Blancpain decided to build on one of its most historically important watch collections this year during the Swatch Group’s Time to Move festivities. Somewhat overshadowed by the launch of the new Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and Nageurs de Combat limited editions as well as the extremely attractive Air Command Chronograph, the new Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 models pays homage to the brand’s initial revival in the early 1980s, prior to being purchased by SMH Ltd in 1992., a precursor to the Swatch Group (SSIH, another Swatch Group ancestor, had owned Blancpain in the 1960s and ’70s).
The watches, which number four in total, are the thinnest Villeret models to be released to date at only 7.4 mm. Simplicity is key to the Villeret’s appeal, and the new Extra-Plate definitely delivers in that department. The 40-mm watch, available in stainless steel and red gold, features the characteristic double-stepped bezel, sage leaf hands, applied Roman numerals, and a power reserve indicator visible on the watch’s sapphire exhibition caseback so as to not disturb the austerity of the dial. This choice shows a lot of restraint and indicates the maturity of the Blancpain manufacture. Watch enthusiasts love to complain about the presence of unnecessary date windows and power reserves that throw off the symmetry of a watch’s dial, so what Blancpain has done is deliver the additional complication but engrave it on the movement main plate.
Speaking of the movement, inside the understated Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 is the in-house produced and manually wound 11A4B caliber with a 100-hour power reserve courtesy of two series-coupled barrels. Blancpain redesigned the bridges of the movement to feature additional côtes de Genève decoration and beveled edges. The gold version comes with an opaline dial and brown alligator strap, while the steel model has a white dial and black alligator strap. These timepieces are also available on a mille mailles mesh-type bracelet that matches the case material. Pricing starts at CHF 9,500 in steel on a leather strap and goes up to CHF 36,500 in red gold on the mille mailles bracelet option.