Eight new models are making their debut for Blancpain this year. These range from retro-inspired variations of the iconic Fifty Fathoms dive watch, to ultra-refined dress watches in the ever popular Villeret collection. And, of course, the completely unexpected rebirth of an intriguing pilot’s watch shrouded in myth. There is something to suit just about all tastes. To give you some idea of what you can expect from Blancpain’s 2019 novelties, we’ve profiled four of our favourites below for you.
In 1953, Blancpain launched a mechanical dive watch that would help define the genre. Considered by many to be the first modern dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms lay the foundation for what would become a legendary collection of watches. This year, Blancpain reimagines that sporty and distinguished character with a touch of luxury flair.
The case of the new Fifty Fathoms Automatique Céramique measures 45mm x 15.40mm and is hewn from warm red gold, giving it immediate presence on the wrist. The two-part ceramic dial meanwhile is a striking sunburst blue, complete with large Arabic numerals and triangular shaped hour-markers.
The indices and central hands (hours, minutes and seconds) are all generously treated with Superluminova® to ensure optimal legibility even in low-light conditions. A date window appears at 4:30. Framing the dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel with a blue sapphire insert and luminous markings.
Inside is the manufacture calibre 1315, beating at a steady 4hz. This self-winding movement features a matching rose gold rotor and offers 120 hours of power reserve when fully wound. It is handsomely finished and visible through the sapphire caseback.
Blancpain has always had a way with understated elegance. The brand truly understands that luxury doesn’t necessarily mean ostentatious. Sometimes it’s just about doing the little things really, really well. And that is exactly what the brand has done with its new Villeret Ultraplate 6605.
This is the dress watch in its most pure, unadulterated form. A refined 40mm round case in your choice of rose gold or steel that measures just 7.39mm thick.
A minimalist dial that displays only the hours and minutes, complete with stylised Roman numeral hour markers distinct to the Villeret collection. And that’s it. No fluff, no filler, just the essentials.
Things get a little more elaborate on the reverse side, however. A sapphire caseback opens onto the hand-wound calibre 11A4B. Oscillating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, the balance wheel features a silicon hairspring. Two barrels, coupled in series, store up to 95 hours of power reserve when fully wound. A power reserve indicator, visible on the rear of the movement, lets you keep track of remaining power. Geneva stripes adorn the bridges, making for a very attractive finish.
In the world of vintage watches, some models are so rare that their very existence remains a point of debate. The Blancpain Air Command model very much fits into this category. According to the world’s premier watch auction house, Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, there is no official documentation about the original version. Scholars are of the opinion that it was never commercialized or produced in series. And yet, Phillips sold a prime example of one for over $100k back in 2016. So, what’s the deal?
Its speculated that the Air Command was created as a prototype pilot’s watch for the US Air Force back in the 1960’s. No orders were placed, however, and the project was not pursued. Now, some 50 years later, Blancpain is reissuing this mythical model in a 500-piece vintage style edition.
Offered in a steel case measuring 42.5mm x 13.7mm high, it features a two-way rotating steel bezel with ceramic insert and Superluminova® hour-markers. The sunburst-black dial is almost a direct recreation of the original. From the Arabic numerals to the inner tachymeter scale, to the bi-compax layout of the chronograph registers.
Inside is the calibre F388B, beating at a high frequency of 5Hz (or 36,000 vibrations/hour) to ensure greater accuracy. A self-winding movement, it is equipped, with a vertical clutch, column-wheel and flyback function for the chronograph. Anti-magnetic silicon parts are used for the regulating organ. Visible through a sapphire caseback, the movement is nicely decorated, with polished bevels, brushed bridges and a new propeller-shaped, gold-coloured rotor.
Also joining the Villeret collection this year is a new women’s date watch in a range of interpretations. Perfect for daily wear or more formal occasions, this new model is sure to find favour with discerning buyers who appreciate attention to detail.
The classically stepped case measures an elegant 33.2mm x 9.15mm thick and is available in red gold or steel. The opaline dial features stylised Roman numerals and a generous-sized date, shown via an oval window subtly integrated within the chapter ring at 3 o’clock.
Hours, minutes and seconds are shown centrally by beautifully-sculpted hands in metal matching the case. For something extra special, there is the option of a diamond set dial framed by a single row of diamonds set into the case. Please note though that this variation is exclusively available in red gold and is worn on a matching Mille Mailles bracelet.
Behind the dial is the manufacture calibre 1151, a self-winding movement offering 100 hours of power reserve. It is visible through a sapphire caseback and again showcases Geneva striping and other exceptional finishing techniques.
To learn more about the models presented above or any of the exclusive timepieces available from Blancpain, please contact our Watches of Switzerland Melbourne International Airport Boutique or Watches of Switzerland Sydney Boutique today.