Additionally, the 913 includes a glucydur balance wheel with golden micrometric regulating screws, making it adjustable and also more shock-resistant compared to its predecessor. There is also an improved winding system which employs a ball-bearing mounted rotor. The sapphire case back reveals the rotor, which is reddish gold with a snailed bevel, glistening chamfers and directly and round Côtes de Genève patterns. It’s a 40-hour power reserve.At 29.2mm, the Blancpain Villeret Date Moonphase is a tiny watch considering there’s a moon period plus a date and a seconds hand, a rare edge in a little women’ automatic. It is proof of Blancpain’s devotion to creating size-appropriate high-grade calibers dedicated to ladies’ watches at its own elite collections. The date is elegantly spaced out only inside the hour track, signaled by a red-tipped pointer. The bezel is set with 48 diamonds and you will find eight diamond indicators as well as four employed Roman numerals from the touch Villeret font. The dial is opaline and the strap is taupe-colored alligator. There are two references, one in 18k gold, priced at $19,900, and in steel at $16,600. Even as purveyors of possibly among the world’s first truly purpose-built dive watches, there is no denying it’s been a long time since Blancpain has even been remotely close to the tool watch kingdom it once initiated. That being said, it is still neat to find the newest revisit those days using a marked degree of panache from the recently announced Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec — a watch that might cost $14,000, but it is still every bit the competent tool once relied upon by combat divers from the late fifties.
The triple calendar is a basic complication but one that’s practically synonymous with Blancpain, having been introduced in the 1980s as one of the “six masterpieces” of watchmaking, part of Jean-Claude Biver‘s plan to revive the marque. While the complication is commonplace – also offered by brands ranging from Jaeger-LeCoultre to Vacheron Constantin – Blancpain’s iteration is the most technically sophisticated.
The Villeret Quantième Complet, which translates as “complete calendar”, is the base model triple calendar (shown here in white gold but also available in steel) but refined and well equipped. The case is 40mm in diameter and just 10.74mm high, giving it a compact feel in the hand. In fact, it’s thin enough that a savvy marketer might label it “ultra-thin”.
Several dial options are available, but the grey dial pictured here is the most unusual. Finished with a sun ray brushing and containing a hint of copper in the grey, the dial is typical Blancpain style. In other words it looks like a contemporary watch wearing a classically-inspired costume. The serpentine date hand is an elegant touch, but the Blancpain logo on the end of the seconds hand isn’t.
All the Roman numerals are applied, while the track for the date is recessed, as are the windows for the moon phase, day and month, giving the dial some depth. Overall the look is an attractive one on the wrist, with interesting detail, despite being a conservatively designed watch.
Inside is the calibre 6654. It’s a small self-winding movement with a 72-hour power reserve that’s actually a descendent of the Frederic Piguet calibres 1150 and 1151. Those are now almost 30 years old, but the Blancpain 6654 is several generations away, having been heavily upgraded, as have all Piguet movements, particularly after Piguet was subsumed into Blancpain in 2010.
Needless to say, the calibre is equipped with features that are standard on Blancpain’s fancier movements, including twin barrels for a 72-hour power reserve, a free-sprung balance as well as a silicon hairspring.
More apparent to the wearer are the under-lug correctors: tiny tabs under the lugs to set the calendar, replacing the traditional recessed pushers on the case band. These discreet tabs give the case a cleaner appearance, leaving the lines of case band unbroken, and more importantly the tabs mean there’s no need for a toothpick or stylus to set the calendar.
Another feature is the security mechanism for the calendar that prevents setting in the hours leading to and just past midnight, prevent damage to the mechanism.
The calibre is finished in a manner typical of Blancpain’s movements, which is to say skilled but discreet. While much of the finishing is obviously aided by machine, as is typical for watches in this price range, certain details make it stand out from the competition, for instance the chamfered screw heads and the polished countersinks.
Price and availability
The Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar in white gold (ref. 6654-1504-55) is priced at US$25,700 or S$35,500.
It costs the same in rose gold, but is much more affordable in steel (ref. 6654-1113-55B) at US$14,900 or S$20,700. All models are available from Blancpain boutiques and retailers.