Category: Blancpain Watches
Color is coming back to luxury watches in a big way, infusing even high-end mechanical collections like Blancpain’s Ladybird Colors with a fashion-watch feel. The fashion flair is all in the alligator straps, which come in a candy-store selection of colors: peacock green, midnight blue, satin white, lemon yellow, tangerine orange and lilac.
The dials are, by contrast, fairly minimalist in the tradition of dress watches. A mother-of-pearl background is topped by applied Arabic numerals and leaf-shaped hands. But there is some dazzle. The watch is decorated with 59 diamonds weighing more than two carats, including an inner ring of small diamonds on the dial, and larger diamonds set into the bezel and lugs. The diamonds on the bezel are bead-set between rows or “fillets” of hollowed out metal, to allow the maximum light return – so the diamonds really sparkle. The crown is set with a single rose-cut diamond. The 34.9mm case comes in either red or white gold.
The collection is Blancpain Ladybird tribute to its heritage as a maker of ladies’ mechanical watches and its support of women. As an example, the brand cites its appointment of Betty Fiechter in 1921 as the first female CEO of a leading watch company. “Her love of watchmaking was matched only by her belief that a woman needs finery to be properly dressed,” says a Blancpain statement. “She paved the way for the creation of the first automatic wristwatch for women, the Rolls, and the original Ladybird model in 1956.” It contained what was, at the time, the world’s smallest round movement.
The collection is Blancpain Ladybird tribute to its heritage as a maker of ladies’ mechanical watches and its support of women. As an example, the brand cites its appointment of Betty Fiechter in 1921 as the first female CEO of a leading watch company. “Her love of watchmaking was matched only by her belief that a woman needs finery to be properly dressed,” says a Blancpain statement. “She paved the way for the creation of the first automatic wristwatch for women, the Rolls, and the original Ladybird model in 1956.” It contained what was, at the time, the world’s smallest round movement.
The Ladybird has an important place in Blancpain Ladybird history. It was introduced in 1956 as the smallest round watch for Ladies quickly becoming a worldwide hit (for more you can read our “The History of Blancpain” feature article).
In 2021, Blancpain is presenting the Ladybird Colors, 7 new variations characterised by white mother-of-pearl dials adorned with slightly rounded applied gold Arabic numerals forming an asymmetrical hour circle crowned by the number 12 and highlighted by a band of diamonds. The hours and minutes hands are shaped like hollowed-out sage leaves.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad watch revisits a Blancpain diving instrument from the mid-60s, which was notably used by the German Navy’s Combat Swimmers. The latter has the characteristic feature of a stamp on the dial with a “no radiations” logo indicating that Blancpain did not use luminescent materials composed of radium – a highly radioactive element declared harmful to health. This distinctive symbol has forged the success of this timepiece, which has become one of the most sought-after Fifty Fathoms watches among collectors.
The model created for Only Watch is characterised by a chapter ring, hands and a bezel time scale featuring orange-coloured Super-LumiNova. Bespoke to this special piece, this acidulous shade refers to the colour representing the 2021 edition of Only Watch. The dominant element on the dial remains the “no radiations” logo, whose original yellow and red colours have been replaced by orange and yellow, respectively.
Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in the Swiss Jura, Blancpain is known as the world’s oldest watch brand. Loyal to its tradition of innovation and confirmed by countless horological complications invented over the years, the Manufacture is constantly pushing the boundaries of watchmaking to take this art to places where it has never been before. Today, Blancpain pursues its enduring commitment to the renewal of mechanical horology. From creating components to designing watches, Blancpain is distinguished by its capacity to develop exceptional timepieces, which are the results of its master-watchmakers’ creativity and passion. This philosophy is conveyed through each of the brand’s creations and all its collections, including the classic Villeret, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch or the delicate women models.
Programmi sempre più fitti, una serie continua di meeting, agende piene di appuntamenti scandiscono il ritmo della società in cui viviamo. Le ore passano e i tempi cambiano. Il ritmo della vita accelera e riduce l’orizzonte temporale.
Il meglio in orologeria si riassume in tre elementi: complessità meccanica, semplicità d’uso e utilità delle indicazioni. Il Léman Tourbillon Semainier, nato dal know-how della Manifattura di Le Brassus, risponde perfettamente a questi requisiti, con una ‘combinazione di complicazioni’ introdotta dal Calibro 3725G e dai 356 elementi che lo compongono.
Più che un orologio è un concentrato della filosofia di ‘tradizione di innovazione’ applicata dai maestri orologiai Le Brassus, riflettendo pienamente questa realtà contemporanea.
Un calibro inedito e complesso, dato dall’abbianmento di complicazioni orologiere di Blancpain, offre indicazioni utili nel quotidiano e soddisfa le esigenze di una vita attiva. Alla visualizzazione di ore, minuti e secondi, all’indicazione della riserva di carica e al tourbillon volante visibile al 12, il Léman Tourbillon Semainier affianca il giorno della settimana, il grande datario e la ripartizione dell’anno su scala settimanale. Quest’ultima informazione, davvero molto apprezzata, è riportata da una lancetta centrale che punta su uno dei numeri posti all’esterno del quadrante.
Per creare tale danza meccanica del tempo, gli artigiani della Manifattura hanno sviluppato il Calibro 3725G, un movimento a carica automatica con tourbillon e riserva di marcia di 7 giorni. Un
concentrato di ingegnosità, che riunisce in uno spazio ristretto ben 356 componenti. Caratteristiche
esclusive dei pezzi di alta orologeria, l’anglage di ponti e platine, le decorazioni Côtes de Genève e il perlage, tutte lavorazioni svolte manualmente all’interno degli atelier di Blancpain.
Il Léman Tourbillon Semainier è presente in due versioni in edizione limitata; della versione in platino, abbinata al quadrante nero, sono disponibili 88 pezzi mentre di quella in oro rosa, con il quadrante opalino sono 188 i pezzi prodotti.
Entrambe le versioni hanno la cassa di 40 mm, sono impermeabili fino a 100 metri e sono dotati di fondello con oblò in vetro zaffiro, che consente di ammirare le accurate finiture dei componenti. Il cinturino in coccodrillo nero è completato da una fibbia déployante rispettivamente in platino o in oro rosa.
The prime qualities one expects from horological complications are mechanical complexity, user-friendliness and useful information. These three criteria are fully met by the new Tourbillon Semainier in the Léman collection, born from the know-how of the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture in Le Brassus. This unusual combination of complications beats to the rhythm of the new Calibre 3725G and its 356 components.
