Whether it’s in the political or socio-economic sphere, we can all agree that 2019 has been the absolute definition of an Annus Horribilis. That is unless of course you’re Blancpain. From ceramic divers to refined historical tributes, the preeminent Swatch Group brand has gone from strength to strength, releasing a string of very covetable references throughout the entire year. So what better way to say au revoir to 2019 than with one of their watches strapped to your wrist? Below, we handpick five of the best Blancpain timepieces of 2019, and explain why any collector would be happy to have them under their Christmas tree.
Fifty Fathoms Automatique (with ceramic dial)
Here at LSA, we’re big proponents of the Fifty Fathoms — the iconic dive watch, originally released in 1953, that has since inspired a whole genre. This year, Blancpain has developed a dressier iteration for the collection: cast in a 45mm case made out of satin-brushed red gold. The dial is manufactured using blue ceramic: itself exhibiting a combination of matte and sunburst finishes that are a first for the Manufacture. Personally, we love the ‘elevated’ feeling of this specific execution — the chromatic complexity of the dial, the warm red gold, the glossy bezel — and can imagine it really impressing the sort of collector who’s used to collecting no-nonsense tool watches.
Villeret Quantième Phases de Lune
The Villeret collection has always been a reliable canvas upon which Blancpain has pursued various applications of high watchmaking (e.g. tourbillons, minute repeaters, even the traditional Chinese calendar). But the most emblematic executions, whether for men or women, tend to involve the calendar moonphase. Recently Blancpain turned their attention on the latter demographic with a new 33mm addition to the Villeret line: inspired by a classic calendar design from the Manufacture and 18th century motifs such as mouches. In spite of the date and moonphase, this is an exceedingly elegant piece. The dial possesses balance, legibility, and makes use of 48 brilliant-cut diamonds in a way that feels authentic to the overall design language of the collection.
Villeret Women Date
Throughout its history, Blancpain has played a pioneering role in the development of high-end ladies’ watches. Building on this storied heritage, the brand recently unveiled its newest time-and-date model in the Villeret collection. Though the Villeret Date is available in steel and red gold variations, there’s a certain incomparable glamour to the latter. The discrete 33.2mm case frames a luscious opaline dial, speckled with brilliant-cut diamonds and the collection’s signature leaf-shaped hands. The best bit? It can be purchased with five quick-change wristbands — an ample enough number to suit every occasion.
Villeret Ultraplate (in red gold or platinum)
Available in platinum or 18K red gold, the new Villeret Ultraplate embodies a return to fundamentals for Blancpain. Inspired by the simple, ingenious shapes which defined the collection during the 80s, the brand have come up with a new model that once again puts zen-like simplicity on a pedestal. In red gold, the opaline dial appears smooth yet tactile, whereas the platinum model — a limited edition available exclusively in the brand’s boutiques — sports an eye-catching sunburst blue variation. Faces are unadorned, save for the hour and minute hands, and are decorated with the Villeret line’s distinctive, arching Roman numerals.
Under the hood, both Ultraplate models are powered by the manual-winding 11A4BL (essentially an upsized take on the calibre 1150). Two large bridges, decorated with Geneva stripes, account for most of the visible movement, contributing to a simple layout that draws your eye to the balance wheel (free sprung of course) and power reserve indicator. Definitely one of the better ‘less is more’ timepieces we’ve seen this year.
Blancpain, Shop 3-5, G/F, China Building, Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2518 9800