Today I would like to show two Blancpain timepieces which impressively showcase the aesthetic spectrum in the upper end of the Manufacture‘s Haute Horlogerie segment. Let’s meet the Villeret Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde and the L‘Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel.
A most sensual timepiece
In 2018 Blancpain introduced a timepiece of mesmerizing beauty, the Villeret Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde, reference 66260-3633-55B (red gold) or 66260-3433-55B (platinum).
I had the opportunity to encounter the watch at Baselworld 2018 and I must confess that my heart skipped a beat when I saw it for the first time. The white Grand Feu champlevé enamel dial offers a lot of space with a slightly bolder hand painted Blancpain signature, with the flying tourbillon sitting atop a retrograde minute indication, together they shape the form of a large 8. Integrated into the minute circle we see a round window for the jumping hour.
The perfectly rounded 42mm Villeret supports the character of what I call possibly the most sensual timepiece I have ever encountered, it is pure harmony, classic and exciting at the same time.
When you turn the watch it is no less impressive: the 6 days manual wind calibre 260MR offers a plentiful of detail, including a very subtle power reserve indication. The hand guilloché and hand polished chamfering on the bridges is the icing on the cake.
The flying tourbillon, which in itself already embodies an aesthetic and technical masterpiece due to the tourbillon cage being held only on one side instead of two bridges, is even more impressive in this watch: being held by a sapphire disc, it seems to freely float, creating a truly mesmerizing sight.
No less exciting to observe are the minute and hour indications. Exactly at the top of the hour the minute hand jumps back to zero in a split second and the digital hour changes.
If you want to read more about the Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde, you find it here on the Blancpain website. In addition I recommend to read Jeffrey Kingston‘s excellent article about this watch in the Lettres du Brassus No 19.
An impressive horological machine
Three years earlier, in 2015, Blancpain introduced the L‘Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel reference 92322-34B39-55B, a Grand Complication timepiece with an unusual look in a unique platinum case.
This remarkable timepiece is a more modern interpretation of the previously known combination of those two delicate regulating organs in the Le Brassus Tourbillon Carrousel.
The L’Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel offers some very different aesthetics, dominated by the diamond shaped 47,4mm platinum case and a frosted movement/dial finish which was achieved through NAC coating.
The case itself is a true masterpiece with strong shapes, creating a slightly edgy, bold yet refined character. The massive platinum folding clasp is a perfect continuation of the design.
Let’s get back to the movement: having tourbillon and carrousel working together requires some outstanding technical solutions. Both are individually powered by their own barrel, both barrels are wound simultaneously through a single crown mechanism, which encircles the entire movement. By the use of a differential the output of both tourbillon and carrousel are combined and their running rates averaged. a second differential supports the power reserve indication.
The open worked caliber 2322V2 has an asymmetric appearance, driven by the need to have the regulating organ and its barrel sitting on the the same axis. The multiple levels of the movement are adding to the depth and make you instantly find a loupe to explore it.
Inspired by the engagement in motorsports and the close relationship to Lamborghini, the L’Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel not only marked the horological peak but also the strongest aesthetic translation of this environment. It now is the only timepiece that survived the L’Evolution concept, and it clearly deserves a special place in the world of Blancpain.
I strongly recommend recommend Jeffrey Kingston’s article on the L’Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel in the Lettres du Brassus No 16. You can subscribe to Lettres du Brassus here on the Blancpain website, where you also find the L’Evolution Tourbillon Carrousel here.
I hope you enjoyed this double feature of two very different timepieces, both at the pinnacle of their respective design language.