When it comes to discussing watches in blogs or fora, the segment of highly sophisticated mechanical timepieces for ladies often falls short. That’s an unfortunate fact, especially in the case of Blancpain who have an even longer tradition of mechanical watches for women than of the popular dive watches. So, let’s take a look at three beautiful examples from three decades.
All watches shown and discussed in this essay have been or are available in different versions and/or sizes for gentlemen, with the same movements. Let’s not forget that Blancpain is one of the few brands that never thought of women’s watches purely from an aesthetic point of view but took them just as serious technically as their timepieces made for men.
Sure, there are women‘s watches with pronounced feminine elements, may it be a playful design language or diamond bezels or dial markers. Ever since Blancpain introduced the Ladybird in the 1930s, the Manufacture has entertained the combination of fine watchmaking with Haute Joaillerie, one example being the annual Saint Valentin editions.
The three watches in this essay however show very little of that, they are more geared towards the basic Blancpain aesthetics and of course their functionality. These are every day and every occasion timepieces, fitting perfectly in every environment.
The Flyback 2385F from the 1990s
The Flyback Chronograph from the 2100/Leman series is undoubtedly one of Blancpain‘s signature models. When it was introduced in the mid 1990s it was available in two sizes, 38mm and 34mm, right from the start.
The revered aesthetics of the Flyback work just as well in the 34mm timepiece as they do in the larger version. Possibly they work even better since the 2385F-1130-71 is showing on its dial that the movement fits the size of the case precisely.
Speaking of the movement: the watch is powered by caliber F185, which is used in a wide variety of Blancpain chronographs until this very day. It is recognized as one of the world’s best integrated chronograph movements with column wheel and vertical clutch, offering 40 hours of power reserve and consisting of 308 parts. Unfortunately it’s hidden behind a solid case back.
The 2385F case and bracelet offer the same aesthetic code like the larger 38mm version. The watch also features the screw down crown and chronograph pushers, and of course the Blancpain signature engraved on the case flank.
The Women Time Zone 3760 from the early 2000s
The theoretical reference number of this 34mm beauty would be 6730-1136-71, but: this watch never came with the option of the X-71 bracelet. The stainless steel Women Double Time Zone was available with a black or – in this case – champagne dial and corresponding satin straps on deployant, in addition there was a white gold version with gemstones and a Havana brown dial.
The custom fitted bracelet usually belonged to a Women Quantieme Complet, and as an additional customization it was re-finished to have an all mirror polished execution.
The engraved dial features a Mother of Pearl insert for the day/night indicator and an oval shaped minute track, which does not really improve readability but visually connects the sub dials for the second time zone and the small seconds. As a nice detail, the date window is also oval shaped.
This exceptional dial carries faceted applied white gold roman numerals and indexes, the bold leaf hands carry some light blue colored SuperLuminova.
And the visual treat continues when you turn the watch: caliber 5L60 is visible through a sapphire case back, and like with the 2385F the movement it fills the space nicely.
Caliber 5L60 is based on the well known 1151, providing 100 hours of power reserve and containing 253 parts. It allows for the main hour hand jumping back and forth, carrying the date change with it, also back and forth. A very comfortable way to adjust time zones when traveling.
The Ultra Plate 6651 from today’s collection
Other than the previous two, this timepiece is not necessarily intended as a women’s watch by Blancpain. So I am cheating a bit here, but it definitely is a beautiful choice for a lady. What gives it the feminine touch above everything else is no doubt the fabulous Milles Mailles bracelet.
The matte white dial shows a slightly grained finish with applied Roman numerals. The skeleton leaf hands are typical for the Villeret series and add to an expression that’s blending elegant and casual aspects.
Reference 6651-1127-MMB has a diameter of 40mm at a height of less than 10mm. These dimensions make it a rather large timepiece for a slender wrist, but it still sits very comfortably on the wrist.
The aspect of comfort is put to a new level with the Milles Mailles bracelet. In its aesthetics it reminds of vintage beads of rice bracelets, here however the quality and workmanship is exceptional.
The bracelet tapers ever so slightly, with each row containing alternately 7 or 8 loops, framed by larger lateral elements. The bracelet is assembled by hand in a very precise way, the result is simply outstanding and probably the most comfortable way to wear a stainless steel bracelet.
The Villeret Ultra-Plat is powered by caliber 1151, a good old friend from many different Blancpain timepieces, providing 4 days of power reserve. Here we can see it through a sapphire case back with the typical Villeret decoration:
I hope to enjoyed this overview on three women’s timepieces from three different decades. If I got you interested to dig deeper into the world of feminine Blancpain, here you find my essay on the Ladybird (including a segment on Marilyn Monroe’s watch and the related Saint Valentin watch) and an overview on all Saint Valentin timepieces can be found here in the blog.
The Villeret collection with a huge variety of women’s timepieces (and those with a diameter up to 40mm) can be found here on the Blancpain website.