These days the hours simply rush by and times are rapidly changing. The rhythm of active life is accelerating, and the time line is shrinking. Schedules are full, appointments follow each in other quick succession and diaries are packed. All these elements mark the cadence of the typically hyper-active society in which we live.
Taking account of this contemporary reality, the new Blancpain Tourbillon Semainier in the Léman collection is a concentrated blend of the “tradition of innovation” philosophy consistently applied by the Manufacture in Le Brassus. This combination of horological complications, unusual for the brand, merges tradition with contemporary requirements. It draws upon the know-how cultivated by the master-watchmakers of the venerable House in order to offer a new complex calibre providing indications that are useful in everyday activities and meet the demands of an active lifestyle. In addition to showing the hours, minutes and seconds, the power-reserve and featuring majestic flying tourbillon placed at 12 o’clock, the newcomer to the Léman collection also displays the day of the week, the date (Grande Date) and the week of the year. Much appreciated in today’s world, the latter item of information is indicated by a central hand pointing to one of the numbers appearing around the rim of the dial. Its numbering from 1 to 53 serves as a reminder that some years have 53 weeks according to official schedules; this will be the case in 2009 and then in 2015, 2020 and 2026, to mention only the nearest dates.
To give life to this mechanical dance of time, the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture have developed the new calibre 3725G, a mechanical self-winding tourbillon movement with a 7-day power-reserve. This spectacular embodiment of ingenuity comprises 356 parts. As one would expect from Haute Horlogerie creations, Blancpain’s master-craftsmen perform the delicate finishing operations bevelling of the bridges and plates, the Côtes de Genève decorations and circular graining entirely by hand.
The Tourbillon Semainier cornes in a case with a 40 mm diameter for enhanced legibility, crafted in 950 platinum with a black dial or in 18-carat red gold with a opaline-white dial. Its water-resistance is guaranteed to 100 metres and its sapphire crystal case-back enables one to admire the finishing work lavished on all the components. The black or brown crocodile leather strap is fitted with a platinum or red gold folding clasp.
The Blancpain Leman Flyback Chronograph Mark was kind enough to provide another guest review, this time he was kind enough to share some thoughts on his Blancpain Flyback. It’s a story I’m sure you’ve all heard a million times. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy ends up with girls roommate. So here are the details on how I ended up with this Blancpain.
A watch buddy of mine (we’ll call him Ale-Alejandro) said he had
the perfect watch for me. Her name was Roadster, as in Cartier!
Wow, I was excited. I’d never seen a Roadster outside of pictures – “in the flesh” as it were.
I arrived at the agreed upon meeting point, and as I saw that
Roadster start to emerge from her leather bound home, a funny thing
happened. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the exotic roommate.
Now mind you that I was taught, by watching Seinfeld, that your eyes
should never linger. “It’s like staring at the Sun, get a sense of it and move on”.
Well, I pulled a “George Costanza” – I was caught in a linger.
At this point, Ale-Alejandro was getting a little nervous, and
fidgeted around a bit. I could see from that lost look in his eye,
that the exotic beauty strapped around his wrist had a spell on him too.
“Oh this?”, he stammered. “I don’t really want to sell this”, Ale-Alejandro said.
“Good. Because I don’t want to buy it”. I exclaimed. “How about a
trade”? As I reached into the pocket of my mystery robe and whipped
out the girl I dated, but never brought home to Mom.
As Ale-Alejandro is at least ten years younger than your humble narrator,
I knew he’d be immediately smitten by her initial shiny, dazzling brilliance.
Well needless to say, the trade was made, and now we’re both happy.
In truth, the Roadster looked better on him anyway.
Here are my initial thoughts on this little treasure – Blancpain Léman Chronograph Flyback
The build quality is really amazing. Starting with the bracelet, which is
constructed of solid steel, and secured by screws. The bracelet model is
X-71. As you see from the pictures, the watch is not camera shy.
The dial is one of the nicest chronograph layouts I have seen. The fly back
feature, which I never really knew existed, works the following way:
The top chrono button behaves like a typical chrono button, it starts
and stops the chronograph. The bottom button however, behaves
differently. While the chrono is running, a press of the bottom
button, resets back to zero, and the chrono begins again. Of course
pressing the top button to stop, and bottom button resets and stops
like a normal chronograph.
The case is 38 mm, however the watch wears larger than that. Perhaps
it’s the wide band, and beveled bezel that gives it that larger
appearance. Also it’s fairly heavy. And the wearing comfort is amazing.
I know that It’s cliche, but I don’t even know I have it on.
The accuracy is within a second or two a day on my wrist.
It has zero time on the winder so far, which I suppose is a good thing.
Blancpain uses their in-house movement for the Leman Flyback –
the F185 Calibre chronograph movement, developed with
their famous movement Manufacture, Frederic Piguet.
Blancpain has released a limited-edition tribute to arguably the most eye-catching Fifty Fathoms diver ever released, the ‘No Radiations’.
Originally produced for the German Navy’s ‘Kampfschwimmer’ Marines in the mid-1960s as the RPG 1 or BUND No Rad, after the engraved designation on the caseback, the dial was printed with the reassuring ‘no radiations’ logo at the six o’clock position.
While these days that might seem like the very least a watch might promise, in the 1960s the horrors of radiation would have still been fresh in the mind, certainly within the military, not only from the Second World War but from the earlier scandalous use of Radium in everything from toothpaste to face cream.
This was only brought to the public’s attention when The Radium Girls, who were paid by the United States Radium Corporation to paint watch dials with luminous Radium paint, began to die. So the assurance appearing on a watch dial is particularly apt and understandable.
This 500-piece limited edition uses a 40.3mm polished stainless steel case, which is actually smaller than the 41mm original, but certainly more appropriate historically-speaking, than the oversized 45mm Fifty Fathoms ‘No Rad’ tribute released in 2010. There is definitely something about the Fifty Fathoms that lends itself to a circular ‘logo’ in this position, with the other famous example being the Fifty Fathoms Mil Spec, which originally featured a moisture indicator to warn divers if water had penetrated their watch.
Water resistant to 300m, the 2021 Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad uses a Blancpain Calibre 1151 four day automatic movement with silicon hairspring and the watch is supplied on a period correct ‘tropic’ rubber strap.
