Apotheosis Temporis – a new milestone in watchmaking history
By Mike Hanlon
September 25, 2005
September 26, 2005 There aren’t too many technology companies that can claim 270 years of continuous trading, research and development. To celebrate the 270th anniversary of the creation of the brand, master watchmaker Blancpain is unveiling an exceptional set of eight examples of the art of horology. The history of watchmaking is studded with a certain number of momentous events that have left an indelible imprint on the world of timekeeping. Produced in a strictly limited edition of eight, the Apotheosis Temporis set encompasses the full wealth of know-how patiently accumulated over the years by the Manufacture in Le Brassus. It is also a tribute to all the watchmakers who, over the centuries, have contributed to perpetuating these traditional professions. Eight timepieces, eight demonstrations of know-how, testifying to Blancpain’s total mastery in the field of horological complications. United for the first time within a splendid collector’s set, these complications present the complete range of mechanical, technical and human genius which takes the finest demonstrations of the art of watchmaking to new peaks of accomplishment.
To celebrate the 270th anniversary of the company’s creation by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the Manufacture in Le Brassus wished to pay a truly dazzling tribute to the founder and indeed to all the master-craftsmen who have contributed over the centuries to perpetuating the art of watchmaking. By bringing together an original combination of eight major complications within an exceptional collector’s set, Blancpain is placing a new milestone along the path of watchmaking history.
Apotheosis Temporis is destined to make its mark on time. Representing a summary of patiently acquired know-how, a representative array of the most extreme complications and a vivid reflection of Blancpain’s incomparable technical maestria, Apotheosis Temporis is the very quintessence of contemporary Haute Horlogerie.
A masterful canvas
While the Manufacture Blancpain had already distinguished itself by presenting six major complications of the watchmaking art in the form of hand-wound wristwatches, Apotheosis Temporis embodies a new assertion of the dynamic forces driving the company today, of its ongoing development at the very peak of the watchmaking pyramid, of its perpetual quest for innovation and of its determination to constantly push the limits. The eight mechanical selfwinding watches making up the Apotheosis Temporis bear eloquent testimony to these sterling qualities.
The Ultra-slim, Time Zone, Moon phase Calendar, Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs, Single push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds, Tourbillon, Equation Marchante Pure and Minute Repeater models all express touches of watchmaking genius which, like an impressionist painting, converge to compose a remarkable and masterful canvas. No major complication is missing from this line-up:
Apotheosis Temporis reveals the eight pillars of the temple of contemporary Haute Horlogerie.
The heart of these prestigious timepieces beats to the rhythm of exceptional movements, perfectly reflected by their outward beauty. Blancpain has chosen the pure, restrained lines of the Villeret collection to express the power of the object and to forcefully reveal the characteristics inherent to each of the complications.
The cases of the eight creations making up the Apotheosis Temporis are crafted in 950 platinum and house a subtle matt black dial with white gold applied hour-markers. Waterresistant to 30 metres (apart from the Minute Repeater), these cases have a diameter of 38 mm and are fitted with a sapphire crystal that is glareproofed both sides and a sapphire case-back with anti-glare treatment on the inside. The latter enables one to admire the decorations (“Côtes de Genève”, circular graining, bevelling, polishing and engraving) entirely performed by hand, like all Blancpain movements, in keeping with the noblest traditions of Haute Horlogerie. The eight timepieces also feature a platinum oscillating weight that differs from one model to the next but is made exclusively for the Apotheosis Temporis.
These eight masterpieces of the watchmaking art deserved a jewel-case worthy of their prestigious rank. Constituting an objet d’art in its own right, a splendid lacquered wooden piece of furniture with an exquisitely marquetry-worked Macassar ebony cabinet has been lovingly crafted by a skilled artisan to host the eight Apotheosis Temporis models. This precious work of art features storage areas for the eight complications, arranged on two levels running from the Ultra-Slim to the Minute Repeater. Each of these areas is equipped with a rotating motor – adapted to the complication it carries – to ensure continuous winding of the watches when they are not being worn. This exclusive presentation is further enriched by eight nameplates engraved with the name of the complication and an additional one marked “Apotheosis Temporis”. Finally, three drawers provide the space necessary to store the kit of watchmaker’s tools, the certificates of authenticity, the operating instructions and the programming system for the eight rotating bases.
Apotheosis Temporis is crafted in an extremely exclusive and limited series of 8 numbered sets. The eight complications within the same set are individually numbered with the number corresponding to the set they compose.
Apotheosis Temporis Ultra-slim
Blancpain has regularly distinguished itself by the restrained elegance of its exceptional timepieces. Pure shapes, taut lines and slender cases providing ample space for dials pared down to essentials: the strength of the overall effect lies in a virtually unrivalled talent for understatement. This quest for essentials is the sign of the finest watch designers. It only reveals its full worth in association with an ultra-thin movement, the signature feature of the best Manufactures which alone are capable of mastering the development, production and assembly of these fine and subtle masterpieces of mechanical watchmaking. At Blancpain, pure shapes and mechanical complexity go hand in hand with the perpetuating of the watchmaking art: hand polishing, chamfering, decoration and engraving are the governing rule.
