The legacy of Blancpain as a watchmaker may rest squarely on the Fifty Fathoms collection, which birthed the world’s original diving watch, but when it comes to timeless elegance and classic good looks — think clean lines, clear dials and slim profiles — we gravitate towards the handsome Villeret collection, which bears the name of the manufacture‘s native village. Having recently explored other new releases in this collection, we now turn our focus to the Villeret Grande Date Jour Rétrograde, a new timepiece that was unveiled earlier this year at Baselworld 2018.
Alternatively known as the Ref. 6668, this new release represents the notable addition of a new complication to the Villeret collection: a retrograde day of the week indication, displayed in the lower left quadrant of the watch face. To ensure a sense of visual balance, the days of the week appear on an arc that stretches between 7 and 9 o’clock. (In case you’re wondering how it works, the indication jumps to the new day at the stroke of midnight; at the end of the weekend, the retrograde day returns from Sunday to Monday to begin the week.)
Complementing the day of the week indication is a large date displayed in two windows between 5 and 6 o’clock; it, too, changes instantly at midnight. Conveniently, neither calendar indication requires a pusher or special tool to adjust: the day of the week can set with nothing more than a fingertip, and the date can be adjusted via the crown, thanks to Blancpain’s patented under-lug correctors, which are hidden from plain sight.
Despite these novel features, the Villeret Grande Date Jour Rétrograde bears the signature aesthetics of its parent collection, namely classicism and refinement. These are evident in the double stepped bezel, thin profile and understated hands and indexes. You’ll note, however, that the seconds hand is elongated and bears Blancpain’s initials on its counterweight.
Powering this new Villeret model, meanwhile, is Blancpain’s new 6950GJ in-house movement, based on caliber 1150, which has two mainspring barrels offering 72 hours of power reserve. Through the clear case back, you can see fine Côtes de Genève finishing and the honeycomb guilloché adorning the gold rotor.
If the Grande Date Jour Rétrograde’s understated elegance has caught your eye, note that it comes in two versions: red gold with a silver opaline dial, and stainless steel with a white dial; both versions feature a blue hand on the day of the week indication. There’s also a choice for alligator strap or metal bracelet for both, and all versions come in a nicely visible — but not overwhelming — 40mm size.
The Blancpain Grande Date Jour Rétrograde (Ref. 6668) is now available in steel (HK$110,500 with alligator strap, HK$129,500 with metal bracelet) or 18k red gold (HK$196,000 with alligator strap, HK$351,000 with metal bracelet). For more information, peruse the full catalogue at Blancpain online.
Blancpain, G/F, China Building, 29 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong