For 2009 Blancpain introduces 2 new movements based on Caliber 13R0. The first is the automatic winding Caliber 13R5 with date and power reserve, and the second is Caliber 66R9 with complete calendar and moonphase displays. Along with Calibers 5025 and 1241H, these movements power 4 watches in a new line called L-evolution. The collection includes the Automatique 8 Jours, Moon Phase 8 Jours, Alarm GMT, and Tourbillon GMT. L-evolution timepieces share 3 instantly recognizable design elements: a sporty 43.5mm case with double-stepped sides, oversized numerals, and multi-level skeletonized dials. Let’s take a closer look…
Automatique 8 Jours
As you might guess from the model name, the Caliber 13R5 powering this piece adds automatic winding to Blancpain’s Caliber 13R0. Like the 13R0, the 13R5 offers a titanium free-sprung balance wheel with 4 gold screws used to control the rate. A quarter-turn of 2 diametrically opposed screws changes the rate by 30 seconds per day. A high-density gold rotor winds 3 barrels that provide an 8 day power reserve. The date can be adjusted forward or back and at any time, including around midnight. The new caliber measures 30.6mm x 4.57mm and has 36 jewels and 243 components.
On the design front, the Automatique 8 Jours has a complex dial with a cut-out central opening that reveals the baseplate’s Côtes de Genève decoration. However the first things you’re likely to notice are the oversized, three-dimensional Arabic 3 and 9. The case is fitted with new detachable lugs, a feature that facilitates attaching a metal bracelet. The Automatique 8 Jours is available in steel or red gold versions teamed with a rubber-lined black or brown strap in alligator leather and a triple-blade folding clasp.
The L-evolution Automatique 8 Jours, pictured below, is priced at $17,300 in steel and $32,600 in red gold.
Moon Phase 8 Jours
This model features Blancpain’s new Caliber 66R9 with moon phase, complete calendar and power reserve. This movement is also based on Caliber 13R0. The complications are not added via plates or modules, but are integrated into the caliber, and we’re told that that the moon phase, at 13.5mm, is the largest in the industry. The movement measures 32mm x 7.6mm and has 325 components including 36 jewels. The movement’s most impressive technical innovation is a system that allows the date, day, month and moon phase to be corrected at any time of the day or night – including around midnight. On many watches, this operation would damage the movement if performed near the date-change time. Like the Automatique 8 Jours, the Moon Phase dial includes oversized numerals and cut-outs revealing the base plate decoration.
The L-evolution Moon Phase 8 Jours is priced at $22,100 in steel and $37,400 in red gold.
The L-evolution Alarm GMT is a new model that houses Blancpain’s Caliber 1241H which was introduced in 2003. This 407-component movement took 4 years to develop. It has twin barrels: one to power the watch and one to power the alarm. The alarm hand and date are interdependent with the local time zone display.
Like the other L-evolution models, the Alarm GMT dial creates a multi-level effect. The lower-level cut-away reveals the underlying vertical Côtes de Genève. On the upper level, a skeletonised cut-out features a small 9 o’clock numeral and a larger 3 o’clock numeral. It also displays the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, the alarm hour and minute indication at 8 o’clock, as well as the alarm power reserve between 10 and 12 o’clock. The rim of the dial incorporates the 24-hour dual time-zone display.
The L-evolution case is water-resistant to 100 meters. The alligator leather strap is secured with a folding clasp. The Alarm GMT is available in steel or red gold versions with a rubber-lined black or brown strap in alligator leather and a triple-blade folding clasp.
The L-evolution Alarm GMT is $23,000 in steel and $38,400 in red gold.
The L-evolution Tourbillon GMT combines two of today’s most popular complications. This piece is powered by Blancpain’s new automatic winding Caliber 5025 with 8 day power reserve. L-evolution styling cues are evident in the form of oversized numerals at 3 and 6 and dial cut-outs revealing vertical Côtes de Genève on the baseplate and framing the tourbillon opening and the second time zone display. Available in white or red gold, the sporty case is water-resistant to 100 meters. The alligator leather strap is fitted with a triple-blade folding clasp. Each gold color is available in a limited edition of 99 pieces.
The L-evolution Tourbillon GMT in red gold is priced at $129,500 and in white gold the suggested retail is $134,300.