We’re only a month away from the start of America’s Luxury Watch Show, WatchTime New York 2015, taking place October 23-24 at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. (Click here for event details, including a complete list of exhibiting brands, and to purchase tickets). More than a dozen luxury brands will exhibit at the event, including Blancpain, which will showcase its new Blancpain Villeret Grand Date, the first big-date watch in the Villeret line.
The Grand Date is built on Caliber 6950, an automatic movement first presented by Blancpain in 2005, which 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.
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, introduced in March at Baselworld 2015, 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.
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 Blancpain Villeret Grand Date costs $21,300. In stainless steel, it’s $11,660. If you’re interested in getting a closer look at this watch and seeing how it looks on your own wrist, click here to reserve your spot at WatchTime New York, America’s Luxury Watch Show.