Sunday, 7 October 2007

Blancpain

When Jacques Blancpain initialled his first watch in 1735, he set the seal of excellence for watchmaking craftsmanship and his consummate skills have been passed down faithfully over the centuries. The tradition that was born in the Jura region of the Swiss Alps more than 250 years ago is still carried on meticulously with each Blancpain maker responsible for his own watches.

Neither are they enamoured of mass production; each minute repeater takes an average of three months to complete, with delivery time often exceeding three years. Such is the hallmark of Blancpain quality that time, paradoxically, is of little consequence in the creation of an individual watch.

As the oldest watch name in the world and one that thumbs its nose at quartz movements, Blancpain does not produce collections - only one model for men and one for ladies. And there will never be "simple" movements, only those which are masterpieces of the art of watchmaking. The ultra-thin automatic movement, the moon-phase calendar, the perpetual calendar and the minute repeater.

The Blancpain watch chimes the hour, quarter-hour and minute when required. It has more than 30 rubies and almost 300 separate parts, some finer than a human hair and all worked by hand. For all this complexity, the watch movement is only 3.2mm thick and 21mm in diameter.

A visitor, if there should be one so privileged, will not see a factory or production workshop. There are only rooms in which several watchmakers give their undivided attention to their creations at work benches.

Blancpain offers exclusively one case shape in two different sizes. True to its tradition, all component parts are made by hand. Whether a conventional leather strap or foldaway leather clasp, each bracelet is hand-sewn.

1 comment:

Alchemist said...

Actually, Blancpain produces several collections. There is the Villeret collection made of ultra thin movements in 38 and 40 mm. Variations include the Ultra Slim 6223, the Triple Date Moon Phase Calendar 6263, the single push Chronograph 6185 and the Tourbillon 6025.

The Leman collection is for the active lifestyle with 38 and 40 mm models. This includes the 38mm brushed steel Aqualung or the 40mm brushed steel or brushed red gold version. There is the 38mm Dual Time Zone and the new 40mm version with Arabic numerals introduced at the 2007 Basel fair. The Triple Date Moon Phase Calendar 2863 has correctors under the lugs and the 2041 GMT/Alarm is redesigned this year with a new GMT display. The ever popular Flyback Chronograph is available in the 38mm 2185F and the new 40mm version with Grande Date is available in the 2885F. A new version this year is the 2885F in brushed steel/black dial and brushed red gold/opaline dial.

The Le Brassus collection housed multiple complications in their 42mm cases. Examples are the 4276 GMT/Moon Phase Triple Date Calendar limited to 200 pieces in platinum or the 4289Q which houses a flying tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, and a split-flyback chronograph.

The new Fifty Fathom collection was made in 45mm cases and consists of an new movement in the automatic 5015, a flyback chronograph in the 5085F and a tourbillon in the 5025. All are designed with a transparent sapphire bezel and luminous hands and indexes. More information on this new collection can be found on the Blancpain website at www.blancpain.com

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