Villeret collection welcomes its first model featuring a beautiful flinqué lacquered dial. Several layers of translucent blue lacquer applied to the dial create a rich depth effect, while preserving the pure lines of its most classic collection. The watch is housed in a 40mm white gold case, powered by the ultra-slim Blancpain Calibre 7663Q, a new self-winding movement. In addition to the hour, minute and “serpentine” styled date pointer, there is also a retrograde seconds function at 6 o’clock. This watch also features Blancpain’s very slick under-lug corrector at 5 o’clock for fast date adjustment. Fitted on a matching blue alligator leather strap with folding clasp.
Blancpain Villeret Collection
VILLERET, Ultra-slim, date, retrograde small seconds, flinqué blue lacquered dial, under-lug corrector, self-winding
Thick: 4.57 mm
Diameter: 27.00 mm
Power-reserve in hours: 72
Thickness: 10.83 mm
Diameter: 40.00 mm
Water-resistance: 3 bar
Sapphire crystal back: Yes
Interhorn space: 22.00 mm
by James Bond on February 03, 2012
Press release from Blancpain:
A burglary attempt occurred yesterday on our X Fathoms exhibition at “Cité du Temps” in Geneva. It seems like some people are ready to risk their life for our timepieces!
Fortunately, nobody was hurt during the robbery and thanks to the efficient intervention of the security company (SIR) one of the four thieves was quickly arrested and most of our watches were found back. However the damages caused on several pieces gives us no choice but to close the doors of this event earlier than scheduled.
by Kyle Stults on October 25, 2011
Blancpain X Fathoms, continued. See the dial schematic below for a full breakdown on the watch. Very cool looking, very cool functionality, and looks great. Though in the real world I really wonder about that 55mm case size — overwhelming!
Also, no word yet on price or volume. the Blancpain X Fathoms price will be 30,000-40,000 Swiss Francs.
Check out these additional looks…
Here it is…and the Blancpain X Fathoms looks to be quite an impressive dive watch. For now I will quickly say that it has a built-in depth gauge capable of measuring both current and maximum depth (up to 90 meters) — max depth is the the small inner hand with the squarish red tip and current depth is the yellow-tipped inner hand. At the 10 o’clock to 11 o’clock is a retrograde gauge for decompression (up to five minutes), and this gauge is activated by a lever at 10 o’clock.
Back with full specs in awhile…
Update: See specs below. Seems the watch is inspired by a 1953 ancestor (of same name?), which I like. At 55mm, the case size is absolutely enormous — a bit off-putting for me, despite the technical marvel of this watch. Seriously — 55mm case? Blancpain also claims a “The most complex injected rubber strap ever conceived” featuring 14 articulated parts to ensure a perfect fit on the wrist and allow water to seep in under the watch in order to come in contact with the membrane under all circumstances. Alright, OK, good work on the new strap. This watch is really nothing more than a showpiece, but I guess that’s not such a bad thing.
Blancpain X Fathoms Dive Watch
55.65mm x 24mm satin brushed titanium case, automatic mechanical BLANCPAIN caliber 9918B (based on the Caliber 1315, used in several Fifty Fathoms models),
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