April 14, 2006 Ever since 1930, Blancpain has been firmly convinced that women are well able to appreciate the know-how and the magic of mechanical horology. The Blancpain tradition of feminine Haute Horlogerie timepieces is thus no recent development, but instead boasts a rich and diverse history. Over the past 75 years, Blancpain’s numerous achievements in this field have included the first ladies’ self-winding wristwatch, the smallest round movement and more recently the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar. From an initial role as a purely functional object, the wristwatch has become a piece of jewellery or an accessory accompanying a particular clothing style. This graceful transformation has proved fundamental to contemporary watchmaking. While the Blancpain ladies’ models created in the past can lay claim to many world firsts, Blancpain has never dedicated an entire collection to women. Accordingly, and for the very first time and coinciding with the arrival of spring, Blancpain is revealing how it has imagined and developed its approach to feminine mechanical timepieces. Far from being mere reductions or adaptations of existing men’s watches, the three first models making up this collection were specifically developed to meet the expectations and desires of contemporary women. The hours of the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection are exclusively feminine. Remaining steadfastly faithful to its roots in the Vallée de Joux, Blancpain has endowed each of its women’s watches with a meticulously hand-finished and decorated mechanical self-winding movement. Nonetheless, the Manufacture is now exploring an entirely new path by creating a collection that is completely innovative in terms of its aesthetics.
Meeting a broad range of aspirations
Entirely certain of women’s deep-felt attachment to these marvels of mechanical miniaturisation, Blancpain has expended a good deal of energy in developing this new collection. While undeniably unique, BLANCPAIN WOMEN seeks to capture the diversity of modern women’s daily lives through the variety of its expressions. In defining this array of different spirits and characters, Blancpain almost instinctively looked to nature for inspiration. The wondrous perfection and diversity of the floral universe fired its imagination and determined the themes for the collection dedicated to femininity. Several flowers thus became the expression of a symbolic design within the collection. Convinced that women will appreciate the hand-crafted finishing and fine decoration that Blancpain lavishes upon its movements, Blancpain has outfitted all models in the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection with a sapphire crystal case-back. As on all Blancpain movements, decorative operations such as “Côtes de Genève” circular graining, bevelling, polishing and engraving are all performed entirely by hand, in keeping with the noblest traditions of horological excellence.
“Lotus”: The exquisite impudence of the lotus flower
Iconoclastic? It does not deny the fact. Contemporary? Definitely. Feminine? To the tips of its hands! The first expression of the BLANCPAIN WOMEN Collection reveals its resolutely avant-garde with great natural panache. There is a bold edginess to the original combination of guilloché dial, diamonds and rubber straps. Blancpain immediately sensed the connection between the exotic nature of this watch and the wild elusiveness of the lotus flower. The daring exuberance of the heteroclite dial is accented by exploding Arabic numerals, complemented by a sunburst guilloché motif. Two rows of finely set diamonds enliven the classic double stepped form of the bezel. Housed within a steel case measuring 34 mm in diameter, self-winding Calibre 1150 with its 100-hour power reserve gives life to this resolutely contemporary model. Like the lotus flower, a timeless symbol of purity and perfection, this remarkable mechanical self-winding movement indicates the hours, the minutes, centre seconds and the date at 6 o’clock. Three combinations are initially offered: black dial with black rubber strap; white dial with matching white rubber strap; and a version with ruby-set bezel and black dial adorned with a flower motif also embossed on the rubber strap. The straps for the black and white versions are both embossed with the Blancpain logo. The distinctive character of these watches earns them a place of their own within the feminine watchmaking world, admirably demonstrating that a strong personality and character make a perfect match with prestige and femininity.
“Camélia”: The vivid charms of the camellia
For a woman who desires a timepiece to express a more informal and dynamic lifestyle, Blancpain offers three bold and exuberant flyback chronographs. The fact that the chronograph is one of the most attractive mechanical complications owes less to the use one actually makes of it than to the sheer pleasure it procures. Measuring time, pretending to stop it and playing with the passing seconds bring an immediate sense of satisfaction! Since time is such a rare commodity these days, one might as well enjoy taming it in style and mastering it in entertaining ways. Heralding spring and the bursting of new life, the camellia breathes a heady fragrance through this chronograph.