The Villeret Ultra-slim “Apotheosis Temporis” model is the most accomplished expression of this power of understatement. Water-resistant to 30 metres and enhanced by a sapphire crystal glareproofed on both sides and an anti-glare sapphire caseback, its 950 platinum case measuring 38 mm in diameter and 9.2 mm thick frames a slim matt black dial. At the heart of this masterpiece of the watchmaking art beats Calibre 1150, a self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve and composed of 188 parts that are accommodated and run within an area just 3.25 mm thick. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Time Zone
Moving, travelling, remaining open to the unknown, and allowing oneself to be enriched by new discoveries. The world is within reach and may be encapsulated within a precious timepiece. For over two centuries, Blancpain has been cultivating this open-minded spirit, as demonstrated by the globalisation of the brand, and the models that emerge from its workshop are destined for travel. The earth, the time, the daily cycle and the passage of time zones: four notions that are united within a complex mechanism, thereby giving the wrist a truly global dimension.
The Villeret Time Zone “Apotheosis Temporis” model reveals the plural nature of the world. Water-resistant to 30 metres, enhanced by a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum case with a diameter of 38 mm conceals Calibre 5L60, a self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving.
While the dual time zone and its day/night display are given pride of place in this complex mechanism comprising 254 parts, the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock and the date window are also highlighted. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Moon phase Calendar
Incorporating the beating heart of the universe within a precious mechanical object. Several centuries ago, the ingenuity of human nature led watchmakers to set off in pursuit of this absolute goal. The master-watchmakers of Blancpain have achieved it. Raise your eyes to the skies and admire the moon, and then observe this remarkable timepiece: in keeping with its endless path through the heavens, the moon appears as if by magic through the semi-circular dial aperture. There is poetry in this subtle mechanism. The Villeret Moon phase Calendar “Apotheosis Temporis” model, houses this embodiment of ingenuity and poetry.
Water-resistant to 30 metres, equipped with a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum case with a diameter of 38 mm houses Calibre 6763, a self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving. Thanks to its 261 components, it indicates the hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, the day of the week and months in two windows, along with a pointertype date display and moon phase indication. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs
The movement of the stars dictates the laws of time. And humankind conforms to them, while doing its best through the ages to understand it in a quest for unattainable mastery. Between the past and the present, both of which are written in the stars, there is a tenuous link, a privileged moment that is embodied within a timepiece. Blancpain has risen to the challenge of giving each of these unique seconds a scent of eternity.
And while the future takes mischievous pleasure in never being captured and tamed, the master-watchmakers of Blancpain have succeeded in encapsulating it within a remarkable mechanism that will reveal it day after day, for an entire century, with no need for adjustments. The Villeret Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs “Apotheosis Temporis” model weaves these emotional ties between past and future.
Water-resistant to 30 metres, enhanced by a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum has a diameter of 38 mm. It houses Calibre 5653A, a self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving. Composed of 297 parts, this complex movement drives the various displays on the understated matt black dial: hours, minutes, day of the week, month, moon phases, as well as leap year indications. The handsewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Single Push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds
Making time stand still and watching tradition pass by: for centuries, the precision of time measurement has occupied the most brilliant minds. Once precision was established, people then did their best to try and stop time in its tracks. But time is fluid by nature and moves inexorably forward, revealing its splendours as it goes. It may however allow a few temporary pauses… Blancpain has sought to capture this principle by creating exceptional watches with a special vocation for measuring short times. These remarkable expressions of the watchmaking art comprise a mechanical clutch-and-memory device enabling the splitseconds hand to stand still for just a heartbeat while a time is recorded, before catching up with its twin, the chronograph hand.
Nonetheless, the Blancpain master-watchmakers wished to explore whole new horizons: in a vibrant tribute to horological tradition, they devised a single push-button chronograph with split-seconds based on an entirely original conception. The Villeret Single Push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds “Apotheosis Temporis” model is a worthy heir to short-time measurement. Water-resistant to 30 metres and fitted with a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum case with a diameter of 38 mm features an original arrangement: the chronograph push-button is set into the crown at 3 o’clock and the split-seconds pushbutton is located at 10 o’clock. At the heart of this model beats Calibre M186, a self-winding movement with a 40-hour power reserve.
