OH THE JOYS OF LOVE!
As the ultimate celebration of love is about to dawn, the Joux Valley manufacture unveils a jewelry piece totally adorned with diamonds and inspired by a timepiece once owned by Marilyn Monroe.
A silhouette, a face, a voice, a style: Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) has been the absolute embodiment of femininity and continues to weave her magic on the world. Throughout her life, the sublime American actress and singer wore a Blancpain-created 1930s cocktail watch on her wrist which was recently showcased in the watchmaker’s New York store. This art deco-styled timepiece inspired the creation of a 14-piece limited edition dedicated to this lovers’ celebration, the Saint-Valentin 2020 model, enshrined in the Women Collection.
Like its elder sibling, this new watch embraces a rectangular case decorated with a flat, fluted crown. This svelte white-gold silhouette, measuring 35×16 mm and just 6.50 mm thick, strewn with 84 diamonds including two marquise-cut ones caressing the lugs, hosts a hand-wound mechanical movement. The caliber 510 delivers a power reserve of 52 hours and drives the key time data, i.e. the hours and minutes.
The immaculate face of this piece made for celebrating love features white mother-of-pearl marquetry from which two half hearts emerge, each crowned with a diamond. Two precious butterflies, whose bodies are fashioned with golden thread and whose wings are set with rubies and diamonds, hover delicately over this iridescent scenescape whilst a pair of central sword-shaped hands displays the hours and minutes.
Blancpain’s Women Collection Saint-Valentin 2020 wraps around the wrist with a white calfskin strap attached by an ardillon buckle adorned with a brilliant-cut diamond totaling 1.477 carats.
By Sharmila Bertin
BLUE HOUR MAGIC
This limited series, only available in the Brassus manufacture’s boutiques, exudes exclusivity with its majestically-luminous blue dial.
Blue, epitomizing the sky and the ocean, is an invitation to travel and escape. Its natural elegance has seduced the watchmaking world for ever so long, yet in 2019 an azure cascade was to adorn a myriad of dials. Among these, Villeret Ultraplate stands out through its rare intenseness and its sunray-brushed finish. This variation, produced in just 88 pieces, features all the adornments characteristic of the most classical of Blancpain’s collections. Delicate hollow sage-leaf-style hands point to an hour chapter composed of gold-fashioned Roman numerals. The ensemble is embraced by the signature double-stepped bezel. This streamlined composition offers time data a highly-refined backdrop where no other function or complication dares to tread.
The entirely-polished, 40 mm-diameter, 7.39 mm-thick platinum case hosts the 11A4B caliber assembled with some 131 components. This ultra-slim, 2.8 mm-high, hand-wound movement is also ultra-efficient. Thanks to its two series-coupled barrels, it delivers a 95-hour power reserve to the watch once fully wound, i.e. around 4 days. An indicator details the energy available. Visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback, it reigns over the Côtes de Genève-decorated bridges.
And, to ensure nothing is amiss, blue-wise of course, the Villeret Ultraplate watch is worn on an alligator strap clasped by an ardillon buckle.
By Dan Diaconu
DIVING INTO THE PAST
Launched in 1953, the dive watch was adopted by diving enthusiasts worldwide. This limited edition commemorates the version distributed in Germany in the 1960s.
Adopted by professional divers as soon as it was introduced, the technical advantages of the Fifty Fathoms were also adopted by oceanographic exploration specialists as well as by the military forces of various countries. For example, the Blancpain dive watch outfitted the wrists of the German navy in the 1960s. It is still supplied by Barakuda, a renowned diving equipment specialist. It is also the company that made a civilian model available in the German market, recognizable through a few esthetic details. On the dial are two-tone rectangular hour-markers and fluorescent hands painted in white. The date is displayed at 3 o’clock. The 2019 Fifty Fathoms Barakuda edition features these details as well. Large red and white hour-markers covered with cream-colored Super-LumiNova® “old radium” are pointed by white-lacquered pencil-shaped hands. The date is displayed in a prominent window. Everything is surrounded by a unidirectional bezel.
Like the original timepiece, the 500 pieces in the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda series are presented on a tropic-style rubber strap.
Price: 13,180 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
ON A SPECIAL MISSION
Sixty years ago, the watchmaking company created the first modern diver’s watch for the deep-sea missions carried out by the “Nageurs de combat” (Combat Swimmers) military unit. Today, a 300-piece limited edition pays homage to the courage of those ocean experts.
When he joined Blancpain in 1950, Jean-Jacques Fiechter set out to develop a timepiece to accompany professional divers. He himself being passionate about underwater exploration, he understood that such a watch would need to be sturdy, water resistant, reliable and easy to read. Two years later, he was contacted by Robert “Bob“ Maloubier and Claude Riffaud, the founders of the Combat Swimmers, a military unit comprised of formidable divers tasked with deep-sea missions. Named Fifty Fathoms, the watch was born in 1953 and was quickly tested and approved by the Combat Swimmers and added to their kit.
On the matte black dial, the geometric index markers including the famous triangle at 12 o’clock, and the white hour, minute and second hands in the center are generously coated in Super-LumiNova® to make them visible in even the most extreme conditions. A date window at 4:30 completes the information.
The Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de combat is regulated by the automatic 1315 caliber. With three barrels fitted as standard, it provides a power reserve of 5 days (120 hours).
Price: 14,500 CHF
By Sharmila Bertin
EYEFUL OF BLUE
Exclusively available in the brand’s boutiques, this stylish limited edition revisits a classic which stands out for both its technical and aesthetic qualities.