Curiously for a watch bearing the words ‘No Radiation,’ Blancpain has opted to coat its hands, hour markers and minute scale on the sapphire crystal-topped bezel with a ‘fauxtina’ shade of Super-LumiNova called “Old Radium’. The color certainly suits the watch but the name sticks out like a sore thumb.
The 2021 Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad is available now, priced $14,100 USD. Head over to Blancpain for more information.
Elsewhere in watches, Vault offers up watch industry’s first NFT artwork for sale.
Blancpain’s newest exclusive watch isn’t just a tribute to one of its most memorable releases, it’s also a reminder of how much life has changed since the middle of the 20th century.
The Swiss company has just announced the limited-edition Tribute to Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad replica timepiece. Filled with period references, the watch is a modern reinterpretation of one of the most head-turning diver watches of all time.
Used by the German Navy’s combat swimmers during the mid-1960s, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad has risen to cult status thanks to its dial. That’s thanks to the “No Radiations” symbol stamped at 6 o’clock, an element that has become the watch’s trademark. The striking figure may seem like an odd design flourish today, but it wasn’t at the time. People were still very terrified by radiation poisoning, not just because of World War II, but because of the mid-century radium scare. That symbol was Blancpain’s way of letting divers and watch enthusiasts know that the watch was radium-free and safe to wear.The tribute watch features a 40.3mm stainless steel case, which is slightly smaller than the original 41mm case. That’s topped by a unidirectional rotating bezel that allows divers to keep track of how long they’ve been underwater. Underneath the bezel and its glassbox-type sapphire crystal insert, you’ll find a matte black dial with the “No Radiations” symbol just above the six o’clock marker and a date aperture sitting at 3 o’clock. Interestingly, considering the story behind the watch, the hour markers, hands and time scale on the bezel are all coated in a hue of Super-LumiNova called “Old Radiation.” Rounding off the package is a period-appropriate, Tropic-style rubber band, a favorite of the era’s divers because of its comfort and durability.The watch’s 300-meter water-resistant case houses a Blancpain Calibre 1151 self-winding movement. It’s equipped with a silicon balance spring and a four-day power reserve. Both barrels in the movement are wound by a rotor that features a “cartouche-shaped aperture,” according to the watchmaker. Although this detail is rare on today’s watches, in years past it was used to make the oscillating weight a more supple, offering added protection for the movement in case of impacts.
Equipped with an exclusive movement incorporating two retrograde indications, the Day Night distinguishes itself with substantial technical innovations and by the fine crafts- manship of its disk. Once more Blancpain has reinforced its DNA and its tradition of innovation with this demonstration of savoir-faire in a new caliber created especially for its collection Women.
Based upon the caliber 1150, the movement of the Day Night is larger in diameter. The winding rotor, decoratively engraved and polished, has been enlarged to enhance the view of the complex movement through the sapphire case back. With a diameter of 40 mm, this timepiece offers an harmonious balance between its diameter and thickness as its height is less than 12 mm. The dial is fashioned entirely in mother of pearl and is divided into three parts on four levels. The differences in height create an impression of great depth. Careful work was called for to fashion the mother of pearl surface upon progressively descending levels, as the mother of pearl material on a base of German silver becomes progressively thinner with each level and, therefore, more fragile.
The Day Night disk turns twice per day. Each rotational change takes place over approximately four minutes, as the decoration presents itself, allowing the discovery of all of the details of the day and the night. Many different artistic techniques were used in its creation: (depositing material), (contour forms in relief), and (integration of superimposed motifs in mother of pearl). Gradations in the color blue, achieved by deposit upon the mother of pearl, marks the change from day to night. The moon is composed of 50 diamonds; the sun is fashioned with 50 yellow sapphires. Placed upon the surface are several yellow colored mother of pearl dots as well as 14 diamonds which represent the stars.
One of the unique features of this piece is the way that the two retrograde indications (seconds and hours) are combined with the minute hand. The minute is displayed with a regulator hand which continuously sweeps over its circle of rotation. As it completes its 60 minute march, the seconds hand is retrograding, which is to say that it has progressed along its arc and returns instantly to its point of departure to begin anew its progression. Similarly, the hour hand retrogrades twice per day, again in synch with the minute hand.
Blancpain has perfected the design of retrograde indications. Based upon snail shaped cams, Blancpain’s design ensures smooth movement of the hands along the arc of travel and a positive, swift, yet vibration free return to the starting point.
The gear train of the Day Night disk is secured, meaning that it can be set at any time of day. The setting of the time and the disk are independent. The setting of hours and minutes by the crown, through a lever, disconnects the indication from the running train of the watch.
Blancpain’s signature design elements such as the double stepped case with its rounded shoulders are found in this timepiece. The bezel is set with two spiral shaped rows of 140 diamonds around its exterior. The Day Night is fitted with a white ostrich strap.
A pioneer since 1930 in the creation of ladies’ watches equipped with self-winding movements, Blancpain pursues this path and regularly introduces models developed for women sensitive to watchmaking complications. Loyal to tradition, the new Chronograph Large Date associates a dainty mother-of-pearl face and a self-winding heart with several complications within a model featuring generous gem-set lines.
Right at first glance, the shimmering mother-of-pearl dial surrounded by a minute track reveals a two-part composition delineated by two waves of 17 variously sized diamonds rippling out from the centre with its chronograph seconds hand. At 12 o’clock the off-centred time display featuring Roman hour and minute numerals on a mother-of-pearl subdial creates a dynamic counterpoint to the Arabic numerals on the chronograph counters; while the double-disc large date display appears through twin apertures 6 o’clock.
The new Chronograph Large Date houses Blancpain Calibre 26F8G, a mechanical self- winding movement composed of 495 parts.
The 38.6 mm-diameter case in 18-carat red gold set with 40 diamonds is water-resistant to 3 bar. Its sapphire back provides an opportunity to admire the finishing lavished on all its parts and reflecting that of all Blancpain movements, as well as to admire the graceful femininity of the petal-shaped oscillating weight. The crown is set with a diamond.
This model, also available in white gold and steel versions, is fitted with a white ostrich leather strap and also comes complete with a second strap in a different colour and material.
While Blancpain has been a pioneer in the history of mechanical ladies’watches, the latest launches from the Manufacture in Le Brassus focus more specifically on finesse and elegance. Conceived, devised and developed in a resolutely feminine spirit,the new BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection unveils new timepieces dedicated to beauty,subtlety and grace.
