In a couple of months the legendary Swiss watchmaking house Blancpain will update its collection of vintage-styled dress timekeepers with a beautiful Blancpain Collection Villeret Retrograde (Ref. 6653Q-1529-55B) automatic wrist watch that sports a finely crafted dial, which is executed using rare “flinque” technique. The watch will be officially presented during the upcoming Baselworld 2012 trade show.
In two words, “flinque” technique means that an object is guilloched and then covered with multiple layers of lacquer that provide its surface with very deep, rich color.
Photos, even promotional ones, rare do the technique its due, but in real life the flinqued dials look absolutely gorgeous.
Together with applied Roman numerals and a set of polished hands, the dial of the watch leaves lasting impression. I am only not sure about the shape of the numerals: to my taste, the effect would have been even more mesmerizing if Blancpain designers took some serif font for them that would better match the corporate logo, which is placed at 12 o’clock.
As you can see on the photos, the dial of the watch features only five hands, all of them crafted from white gold: the leaf-shaped hour and minute hands tell time, the retrograde indicator at 6 o’clock indicates power reserve of its “ultra-slim” mechanism, and the serpentine hand points at current date.
By the way, the date indicator is operated not with the crown, as usual, but with a more convenient push-piece, which is hidden under one of the lugs approximately at 5 hours.
It is also nice to note that the new Blancpain Villeret Retrograde is offered in a comparatively slim, compact body.
Being 40 millimeters in diameter, it is less than 11 millimeters thick, which makes the watch especially comfortable when wearing a tight-cuffed shirt. Thanks to the rather short lugs, the watch will look good even on a skinny wrist.
The small size of the winding crown may be somewhat uncomfortable for persons with thick fingers, but, at the same time, the crown will never bite the back of your hand.
According to their official press release, the watch is animated by their in-house Caliber 7663Q automatic movement. Although details are still scarce, it is known that the movement is less than 5 millimeters thick, is built on 34 jewels and comprises whole 244 components.
Its mainspring stores enough power to keep the watch going for as long as 72 hours, so you can leave it unattended for the whole weekend and it will still keep ticking on a gloomy Monday morning.
No info on pricing yet, but it certainly won’t be cheap, probably something in the vicinity of $20,000 USD*.
*UPDATE ON PRICE: We have just received confirmation that the watch will be offered with an MSRP of $22.000 that seems to be legitimate for a watch that is offered in a relatively compact white gold body.
Blancpain Collection Villeret Retrograde (Ref. 6653Q-1529-55B) automatic watch specification
Price: $22,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Blancpain Caliber 7663Q, 244 components, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 34
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight in white gold, guilloched; Bridges with Geneva stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, retrograde power reserve
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case material: White gold, polished
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40 mm
Case height: 10.83 mm
Lug width: N/A
Dial: Blue, guilloched, lacquered
Hour markers: N/A
Hands: White gold, polished
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Alligator leather strap with an alzavel lining on a folding clasp
Case back: Sapphire