The platinum oscillating weight is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving. More than 375 parts are required for this extremely sophisticated movement to drive the chronograph and split-seconds hands and to record their progress on the 12-hour and 30-minute counters. The understated matt black dial also displays the hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock as well as a date window. The hand-sewn black alligator leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Tourbillon
Is the Tourbillon the most sublime expression of the art of horology? Two centuries after its invention, this ethereal mechanism is more than ever a truly head-spinning sensation. A carriage comprising 70 parts and weighing less than a gram sets out to conquer gravity, consistently fired by the same quest to achieve precision and to delight the senses. Blancpain is a past master in this exercise in fine watchmaking.
Numerous world firsts and other recent records to its credit in the field of Tourbillons bear eloquent witness to its keen sense of innovation and creativity. From the hand-wound Tourbillon to the self-winding Perpetual Calendar, Split-seconds Chronograph and Minute Repeater, along with the most recent, the Large Date Léman Tourbillon, Blancpain is able to offer no less than eight different variations on the Tourbillon theme within its three collections. Nonetheless, it has preserved intact its determination to constantly push existing limits and to interpret watchmaking traditions in ways that are in tune with the times.
The Villeret Tourbillon “Apotheosis Temporis” model is the ultimate materialisation of this capacity for innovation. Water-resistant to 30 metres and fitted with a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum case with a diameter of 38 mm houses Calibre 25, a self-winding movement with a one-week power reserve. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated and chased by hand with the inscription “JB 1735”. Under the matt black dial, an ingenious 238-part mechanism drives this flying Tourbillon and indicates the hours, minutes, date and power reserve, while the upper bridge of the Tourbillon carriage caries the seconds indication. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a 950 platinum folding clasp.
Apotheosis Temporis Equation Marchante Pure
Constantly nurturing all life on earth, the flamboyant day star moves within a complex system. Over the centuries, numerous scholars and astronomers patiently studied it in order to understand its nature, to grasp its quintessence and to master its most subtle movements. Then the finest watchmakers devoted their talents to miniaturising it. The greatest challenge was to incorporate within a single mechanism the difference between civil time and solar time, which ranges between the two extremes of –16 minutes and +14 minutes, depending on the time of year.
The equation of time was born, displayed in the extraordinarily miniaturised form of sundials which, in addition to the solar time, could serve in making complex calculations to determine civil time using a figure-8 “analemma” equation curve. Blancpain naturally wanted to go even further. After four years of development, the company presented in 2004 a world exclusive preview of the Equation Marchante, the first wristwatch capable of displaying both solar and civil time by two separate minute hands. Behind the simple readoff on the dial lies a prodigiously complex mechanism.
The Equation Marchante Pure “Apotheosis Temporis” model is a first within the Villeret collection. It is a masterpiece that is unique within the history of mechanical watchmaking.
Water-resistant to 30 metres, its 950 platinum case measuring 38 mm in diameter is fitted with a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back. The latter allows one to admire the platinum oscillating weight, handengraved with a glowing sun and the inscription “JB 1735”. At he heart of this horological prodigy beats the exceptional Calibre 3863A and its 364 components, endowed with a 72- hour power reserve. This self-winding movement, in addition to displaying the running equation of time by means of two separate hands for solar and civil time, also indicates the date, the day of the week, the month, the leap year cycle and the seconds on a subdial at 6 o’clock. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
Apotheosis Temporis Minute Repeater
Awakening the senses and listening attentively to time. Because time is made to be experienced, measured, contemplated, touched, read, heard and also listened to. A truly precious and rare object, the Minute Repeater holds a place of its own with the world of horological complications. This model, in addition to arousing visual appreciation, keeps the sense of hearing fully alert. It took a great deal of daring and ingenuity for the masterwatchmakers to devise a mechanism sounding the hours and quarters on request, in addition to the minutes. Beyond the complex mechanical watchmaking techniques, this watch owes a great deal to the science of alloys and to acoustics.
Only an exceptional blending of many types of know-how could make it possible to incorporate a striking mechanism that is so clearly audible – thanks to two small hammers striking a gong to sound the hours, quarters and minutes – within such a small volume. In harmony with the noblest watchmaking traditions, Blancpain has risen to this incredible challenge and has become a past master in the art of making Minute Repeater wristwatches combining a complex mechanism and exceptional acoustics. The purity of its remarkable striking tone is echoed in the powerful, restrained lines of this timepiece that is pared down to essentials.
The Villeret Minute Repeater “Apotheosis Temporis” model combines acoustic fascination with the purity of a beautiful object. Enhanced by a sapphire crystal glareproofed both sides and an anti-glare sapphire case-back, its 950 platinum case measuring 38 mm in diameter houses Calibre 35, a self-winding 360-part movement driving the Minute Repeater mechanism. The platinum oscillating weight is openworked, engraved and chased by hand, decorated with a “JB 1735” in its centre. The slender black dial provides an understated display of the hours and the minutes, along with the prestigious “Blancpain Répétition Minutes” signature. The hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap is fitted with a folding clasp in 950 platinum.
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