A Blancpain must-have, the Perpetual Calendar from the Villeret collection is unveiled in a new guise this year with a refined limited edition combining a 40.3 mm platinum case with a sublime midnight blue dial The ultimate in classic watchmaking, this complete calendar simultaneously displays the date, the day of the week, the month and leap year information in a rare easy-to-read format. The main advantage of these skillfully displayed indications is that there is no need to correct them until the next century. In this purely aesthetic advancement, the time information is located in the traditional positions at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock. These are completed with a moon phase at 6 o’clock. Despite these complications, adjustment is not difficult. The brand has patented an easy adjustment system using correctors beneath the horns which make it possible to move the hands of the calendar by simply pressing the small levers located on the back of the case.
All the information of this sophisticated calendar including the central second hand and the delicate leaf-shaped hour and minute hands are powered by the 5954 caliber which is revealed through the sapphire case back. This self-winding movement provides an ample power reserve of 72 hours.
The 88 pieces of this exclusive edition each come with an alligator strap in the same shade as the dial and a folding buckle.
Price: 61,870 CHF blancpain.com
By Dan Diaconu
RUNNING ON MILLENNIA-OLD PRINCIPLES
The manufacture is celebrating the Year of the Pig with a limited-edition, platinum version of a watch now seen as a major classic in the Villeret collection.
This timepiece is a real technical feat. First launched by Blancpain in 2012, the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar is unusual in displaying both the Chinese and the Gregorian calendars. The difference between the two lies in the fact that one month in the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle, whereas the Gregorian calendar keeps time with the sun, lasting 11 days longer. The result? Every two or three years, an extra month is added to the Chinese calendar. Another unusual feature of the division of time means the day is sub-divided into 12 two-hour periods, with the first beginning at 11 p.m. All this information is given material form in the limited edition watch, unveiled for the new Year of the Pig, with counters using Chinese characters. The dial is made of full-fired enamel and includes a discreet portrait of the animal in a counter at 12 o’clock. An opening displays the moon phases at 6 o’clock. The composition is encircled by an hour rim with Roman numerals and a Gregorian calendar with a serpentine hand pointing out the information.
The 45mm-wide case of the 50 platinum watches includes five correctors, so that the watch can be adjusted without a tool. Through the sapphire caseback you can admire a white-gold rotor engraved with the year’s zodiac sign. Blancpain is also releasing the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar in an unlimited version made of red gold.
Price: 81,830 EUR (platinum) – 61,870 EUR (red gold) blancpain.com
By Dan Diaconu
As the year draws to a close, Blancpain dazzles our eyes and wrists with four models inspired by Chinese culture and history and displaying all the watchmakers’ craftsmanship and artistry
The fascinating history of China is filled with incredible stories that are now part of its popular culture. Out of the many episodes from a rich past, Blancpain has chosen one in particular about the Four Beauties of Ancient China. The watchmakers have not only given us a journey back in time, but also a chance to enjoy their wide-ranging artistic skills. The series of four unique pieces named Métiers d’Art Great Beauties is an ode to beauty, whether of women, like the four characters, or of craftsmanship, in the decorative techniques used.
Each display on the dials of this quartet of Métiers d’Art Great Beauties calls on the artistic skill of the Blancpain craftsmen and women: “Grand Feu” champlevé enamel and engraving with translucent enamel for the Xi Shi version; shakudō (taken from the Japanese art), engraved and enamelled indices with mother-of-pearl for the Diaochan model; marquetry and engraving on gold or mother-of-pearl for the Wang Zhaojun watch; and lastly, painting on miniature enamel for the Yang Guifei piece.
Each timepiece has a 42mm-wide rose gold case with a double-stepped bezel and, on the dial, sage leaf-shaped hands that are the features of the Villeret collection. The hours and minutes are driven by the 13R3A calibre, a hand-wound movement supplying a 8 hours of power reserve.
Series of 4 unique pieces blancpain.com
By Sharmila Bertin
The colour range recalls the shades of the sky and the sea. This limited edition made exclusively for Bucherer features an elegant blue ceramic.
Like all the timepieces in the Blue Editions collection developed by Bucherer with 14 major watchmaking firms, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Edition Bucherer Blue Editions, as its name suggests, is based around a single colour. While the design is similar to the original watch dating from 1956, it now comes in a blue ceramic, like the Ocean Commitment II limited edition. The same material is used for the unidirectional revolving bezel and the 43.6mm-wide case, which is watertight down to 300m. The sunburst-finish dial has two chronograph totalisers and a small seconds sub-dial, plus the traditional pair of stick-shaped hour and minute hands. The time information is completed by a date counter at 4.30. When you turn the watch over, the sapphire crystal unveils the automatic movement and the rotor in the watch’s signature colour.
Price: 17,800 CHF blancpain.com
By Dan Diaconu
PROTECTING THE DEEP SEA
The brand is continuing its promise to support oceanic research with a limited series. The project’s third outing has just launched.
The idea is simple. 1000 EUR of every watch sold is donated to support science expeditions. Just like the first edition that launched 4 years ago in 2016, Blancpain brings us 250 Fifty Fathoms watches for its Ocean Commitment project. The first two limited series were flyback chronographs but this time the manufacture wanted the new piece to be more in keeping with the original model from 1953. That means the reappearance of a 40mm steel case that’s water-resistant to depths of 300m. The time information is very clear. The chunky luminescent hands glide over a deep blue dial and track luminescent markers. The genuine diving tool features a unidirectional bezel so divers can see their dive time. A date display at 4.40 and the project logo at 6 completes the underwater picture.
Anyone who buys one of these models joins the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle so you can take part in exclusive events and conferences about the science expeditions funded by the brand. It’s worth mentioning that this model comes with two straps: a sail canvas one and a NATO one.
Price: 16,000 CHF blancpain.com
By Dan Diaconu