Broad and robust, its sheer magnificence expresses the vigorous side of this collection. While these timepieces incorporate traditional Blancpain styling cues and accents, the chronographs in the collection deliberately steer away from their masculine counterparts by adopting new stylised Arabic numerals and elegant hollowed hands. Displaying round, generous forms enhanced by its classic characteristic double stepped motif, the steel case measuring 34 mm in diameter is water-resistant to 100 metres. This same motif, replicated around the counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, highlights the overall effect.
A fine circular pattern decorates both the counters and the rim of the dial. Subtly highlighting the femininity of these flyback chronographs, the hand-sewn crocodile leather strap is cut at right angles so that the principle line of the scales flows along the length, rather than across the band. Like the camellia, a symbol of excellence and longevity that is reputed for its perfect shapes, the new “Camélia” Flyback Chronograph houses a precious heart. Women who love the great outdoors will also appreciate the fine hand finishing of the calibre F185 movement which offers them the smooth chronograph pusher feel which only a column wheel system, bearing the exclusive stamp of Haute Horlogerie chronographs, can procure. In addition to displaying the chronograph functions and indications, this complex mechanism also shows the hours, minutes, small seconds and a date window at 6 o’clock. Three colour themes clothe these ultra-feminine flyback chronographs: a pink dial with matching matt finished pink strap; powdered matt black dial and strap; and matt white dial with white crocodile leather strap.
“Orchidée”: The classic elegance of the orchid
Combining diamonds and a case with sleek, understated lines, matched with an elegant satin or python strap, the third face of the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection is undoubtedly the most classical of the three. Blancpain has chosen to associate these luxurious watches, radiating a refinement conducive to expressing elegance and beauty, with the orchid. Capricious, strange and bewitching, the orchid symbolises purity and elegance. The embodiment of refined sensuality, this jewellery-watch plays on contrasts and materials. Complex and yet discreet, it reveals its inner beauty with the charm of true simplicity. As befits these most classical timepieces in the collection, they are all equipped with Blancpain’s signature complete calendar movement.
The theme of this elegant complication is confirmed by the clever integration of the calendar indications appearing on the dial. Slender and original Roman numerals are set off by subtle geometrical contrasts. At the centre of the round dial, a square minute track underscores the originality of the moon with its distinctly human face. The centre panel of the dial framing the calendar indications is fashioned out of mother of pearl in a colour matching that of the dial perimeter.
The full moon bears harmonious feminine features graced with a tiny star-shaped “beauty spot”. Individually set diamonds on each side of the case provide a stylish counterpoint to the refined calendar. So as to preserve this precious blend of classicism, exquisite refinement and elegance, the 34 mm cases of the first two models are offered exclusively in white gold. Nonetheless, these appealing designs make no compromise on practical features. Endowed with a 100-hour power reserve, mechanical self-winding Calibre 6753 drives indications of the hours, minute, seconds, pointer-type date display, day of the week, month and moon phases. These ultra-chic timepieces are available in a choice of white or black colour scheme, complemented by straps matching the colour of the dial.
Perfect finishing touches
The entire BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection is equipped with the brand-new folding clasp system for the straps. Built with double folding arms engraved with the decorative Blancpain logo, each side is guided into place by a cleverly integrated spring, making the clasp look exactly like a classic pin buckle. To further integrate these fine timepieces into the lifestyle of today’s women, Blancpain has re-invented the presentation box that accompanies each watch. Fashioned out of marbled maple wood, this elegant showcase also provides storage space for other fine jewellery creations. With the launch of its new BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection, the Manufacture in Le Brassus is clearly expressing its perception of the multiple facets of modern women, while leading Haute Horlogerie to the place where traditional mechanical watchmaking values and the aesthetic demands of contemporary femininity meet and mingle in perfect harmony.