Now that the dust has settled and I was able to digest what I have seen during my photo session with the Blancpain novelties and encountered in the first days after the launch on May 17 with writing my reports and following worldwide online coverage, it’s time to share my personal conclusions on the Blancpain Time to Move presentation.
Well, how to start? While I continue to ponder about that question, let’s take a step back and watch this excellent interview with Marc Hayek during the Time to Move press event, held by the well known and highly experienced Alexander Linz, Head of Content at watchadvisor.com:
You can tell from the video that Marc Hayek seemed very happy about the lineup of the Blancpain novelties, and rightfully so!
This now brings me to the topic of this post:
The 2019 Blancpain novelties put in perspective
I have done a series of reports on last year’s novelties, and I found it a very strong performance with the exceptional Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minutes Retrogrades, the Bathyscaphe models and of course the Villeret Quantieme Perpetuel.
This year, despite the absence of a new Haute Horlogerie model, I found the lineup even stronger.
Two watches stand out for the simple reason that no one expected them: the Air Command and the Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat “. They showcase two different approaches when it comes to revisit the Manufacture’s heritage with a watch:
The Air Command is a faithful tribute to an iconic and mystical timepiece, picking up all major design elements of the vintage marvel, but with today’s superior quality in all components. Let’s also appreciate that Blancpain went the extra mile by having all components made specifically and exclusively for this timepiece, with only 500 specimen to be made.
The Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat” on the other hand incorporates the heritage through only two significant elements: the dial and the case back engraving. These only two elements make an outstanding watch with an unmistakable own identity.
A lot of positive feedback in was granted to the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda, the now fourth 40mm limited edition since 2003 and third in a row for three consecutive years. And what’s not to like about it? It stands strong in the tradition of the previous 40mm editions.
Part of that success is that all those 40mm Fifty Fathoms combine elements of vintage icons (with the Ocean Commitment III to a slightly lesser degree), another major aspect is certainly the size. The demand for a smaller than 45mm Fifty Fathoms seems strong and many ask for a non-limited 40mm FF.
It’s a delicate decision for Blancpain to make: on one hand those that want a standard version, on the other hand those that own one or multiple of the four limited editions, who want the exclusivity honored. For the moment we have to listen to Marc Hayek, who said in the above listed video that 40mm Fifty Fathoms models remain reserved for collectors in small quantities.
The standard Fifty Fathoms collection got full circle with ref 5015 in titanium and in brushed red gold with blue ceramic dial. It shows the Fifty Fathoms 5015 is still very much alive and kicking after 12 years since it was introduced.
A few years back the Villeret line saw a lot of beautiful additions in its upper segment, with Grand Feu enamel dials and eight day movements.
This year the Villeret line has seen wonderful entry models for men and women. They embody pure class and absolutely timeless design, combined with exceptional execution. The Villeret Extra-plate ref 6605 can become a future signature model within the model family, and the fact that it features a manual wind calibre makes it even more compelling.
And let’s not forget that there is one more new watch introduced this year, albeit not during Time to Move: the wonderful Villeret Quantieme Perpetuel Boutique edition in platinum with its stunning blue dial:
Now, is there something to criticize with this year’s lineup of new Blancpain timepieces?
Sure there is:
The decision for those that don’t have unlimited budgets, which of the novelties to aim for, is very, very difficult! And there’s not a lot of time to make up your mind since some of the superstar watches are limited and will most likely get reserved pretty quick.
Usually we found one or two superstar watches in an annual Blancpain novelties lineup, and often they sat at opposite sides of the Blancpain spectrum, like last year the Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minutes Retrogrades and the Bathyscaphe Jour Date 70s. That made a buying decision a lot easier ( although the later release of the FF OC III was making it a bit complicated again).
But getting serious about the question: no, there is really not a lot to criticize about the Blancpain novelties for 2019. Each watch is typical Blancpain: utterly beautiful, perfectly executed and highly desirable. I have read multiple opinions that Blancpain hit a multiple home-run this year, and I feel exactly the same way.
With 3 limited editions, 2 new Fifty Fathoms models and three new Villeret timepieces the previously consolidated collection finds some strong additions. Well done!
Closing this post, I would like to expressively thank Alexander Linz for allowing blancpainblog to feature his video! Visit watchadvisor.com or watch his YouTube channel for solid information about a wide range of brands.
And as with the individual reports on the new watches: a big THANK YOU goes to Blancpain for the opportunity to see the timepieces, make hands-on photos and subsequently report about them in this blog.