Baselworld 2015: Blancpain Villeret Grand Date (Updated with Live Photos)


Blancpain Villeret Grand Date thumb 150At Baselworld 2015, Blancpain adds a new watch to the Villeret Collection: the Blancpain Villeret Grand Date. It will be the first big-date watch in the Villeret line, and it recasts a caliber that Blancpain presented in 2005.

The Grand Date is built on Caliber 6950, an automatic movement that is 32 mm wide and 4.75 mm thick. The 6950 has two mainspring barrels for a 72-hour power reserve. The movement has 285 components, among them 35 jewels. The big-date mechanism is designed to shift instantly at midnight. Caliber 6950 has a free-sprung Glucydur balance wheel and gold screws for fine adjustment. The balance spring is made of silicon.

Blancpain Villeret Grand Date soldier 560Blancpain Villeret Grand Date soldier CU 560

The dial has a subtle sense of depth. Rose-gold hands for the hour, minutes and seconds sit atop a silvered opaline dial. The hour and minutes hands are thickest at the middle, where they bear luminous material, before tapering out. The applied Roman numeral indexes for the hours emerge from the dial to give a greater three-dimensionality. The two windows of the big date display at 6 o’clock are sunken down two levels from the main dial, which matches the “double pomme” graduated design of the bezel.

The Villeret Grand Date is cased in rose gold. It’s 40 mm wide and 10.88 mm thick. Between the lugs it is 22 mm wide. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters. The fluted crown bears the Blancpain logo, as does the counterweight on the seconds hand. Through the Grand Date’s caseback, one can see the côtes de Genève decorations on the baseplate and the “honeycomb” design on the rose-gold oscillating weight.

Blancpain Villeret Grand Date back 560Blancpain Villeret Grand Date crown CU 560

As to the origins of Caliber 6950, one has to go back a little ways. Ten years, in fact: Blancpain last used this movement for its 270th anniversary in 2005, when it released the 2,005-piece limited edition Léman Grand Date “Aqua Lung.” On a rubber strap and with a hefty dose of Super-LumiNova, that piece was intended as a divers’ watch. The new Grand Date shows how one caliber can play very distinct roles depending how you dress it up. With its rose gold case and brown alligator strap, this Grand Date is much more of an elegant dress watch, in keeping with the Villeret collection. Its other distinction from the earlier Caliber 6950 is a sign of the times: the Villeret Grand Date uses a silicon balance spring, which Blancpain now incorporates in all of its manufacture movements.

As shown here, the rose-gold version of the Villeret Grand Date costs $21,300. In stainless steel, it’s $11,660.

Blancpain Villeret Grand Date glamor 560
Blancpain Villeret Grand Date movement CU 560

Below are some photos we snapped of the Blancpain Villeret Grande Date (gold and steel versions) at Baselworld 2015 this week. We found it to be perhaps even more elegant-looking in person.

Blancpain Villeret Grande Date - gold
Blancpain Villeret Grande Date - gold back
Blancpain Villeret Grande Date - steel
2 Responses to “Baselworld 2015: Blancpain Villeret Grand Date (Updated with Live Photos)”

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  1. Carl Dreher

    It is difficult to judge a watch from photos, but the gold numerals against the white background just are too hard for me to distinguish.

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  2. Wonder what the price range will be? I know, if you have to ask you can’t afford it! Very nice dress watch, perfect size at 40mm. Simple, understated and classy. Not a big fan of the rose gold though.

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