Ever since 1930, Blancpain has been firmly convinced that women are well able to appreciate the know-how and the magic of mechanical horology. The Blancpain tradition of feminine Haute Horlogerie timepieces is thus no recent development, but instead boasts a rich and diverse history. Over the past 75 years, Blancpain’s numerous achievements in this field have included the first ladies’self-winding wristwatch, the smallest round movement and more recently the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar. For the past few years, Blancpain has also regularly made its mark on lovers’calendars by designing exclusive limited edition Valentine’s Day timepieces. From an initial role as a purely functional object, the wristwatch has become a piece of jewellery or an accessory accompanying a particular clothing style. This graceful transformation has proved fundamental to contemporary watchmaking. And it is obviously not by chance that many women’s hearts have for decades been beating to the gentle rhythms of mechanical Blancpain movements.
While the Blancpain ladies’models created in the past can lay claim to many world firsts, the Manufacture had never yet dedicated an entire collection to women. For the very first time and coinciding with the arrival of spring, Blancpain is revealing how it has imagined and developed its approach to feminine mechanical timepieces. Far from being mere reductions or adaptations of existing men’s watches, the three first models making up this collection were specifically developed to meet the expectations and desires of contemporary women. The hours of the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection are exclusively feminine. Remaining steadfastly faithful to its roots in the Vallée de Joux, Blancpain has endowed each of its women’s watches with a meticulously hand-finished and decorated mechanical self-winding movement. Nonetheless, the Manufacture is now exploring an entirely new path by creating a collection that is completely innovative in terms of its aesthetics.
Meeting a broad range of aspirations
Entirely certain of women’s deep-felt attachment to these marvels of mechanical miniaturisation, Blancpain has expended a good deal of energy in developing this new collection. While undeniably unique, BLANCPAIN WOMEN seeks to capture the diversity of modern women’s daily lives through the variety of its expressions. In defining this array of different spirits and characters, Blancpain almost instinctively looked to nature for inspiration. The wondrous perfection and diversity of the floral universe fired its imagination and determined the themes for the collection dedicated to femininity. Several flowers thus became the expression of a symbolic design within the collection. Convinced that women will appreciate the hand-crafted finishing and fine decoration that Blancpain lavishes upon its movements, Blancpain has outfitted all models in the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection with a sapphire crystal case-back. As on all Blancpain movements, decorative operations such as “Côtes de Genève” circular graining, bevelling, polishing and engraving are all performed entirely by hand, in keeping with the noblest traditions of horological excellence.
BLANCPAIN WOMEN “Camélia”:The vivid charms of the camellia
For a woman who desires a timepiece to express a more informal and dynamic lifestyle, Blancpain offers three bold and exuberant flyback chronographs. The fact that the chronograph is one of the most attractive mechanical complications owes less to the use one actually makes of it than to the sheer pleasure it procures. Measuring time, pretending to stop it and playing with the passing seconds bring an immediate sense of satisfaction! Since time is such a rare commodity these days, one might as well enjoy taming it in style and mastering it in entertaining ways. Heralding spring and the bursting of new life, the camellia breathes a heady fragrance through this chronograph. Broad and robust, its sheer magnificence expresses the vigorous side of this collection. While these timepieces incorporate traditional Blancpain styling cues and accents, the chronographs in the collection deliberately steer away from their masculine counterparts by adopting new stylised Arabic numerals and elegant hollowed hands. Displaying round, generous forms enhanced by its classic characteristic double stepped motif, the steel case measuring 34 mm in diameter is water-resistant to 100 metres. This same motif, replicated around the counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, highlights the overall effect. A fine circular pattern decorates both the counters and the rim of the dial. Subtly highlighting the femininity of these flyback chronographs, the hand-sewn crocodile leather strap is cut at right angles so that the principle line of the scales flows along the length, rather than across the band. Like the camellia, a symbol of excellence and longevity that is reputed for its perfect shapes, the new “Camélia” Flyback Chronograph houses a precious heart. Women who love the great outdoors will also appreciate the fine hand finishing of the calibre F185 movement which offers them the smooth chronograph pusher feel which only a column wheel system, bearing the exclusive stamp of Haute Horlogerie chronographs, can procure. In addition to displaying the chronograph functions and indications, this complex mechanism also shows the hours, minutes, small seconds and a date window at 6 o’clock.
Perfect finishing touches
The entire BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection is equipped with the brand-new folding clasp system for the straps. Built with double folding arms engraved with the decorative Blancpain logo, each side is guided into place by a cleverly integrated spring, making the clasp look exactly like a classic pin buckle. To further integrate these fine timepieces into the lifestyle of today’s women, Blancpain has re-invented the presentation box that accompanies each watch. Fashioned out of marbled maple wood, this elegant showcase also provides storage space for other fine jewellery creations.
With the launch of its new BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection, the Manufacture in Le Brassus is clearly expressing its perception of the multiple facets of modern women, while leading Haute Horlogerie to the place where traditional mechanical watchmaking values and the aesthetic demands of contemporary femininity meet and mingle in perfect harmony.
Since the launch of the first modern diver’s watch more than 65 years ago, Blancpain has continued to innovate by combining state-of-the-art materials and watchmaking techniques. This year, the Brand is equipping three versions of the iconic Fifty Fathoms with a titanium bracelet. These models featuring a sporty yet chic allure are also characterized by their outstanding performance and lightness.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms collection is based on a rich heritage dating back to 1953, when Blancpain presented the first modern diver’s watch. The Fifty Fathoms stood out thanks to its avant-garde technical and aesthetic features. Its large luminescent black-grounded hour-markers and hands, its robustness, water-resistance and secure rotating bezel all rapidly became benchmarks for the entire watchmaking industry. While Blancpain played a pioneering role in the definition of diver’s watches, the Maison also made early use of innovative materials in creating its timepieces. Indeed, Blancpain’s use of titanium dates back to the early 1960s, when it produced a special series of MIL-SPEC II models for US Navy minesweeper teams. Witness the “US Navy” timepiece purchased by the Brand at an auction in 2015: its case made of nickel silver – a non-magnetic copper, zinc and nickel alloy – is fitted with a titanium back, undoubtedly used for its greater resistance to pressure. At that time, titanium was mainly reserved for the aerospace industry and rarely seen in watchmaking. Blancpain was probably the first Manufacture to use this material in producing its watches.
