One of the signature 40mm Leman series models was undoubtedly the GMT Reveil reference 2041. In this essay we will take a closer look at the two regular collection stainless steel versions with black or white dial, but also include two existing rare iterations in the same metal and a detour into the titanium versions.
About the GMT Reveil
Reference 2041 was introduced in the early 2000s, building on a collaboration between Blancpain and Breguet to create a modern take on an alarm watch. Breguet called their timepiece the Reveil du Tsar, Blancpain simultaneously launched the Leman GMT Reveil.
The purpose behind this creation was to make a sophisticated travel watch, indicating two time zones, allowing for a quick time/date adjustment during travel and last but not least offering a high end alarm function.
To set the watch apart from existing alarm wristwatches the functionality was improved by setting the alarm with a separate set of hour and minute hands, on/off and alarm power reserve indicators and the ability to build the alarm power reserve directly through the two usual ways of an automatic watch (either movement on your wrist or hand winding) while keeping it stored in a separate barrel.
But not only that: the sensual quality of the alarm is outstanding: the hammer hits a gong which is circling the movement, creating a very nice sound compared to other alarm watches where a hammer hits the inner case.
Let’s get to the display and functionality of time, date and second time zone. The watch provides a 24h indication at 9 o’clock which also works as the home time zone. The actual time is displayed with large skeleton hour and minute hands, next to a small seconds indication at the 6 o’clock position.
The central hour hand can be set individually backwards and forwards, carrying the date switch with it, also either forward or backwards. This is a very quick and comfortable way to set the watch to a different time zone, including the date jump. It comes at the expense of the timepiece not having a quick set function for the date, though.
So this is a complicated yet very functional timepiece. Its caliber 1241 consists of 407 parts, it oscillates a 4Hz, provides hacking seconds and a power reserve of 40 hours.
Caliber 1241 is decorated in the typical style of the 40mm Leman series, with Geneva stripes, perlage, polished bevels and heat blued screws. The rhodinated 18ct gold rotor carries the Blancpain signature in blue lacquer and Geneva stripes, mirroring the finish of the bridges.
The highlight is the alarm hammer with its stepped shape and the mirror polished top surface while the other steps show again Geneva stripes.
The aesthetics of the Leman GMT Reveil
Reference 2041 features the typical Leman case with 40mm in diameter and 13.3mm in height. Two screw down crowns, visually connected through a central crown guard, sit across a screw down pusher to activate the alarm.
This asymmetrical configuration compliments the asymmetrical dial layout. There are a lot of indications on this dial, and the layout reminds me of the traditional Breguet philosophy which focuses on the movement design with the indications on the dial side simply following.
Whether one likes this dial layout or not, the execution is undoubtedly sublime. We find all those virtues Blancpain Leman dials are known for: multiple layers, flawless prints, beautiful finish. Let’s get deeper into this in the next section.
The two regular collection stainless steel versions
The Leman GMT Reveil was originally introduced in various precious metals and two iterations with a polished stainless steel case, one with black dial, the other with a porcelain like white dial. Besides the color they both share the military style numerals, but the way those are applied is very different.
The ebony black dial has this typical brown hue to it, more clearly visible with the replacement crystal which features a color neutral AR coating. To show the difference between to the original crystal with the typical blue hue of the AR coating the following gallery includes a comparative shot of the standard 2041-1130M (replacement crystal) and the limited 2041B-1130M for East Coast Jewelry:
The black dial 2041 has the military style numerals executed with SuperLuminova, creating a clear view at night. In comparison the white dial 2041 features those numerals executed in gray non-luminous paint, so the night visibility is very different:
Talking about the white dial version, this is the one and only Blancpain featuring a glossy white dial finish, reminding of porcelain or enamel. It has a very different appeal than the typical grained white dials we know from the Villeret or Leman series.
The white dial seems to emphasize the asymmetric layout even more, the prints and the various indications appear more pronounced than with the black dial version.
There have been only two other Leman GMT Reveil in stainless steel, both extremely rare: the above shown 2041B-1130M East Coast Jewelry (20 pieces) and the 2041A-1130M A‘Toute Vitesse (12 pieces).
Besides precious metals the regular collection lineup of reference 2041 also included two titanium models, one in plain Ti Grade 5, the other with red gold crowns and hands. Both were available with titanium X-71 bracelets, just as the stainless steel 2041 models also came with a X-71 in the same metal.
The two titanium iterations featured the main numerals in the so-called Aqua Lung style. The indication of the alarm time remained to be executed with Military style numerals, which gave this iteration a little less aesthetic consistency.
The titanium case had a brushed finish, which de-emphasizes the beautiful shapes of the Leman case in my opinion. The titanium/red gold version however creates a very unique and interesting impression.
The GMT Reveil 2041 was one of the first 40mm Leman models, and it was one that stayed the longest in the catalogue. It was made in many different versions, a lot of them in precious metals, and it even had a successor reference, namely the GMT Reveil 2841 which was only available in white or red gold.
The face of the Leman GMT Reveil looks complicated, and it is a complicated timepiece albeit with unrivaled functionality. This reference was born prior to a predominantly digital world, it was a mechanical travel companion that delivered on its purpose.
A timeless size, automatic winding, quick time zone change, a reliable and good sounding alarm, water resistance of 100m, luminescence… the list goes on and on. The versatility of reference 2041 should probably be pointed out, too: you can wear it on a more formal alligator strap just as well as on a more casual calf leather strap, with the additional option of the bracelet.
No, it’s not your typical Blancpain. The dial configuration is too extraordinary, too busy to match the popular desire for a simple design timepiece. But that’s what I personally like about it, it is different, it is a watch that offers a lot and a beautiful, functional anachronism in today’s digital world.
You find the current GMT Reveil within the Villeret line here on the Blancpain website. A dedicated blog essay on the limited GMT Reveil East Coast Jewelry is available here, part two of my Leman anthology dealing with the 40mm models here and a recent collector’s guide for the 2100/Leman series here in the blog.
I hope you enjoyed this Flashback essay and the photos.
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