Skeleton watches continue to be hot items for collectors, and Blancpain‘s Squelette 8 Jours (Ref. 6633-1500-55B), from the brand’s elegant Villeret collection, offers one of the most intricately executed openworked movements on the market. The manufacture movement on display through the front and back sapphire crystals is the manual-wind Calibre 1333SQ, which is equipped with a titanium balance, a Breguet balance spring, and three series-coupled barrels that provide the timepiece an impressive eight-day (“8 Jours” en Francais) power reserve. The movement is entirely skeletonized and meticulously decorated with chamfering (also known as bevelling) and engraving.
The challenge for a watchmaker in skeletonizing a watch movement is achieving the perfect balance between reducing it to its essentials for aesthetics’ sake while preserving its robustness and operability. In the case of Blancpain’s Calibre 1333SQ, the horological artisans pared the movement down to its extremely slender shape (just 4.2 mm, despite its 157 parts; it is 30.6 mm in diameter) through many hours of filing and chamfering, using a broad range of traditional tools. The extreme difficulty of the process is evident in the many arched shapes with interior angles. The finishing touch comes from the engraver, who adds a traditional “scrolling” motif to the bridges and mainplate, which accentuates the rounded curves of the barrels, case and bridges. This means that the entire surface is engraved by hand, even the most delicate parts.
As befits a watch with this level of craftsmanship, it comes in a white-gold case, 38 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 30 meters. The strap is made of Mississippi alligator leather. The price is $65,000.
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