Blancpain’s must-have Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Grande Date models reflect the Brand’s history and tradition of innovation. Their remarkably light new titanium bracelet complements the sail canvas and NATO straps with which these timepieces have been fitted until now. Its production involves a series of demanding assembly and finishing processes. The hand satin-brushed links are joined together by means of transverse pins, endowing them with a fluidity and flexibility that ensure a perfect fit on the wrist. Based on a patented system, the (usually lateral) screws are placed on the back of the links so as to preserve the smooth look and feel of the bracelet edges. Combining these skills guarantees seamless cohesion between the case and bracelet. The latter highlights the emblematic face of the watches, endowed with all the attributes of a diving instrument, such as Super-LumiNova hour-markers and hands that remain easily legible in all circumstances, as well as a unidirectional rotating bezel with a scratch-resistant sapphire insert.
Equipped with a 45 mm titanium case that is water-resistant to 30 bar (approx. 300 meters), the Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Grande Date models respectively beat to the rhythm of the Manufacture 1315 movement – a mainstay of the contemporary Fifty Fathoms collection since its launch in 2007 – or the 6918B. Insensitive to magnetic fields thanks to the use of a silicon balance-spring, these calibres deliver a comfortable five-day power reserve provided by three series-coupled barrels. Their meticulous finishes are visible through a sapphire crystal case-back.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique remains available with a black or blue sunburst dial, while the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date continues to be offered with a black dial. These light and robust models will doubtless appeal to lovers of sporty and elegant watches keen to enjoy daily wear of a generously sized timepiece with a pleasingly light aesthetic.
Blancpain presents a world-first preview of its new Fifty Fathoms watch in a special limited series of 50. This exclusive edition is clad in a deep blue colour celebrating the inseparable ties binding the Manufacture in Le Brassus to the splendours of the ocean depths. It plays the starring role in an exhibition that is unique in Switzerland and is on show in the Cité du Temps in Geneva from January 19th to February 28th 2009. For the first time ever, the most significant models of this legendary diver’s watch – from 1953 to the present day – are united under one roof.
Faithful to its immediately recognisable design, this new Fifty Fathoms is adorned in subtle shades evoking underwater mysteries. The contrasting numerals, hour-markers and hands coated with a luminescent substance stand out beautifully against the cobaltblue dial background. Ideal for ensuring readability in all circumstances, this coating is applied to the markings on the bezel and to the graduation of the last 15 minutes. A slightly cambered scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a notched raised pattern set the finishing touch to the high-tech face of this elegant sports watch.
The 45 mm-diameter case in white gold, equipped with a crown guard, houses the sturdy Blancpain Calibre 1315 with its five-day power reserve. The sapphire crystal enables one to admire the meticulous finishing of the self-winding movement and its unique oscillating weight engraved with a diving mask motif, yet without compromising the water resistance to 300 metres. This new-look Fifty Fathoms is fitted with a blue sail canvas strap lined with rubber and completed with a white gold pin buckle.
Issued in an exclusive limited edition of 50, this prestigious timepiece comes with a stunning book of art photographs dedicated to the underwater world. This work vividly reflects the qualities of the diver’s watch after which it is named and uses cutting-edge printing techniques. These fascinating subaquatic pictures are also on show for the first time in Switzerland, in the Cité du Temps, from January 19th to February 28th 2009.
A fiery temperament and a passion for speed are the signature features of the latest Blancpain sports watch: the Speed Command Chronograph. The exterior of this distinctive chronograph highlights new materials,while its technical functions are driven by a self-winding flyback chronograph movement.And since it hates not to be noticed, this Speed Command Chronograph is clad in black with a choice of yellow or orange accents.
Power, speed and mechanical engineering: the cocktail is generally explosive and the Blancpain Speed Command Chronograph is no exception. This ruggedly virile, dynamic and resolutely contemporary watch is a tribute to speed and mechanical performance, inspired by the thrills of racing on land or at sea amid these fascinating worlds of freedom and excess. The 45 mm-diameter case made from brushed DLC steel is water-resistant to 300 metres and topped by a bidirectional “countdown” type black sapphire rotating bezel. The chequered effect carbon fibre dial features stylised orange or yellow Arabic numerals inspired by the dashboards of legendary sports cars. For the first time at Blancpain, a sloping inner dial ring bears a tachometric scale that facilitates read-off. In the same spirit, red Superluminova touches are applied to the hour and minute hands and the central chronograph seconds hand, ensuring optimal legibility in all circumstances.
At the heart of this sophisticated performance-dedicated case, the Blancpain Speed Command houses Calibre F185, a 308-part mechanical self-winding chronograph movement with a 40-hour power reserve. Calibre F185 drives the hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, a window-type date display as well as the chronograph functions: the central chronograph seconds hand, along with 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively. Providing an additional feature bound to appeal to instant measurement enthusiasts, Calibre F185 is also distinguished by its “flyback” chronograph function that Blancpain has significantly contributed to popularising over the past two decades. Historically used by pilots, this function enables resetting and instant restarting of the chronograph by a single press on the “start” pusher. A question of saving time… or gaining a bit of speed!
Exclusively designed for the Blancpain Speed Command Chronograph, a new extremely technical oscillating weight in rhodium-plated yellow gold further enriches the overall performance of the movement. This raised five-arm rotor is inspired by racing-car wheel rims.
Asserting its sporting nature all the way through to its smallest components, the Speed Command Chronograph by Blancpain is fitted with a rubber-lined Barenia leather strap secured by a steel pin buckle. This use of several materials for a single element is strongly reminiscent of the world of motor racing and clearly designed to enhance both performance and efficiency.
A powerful timepiece boldly displaying its strong personality, the Speed Command Chronograph by Blancpain is revving up to begin a successful career, following in the tracks of the sports watches that have made their mark on Blancpain’s rich history for over half a century.
- New L-evolution Collection – Innovative movements for exceptional watches
Excellence is a tenacious habit. Blancpain is pursuing its successive introductions of innovative high-end movements with the new Calibres 13R5 and 66R9, derived from the 13R0, along with Calibre 5025, all now powering a set of exceptional watches. Such an unshakeable faith in the future deserved a new stellar collection, evocatively named L-evolution. Blancpain L-evolution 8 Jours Watch
The Blancpain philosophy could be aptly summed up in of Artistotle’s famous maxims: “ excellence is an art won by training and habituation ; it is therefore not an act, but a habit ”. After the two remarkable Calibres 13R0, 1315 and 225, two new movements are now enriching this exclusive series : Calibre 13R5 with date and power reserve; and Calibre 66R9 featuring a complete calendar with moon-phase display.
