Blancpain has a long tradition of presenting watches for St. Valentine’s Day and the upcoming year will not be an exception. Their new Blancpain Saint Valentin 2014 (Ref. 6604-4654-55B) automatic wristwatch, which is designed for ladies who have a really good taste when it comes to luxury items, seems to be based on their previous Saint-Valentin 2013 Limited Edition model, but features a more sober design to its dial and a bit more modest level of decoration for the stainless steel body and the automatic movement that powers it.
The movement in question is still the same Caliber 1150, which is based on the same Frederic Piguet 1150 mechanism that independent watchmakers operating within the ultra-luxury segment seem to be so fond of.
As usual, there are lots of hearts there, but this time they are more inconspicuous with only one purple-colored heart shape dominating the timekeeper’s dial. The rest of them are quite modest and require a longer look at the face to be noticed.
Another nice thing about the new ref. 6604-4654-55B is its thin bezel. Not only it looks extremely light thanks to dozens of diamonds set atop of it, it also allows for a larger dial opening: something that you rarely see when it comes to mechanical watches of such a small diameter.
I, as usual, think that equipping this timepiece with skeletonized hands was nod the best idea: filling the traditional for this style leaf-shaped hands with Superluminova compound would not only make the watch more legible at night, but would also better suit the overall sense of solidness that this piece seems to possess.
The oscillating weight of the movement, too, features a very modestly executed heart, which is cut through its circular-brushed yellow gold mass.
Although, to my taste, the original stainless steel oscillating weight with its nicely done vertical Geneva Stripes looked more imposing than the new one, there is at least one practical consideration that makes the new rotor more preferable: even despite the heart-shaped cutout, the mass of gold has more inertia than steel, which makes the winding mechanism a bit more efficient than that of the original.
Measuring just 3.25 millimeters in height and just over 26 millimeters in diameter, the movement allowed Blancpain engineers to create a very compact timepiece, which is less than 34 millimeters wide and only 8.65 mm thick. For a watch, which is supposed to be tied to a thin wrist of a lady, the size of this thing seems almost perfect.
By the way, despite its small size, the mechanism features a very impressive power reserve of 100 hours: not enough for the watch to be left outside of an automatic winder safe from Sunday morning to Friday night, but still quite descent for such a compact piece of jewelry.
The remarkable power reserve comes courtesy of two spring barrels that, while not overcomplicating the movement’s design and not adding much to its size, make this timekeeper a lot more comfortable to use.
So far, Blancpain plans to limit its production to just 99 individually numbered pieces with a great share of them possibly going to clients in China and Russia.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Blancpain Saint Valentin 2014 (Ref. 6604-4654-55B) Automatic watch specification
Price: Approx. $20,000
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 1150 (base FP1150), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 28
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 100 hours
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, polished screws, open-worked oscillating weight in yellow gold
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case, decorated with diamonds (0.9 carats)
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 33.90 mm
Case height: 8.65 mm
Lug width: 18.00 mm
Dial: White mother-of-pearl
Hour markers: 7 diamonds (0.04 carats)
Hands: Open-worked, white gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: White leather strap
Case back: Sapphire