Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar
At Baselworld last month, Blancpain presented the first wristwatch equipped with a traditional Chinese calendar. The Blancpain Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar is a perpetual calendar, but instead of displaying the typical Gregorian calendar, it displays the Chinese calendar.
The Blancpain Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar timepiece comes in a 45 mm diameter platinum case, with a cabochon-cut ruby fitted into the crown. Five integrated under-lug correctors allow the wearer to adjust the indications. The Villeret collection's signature features are incorporated into the design: its double-stepped shape, a grand feu enamel dial with a chapter ring composed of gold appliques ,and indications transferred before the firing process, the main hands shaped like slightly hollowed leaves and the blued steel Gregorian date pointer appearing in the traditional serpentine form.
The new self-winding movement is caliber 3638, which has 434 parts, 39 jewels and a 7-day power reserve. "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."
On the dial, the hours, minutes and Gregorian calendar are displayed alongside 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 12 animals of the zodiac represent terrestrial branches that follow the sixty-year cycle which is very important in 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."
This is a timepiece clearly aimed at the Chinese market, which makes sense considering China is Blancpain's biggest market.
This 20-piece limited edition watch is equipped with a white gold oscillating weight, set with a Madagascar ruby and engraved with a dragon to celebrate the year 2012. It is also available in a non-limited red gold version.