These innovative movements, which are writing a new chapter in Blancpain’s rich watchmaking history, naturally needed to find a showcase worthy of their stature. Therefore, as the founding act of a reinvented future that begins today, the Manufacture in Le Brassus has chosen to create a new line of exceptional models, the L-evolution Collection. The Automatique 8 Jours, Moon Phase 8 Jours, Tourbillon GMT and Alarm GMT watches are thus taking up their appointed place within this new fine watchmaking sanctuary.
A poem in the writing
Blancpain is thus pursuing its well-established “ Tradition of Innovation ”. More than a mere habit, this is an abiding characteristic of the Manufacture in Le Brassus. Like the first four lines of a poem in the writing, the new models form the classic new L-evolution Collection. Comprising sporty, contemporary and perfectly streamlined cases with a revamped design and an imposing 43.5 mm diameter, this new collection is resolutely geared towards the future. While already encompassing four models available in 2009, its future undoubtedly holds in store a number of other beautiful and fascinating surprises.
Blancpain L-evolution Moon Phase 8 Jours – The celestial legend of Calibre 66R9
Wearing a piece of the sky on your wrist is undoubtedly the most poetic expression of the passage of time. With its exclusive new Calibre 66R9, Blancpain once again pays homage to a complication that has become inseparably linked to the brand by incorporating it within its new L-evolution Moon Phase 8 Jours model. A proprietary movement and a lyrical complication thus combine to reveal the expertise of the Blancpain movement construction engineers and master-watchmakers.
The moon phase is to Blancpain what a snowdrop is to winter : a messenger of rebirth. It was thanks to this complication that the brand succeeded in capturing the hearts of connoisseurs of fine mechanisms. Thus granted renewed credibility by the Manufacture in Le Brassus, the moon phase made a significant contribution to the revival of mechanical horology in the 1980s. Blancpain brought this complication back to the forefront in 1983 by launching the legendary moon-phase Calibre 6395, which was to lead to the renaissance of the entire mechanical watch industry.
Strengthened by this token of undeniable legitimacy, Blancpain took a further step towards perfecting one of its favourite complications in 2003, with the launch of its Calibre 6763 endowed with an extraordinary 100-hour power reserve. Calibre 66R9, which is being unveiled in 2009, represents another milestone. The Manufacture in Le Brassus is presenting a brand-new movement driving moon-phase, complete calendar and power-reserve indications. Derived from the exclusive mechanical hand-wound Calibre 13R0, the new Calibre 66R9 further consolidates Blancpain’s standing within the select circle of authentic watch “ Manufactures ”.
An original date correction system
Calibre 66R9 stems from a longstanding quest for perfection and for essentials. Equipped with three barrels, this movement is endowed with an impressive 8-day power reserve. Nonetheless, the most significant efforts have been devoted to the heart of the movement : the balance and spring assembly. In order to optimise the regularity of rate of the oscillating organ, Blancpain has opted for a flat balance-spring – ensuring perfect isochronism – and a titanium balance. While extremely hard to machine, titanium features several decisive advantages : first of all, it is far less sensitive to changes in temperature than traditional alloys, meaning it does not dilate when subjected to heat; secondly, it is far lighter and thus less energy-consuming; and finally, it is amagnetic.
Another technical challenge brilliantly taken up by the Blancpain movement construction engineers and watchmakers relates to the calendar adjustment. The date, day, month and moon phases on the Calibre 66R9 may indeed now be corrected at any time of day or night – including around midnight – an operation that would normally be liable to damage the mechanism if performed near the date-change time. Thanks to meticulous research and exhaustive testing on this development that took almost three years to perfect, the Blancpain watchmakers and movement construction engineers have succeeded in developing an original protective system guaranteeing the exceptional reliability of Calibre 66R9. The balance adjustment system has also been entirely revised : most mechanical calibres are equipped with a mobile organ known as an “index”, which serves to vary the active length of the balance-spring and thus the speed of oscillation of the balance. While some brands opt for the more decorative “ swan’s neck ” adjustment system, Blancpain has replaced this traditional mechanism with micrometric adjustment screws placed directly on the rim or “felly” of the balance. When the screws are tightened from inside, the active diameter of the balance is reduced, thereby increasing the speed of oscillations – and vice versa. Equipped with square heads to facilitate handling, the screws thus enable extremely fine adjustments, and each quarter-turn corresponds to a 30-second modification per day.
This engine, which is a natural source of pride for all those who have contributed to its development, combines these daring technologies with extremely meticulous traditional finishes : a finely circular-grained mainplate, bevelled and polished movement parts, a “ côtes paraboliques ” motif and bevelled bridges. This stunning array of details contributes to creating a rare degree of perfection that an informed connoisseur will revel in discovering through a transparent case-back that also reveals the high-density gold oscillating weight ensuring perfect winding.
The dial itself reflects the well-structured and avant-garde nature of the movement within. Three distinct levels, from the mainplate adorned with Côtes de Genève through to the oversized Roman numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock, provide a three-dimensional vision of the face of this watch. This impression is accentuated by broad apertures with delicately bevelled cut-outs affording glimpses of the power-reserve, day of the week, month and power-reserve discs.
Available with a steel or red gold case radiating a compact, sporty-looking design, the Blancpain Moon Phase 8 Jours model joins the prestigious new L-evolution collection testifying to Blancpain’s incorrigibly dynamic approach to its art.
- Blancpain Super Trofeo Chronograph – The high-powered alliance between two legends
Blancpain and Lamborghini have joined forces in creating an exceptional automobile championship. Played out over six events per year, the Super Trofeo stars a field of the newest Lamborghini Gallardos. To celebrate these superlative races, the Manufacture in Le Brassus is presenting a Super Trofeo flyback chronograph, a resolutely sporting watch with a production run limited to 300.
Encounters between two myths are bound to engender exceptional events. The alliance between the world’s oldest watch brand and one of the most iconic car manufacturers has resulted in the creation of an exceptional automobile championship. The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo is not only the fi rst Lamborghini racing series, but also to become – right from the start of the first race in May – the world’s fastest and most demanding single-make championship. Gleaming Lamborghini Gallard LP560-4 cars – the latest version of this legendary model – are to face off on six equally fabled race tracks during the year 2009. Each of these speed machines bears the colours of the watch manufacturer, while the car driven by Blancpain’s President and CEO, Marc A. Hayek, is entirely dedicated to the brand.
For Marc A. Hayek and Stephan Winkelmann, respectively at the head of Blancpain and Lamborghini, this partnership in a joint championship enables them to fulfil the dreams of many devotees of exceptional mechanical engineering. When Lamborghini decided to join the race to push the boundaries of speed, its decision to work with Blancpain – a watch brand renowned for its pioneering sprit and mechanical expertise – was a natural choice for this high-octane union.
The first single-make racing series in Lamborghini’s history, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo 2009 features six European events scheduled from May through October, at Adria (Italy), Norisring (Germany), Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), Silverstone (United Kingdom), as well Catalunya (Spain) and Paul Ricard (France).
Boasting exceptional performances fuelled by 570 HP and 540 N/m torque enabling it to reach top speeds of over 300 km/h, the latest racing version of the Gallardo line from Lamborghini is a truly exceptional car. Its mettlesome character and its taut, sophisticated lines have inspired the Blancpain designers and master-watchmakers in creating the latest gem from the Manufacture in Le Brassus: the Super Trofeo Chronograph endowed with a flyback function. Like the powerful engine of the Gallardo, this new Blancpain chronograph displays state-of-the-art design and all the attributes of cutting-edge technology.
The case specifi cally designed for this prestigious line is inspired by the sleek profi le of the Lamborghini Gallardo. Crafted in steel coated with a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) treatment – blacker than ruthenium and more resistant than PVD – the 43.5 mm-diameter case that is waterresistant to 100 metres features alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces. Highly sought after for its hardness and its anti-allergenic nature, as well as its intense colour, DLC treatment combines the properties of diamantine carbon (hardness, insulation, chemical resistance) with those of graphite (black colour, elasticity). Based on state-of-the-art technologies, DLC is a treatment applied in thin layers (sometimes less than 2 μm) by a “ vacuum deposit ” process. Moreover, DLC boasts an extremely low friction coefficient and remarkable chemical inertia, two qualities that ensure excellent resistance to wear, corrosion and friction, as well as a flexible kind of hardness.
Black is black
At this heart of this new sophisticated and performance-oriented case, the Blancpain Super Trofeo Chronograph, lies its throbbing “ engine ”, Calibre F185. To reinforce its dynamic nature, the movement of the Blancpain Super Trofeo has been coated by NAC – a state-of-theart electroplating treatment that blackens the movement bridges and main plate. The mechanical self-winding Calibre F185 is endowed with a 40-hour power reserve and comprises 308 parts. This movement powers a range of functions including hour, minute, small seconds and date display at 6 o’clock, as well as the chronograph indications with a central sweep seconds hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. For instant-measurement enthusiasts, the Calibre F185 also drives a “ flyback ” function. The unmistakable black dial is distinguished by two red and white 9 and 12 o’clock numerals stylised to evoke the numbers painted on the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 racing cars. Another exclusive feature of this exceptional model is its gold oscillating weight engraved with the inscription “ Super Trofeo 2009 ”.
A sports model through and through, the Blancpain Super Trofeo Chronograph is teamed with a strap in alcantara – like the seats in the Lamborghini Gallardo – secured by a steel folding clasp. Available in a limited edition of 300 with its individual number engraved on the case-back – the Blancpain Super Trofeo Chronograph comes in a presentation box inspired by the taut, opulent lines of the ultra-dynamic Gallardo.
The latest addition to the blancpain l-evolution flyback chronograph collection features a flyback split-seconds chronograph mechanism and a large date. This watch, combining carbone fibre and cutting-edge technology, reflects Blancpain’s strong commitment in GT racing.
Having decided to adopt such an extreme attitude, Blancpain naturally chose carbon fibre in creating this timepiece. Its lightness and sturdiness, combined with its aesthetic appeal, provide a wealth of development options. This high-tech material was used to create certain watch components: the carbon fibre bezel, caseback and dial represent significant technical feats, reflecting Blancpain’s characteristic innovative strength. To accentuate this sporting personality, the large date display features a digital font; red accents punctuate the black background; the 8 o’clock pusher echoes the shape of a fuel-cap; and the 9 o’clock counter that of an insignia.
At the heart of this new model beats Calibre 69F9 with its 409 parts including 44 jewels, ensuring a 40-hour power reserve. It is equipped with a column wheel that guarantees precise pusher control, as well as a vertical coupling-clutch that avoids any unwanted jerking of the hand when the chronograph is activated. This movement combines a flyback split-second chronograph mechanism with a large twin-aperture date display. The split-second chronograph function is a major horological complication that enables readings of “split” or intermediate times thanks to a so-called split-second (rattrapante or “catch-up” in French) hand that is superimposed on the chronograph sweep seconds hand. When the split-second function is activated via the pusher at 8 o’clock, the hand stops to enable reading of a split time, while the sweep seconds hand continues running. A second press on the pusher enables the split-second hand to “catch up with” the sweep seconds hand. The flyback function, enabling reset and instant restart of the chronograph, is activated by pressing the pusher at 4 o’clock.
The sapphire crystal reveals fascinating glimpses of this movement with its unique decoration. Numerous stages were involved in achieving this result. The parts have been coated with a beadblasted two-tone material (5N red gold-plated or rhodiumed depending on the finish); while the straight graining on the NAC bridges features the anthracite appearance characteristic of this treatment.
The overstitched strap in black alcantara features carbon inserts reminiscent of the latest breakthrough developments in the field of racing cars, while the carbon folding clasp adds an ultimate touch of refined detailing. blancpain l-evolution flyback chronograph
Blancpain stunned the world when it presented the world’s thinnest self-winding chronograph and the smallest minute repeater of its time, when it re-launched in 1987 under the leadership of JC Biver.
n 1991, Blancpain presented the most complicated wristwatch in the world at the time: the 1735 Grande Complication. This exceptional timepiece featured a one-minute tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with moon phase, a co-axial split seconds chronograph and a minute repeater. Only 30 pieces wre made between 1991 and 2009.
Capitalizing on the brand’s rich heritage and the technical mastery, in 2006 Blancpain launched a special timepiece with just the perpetual calendar as a complication.
It is this extremely rare Blancpain Le Brassus Quantième Perpétuel GMT Reference 4277-3446-55bda limited to 150 pieces only.
There are a few watches that bridge the gap between vintage and modern. Old school aesthetic, with modern reliability. This magnificent timepiece does just that.
It is crafted in a 42mm platinum case which is fairly slim at just 13.3mm in thickness, with a doubled-stepped bezel. It offers a 100m water resistance, which is quite impressive for a perpetual calendar.
What stands out at first instance is the beautiful Havana dial, which acts as a backdrop for the neatly laid out functions on the dial.
The perpetual calendar is easy to read with the months and leap year indicator within a sub-dial at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock, moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock and the days of the week at 9 o’clock. The GMT / 24HR ring encircles the sub-dials, just under the roman hour markers in white gold, and all functions marked in white, on a rich brown sunburst backdrop. The patented correctors for the functions are hidden under the lugs. All of the hands are crafted in white gold, adding to the richness of this beauty.
Seen through the case-back is the F. Piguet / Manufacture Blancpain calibre featuring 2 mainsprings offering a 100hr power reserve and a hand-engraved winding mass. The finish on the movement is impeccable with mirrored anglage on every edge.
Offered on a brown alligator leather strap which is soft, yet sturdy to hold the watch firmly on the wrist while offering great wearer comfort. It comes with a platinum deployant clasp.
Blancpain was founded in 1735, in Villeret by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, and is considered to be the oldest watch brand in the world.
The brand was continuously in operation and within the Blancpain family for almost 200 years, until in 1932 when the 7th generation heir Frédéric-Emile Blancpain passed away and the business was bought by two of his closest staff members, who continued the operations through both World Wars.
The legendary ‘Fifty Fathoms’ was launched in 1953, making it the world’s first modern diving watch with three patents including the innovative double sealed crown system, the caseback seal system and the unidirectional bezel with a blocking mechanism which would prevent accidental rotation of the bezel.
In terms of aesthetics, Fifty Fathoms is one of the most iconic timepieces today.
In 1961 Blancpain merged into the largest Swiss watch group of the time, the Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère (SSIH), joining Omega, Tissot and Lemania, and was producing over 220,000 watches annually by 1971.
The brand was put into hibernation during the quartz crisis and in 1983, it was bought by the legendary Jean-Claude Biver.
In the late 80’s, it made a solid comeback by launching back-to-back complications include a triple calendar with moon phases, a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater, a split-seconds chronograph and a tourbillon.
The resurrection was so strong that the SSIH (now Swatch Group) bought back the brand and has had it under its portfolio ever since.
You know us at Monochrome-Watches, we love complicated watches and Haute-Horlogerie. We love exotic displays, we crave for independent watchmakers and their audacious creations, we could barely cry in front of a grande complication. With the watch we’re going to test today, we found something that can easily fulfill our needs: a one-minute carrousel (a sort of tourbillon) and a minute repeater together with a superbly finished skeletonized dial and an automatic winding. Here is the Blancpain Carrousel Minute Repeater Le Brassus, one of the most complicated timepieces of the manufacture.Forget about the massive 45mm x 15.3mm case. We’re not talking about a daily beater like a Rolex Datejust here. We’re into passion and demonstration of advanced watchmaking skills. Wearability and legibility are not the important facts here. We’re not requesting such a watch to be practical. It’s heavy and massive. Whatever, it is not made to be hidden under a cuff. And the size is not a result of a showy design, but comes from the movement itself and the need of space for the chimes. The hands do not clearly pop out. Yes, true, but who cares. You’re not going to dive with it and need it to have contrasting super-luminova. What we have here is pure dream and pleasure.Visually, the Blancpain Carrousel Minute Repeater is indeed not the smallest or the most discreet watch we’ve experienced before. The case is large and heavy but still wearable. It is made of 18k red gold. However, the alloy used by Blancpain remains (hopefully) quite soft in its colour. It comes with a 2-step bezel, a classical design, typically Blancpain (a similar design can be found on the Villeret Chronographe Pulsomètre). The lugs are short and curved enough to balance the watch on the wrist. The dial is partially opened in the middle and comes with a white enamel chapter ring, with applied gold indexes for the hours. This central aperture offers a superb view on the mechanical elements: all the levers and gears that actuates the minute repeater and the hands are visible.All the elements are finished by hand with straight or concentric graining, beveled angles or mirror polishing. The main plate, made of the same metal than the case, comes with a fine perlage. Alongside the finish, 3 elements are especially noticeable. First, the gears with their specific design (close to a car’s wheel), a typical Blancpain feature that is also part of the Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback. Then, the multiple levers on the top of the dial. You can see them moving when actuating the minute repeater and feel the mechanic working. Finally, the carrousel that is located at 6, always very pleasant to look at.From the sapphire caseback of the Blancpain Carrousel Minute Repeater we can also see some very interesting features. The visual aspect is quite special and unique, with these deep engravings (no Geneva Stripes or graining here) and the bridges and rotor made in red gold. Then come the finishings, with the same level of details than the dial: hand chamfered bridges or polished screw heads and slots. The movement is built around two main components: a special tourbillon and a minute repeater.
The minute repeater is using two hammers (visible on the back side, made of steel and engraved as the rest of the movement) and 2 cathedral chimes, longer than normal chimes, to produce a clearer and louder sound. In a normal minute repeater, the gongs cover around 1.5 times the perimeter of the movement. When they exceed that length, they are called “cathedral gongs” and create two sets of chimes. It means that the work of the watchmaker, in order to adjust them to the desired tone, is way more difficult.The regulating organ is what Blancpain likes to call a “one-minute flying carrousel.” Like the tourbillon, the carrousel counteracts and neutralises the effects of gravity, as it rotates on itself in one minute. With a tourbillon, the carriage is linked to the barrel via a single gear train. The carrousel is connected to the barrel by two gear trains: the first delivers the energy required for the operation of the escapement, while the second controls the carriage rotation speed. Thus, it requires more components. The movement is composed of 444 parts and boasts 65 hours of power reserve. Last feature: the movement is secured as the gongs cannot be activated when the crown is pulled.The Blancpain Carrousel Minute Repeater is part of these extremely complicated and expensive collections that we can find in several catalogs. It may be seen as marketing, in order to promote the most classical and profitable collections, such as the sports watches or usual dress timepieces, by demonstrating the knowledge of a manufacture. In a sense, it is true, but every industry linked to luxury goods is doing the same (concept cars from BMW certainly help to sell the 30k 3-series). Putting aside these material considerations, we won’t blame a brand such as Blancpain for doing this type of watches. It may be priced north to 300,000 Eur and limited to 30 pieces, it’s an object of pleasure and passion. And we love it. Blancpain Le Brassus Watches