When the watch was jeopardized (as many watches were likely to back then), he needed to rely on alternate means for timekeeping, or abort the dive to prevent decompression illness (or worse). Additionally, it is probably worth pointing out that such a safeguard is admittedly somewhat silly within an ultra-modern dive watch that’s already water-resistant to some devastating 300 meters (and costs $14k), however the charm of this Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec isn’t its usefulness, but its commendable devotion to the origin material.Speaking of source material, although the situation size on the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec has been improved from 37mm to 40mm, it’s still a merciful reduction from the last time we saw that a Tribute to Fifty Fathoms, which managed to actually wear bigger than its sacrilegious 45mm situation thickness. This 40mm case is really the sweet spot for Blancpain divers like the Mil-Spec, which finally strikes that fine balance between carrying the highly polished visual weight of being a contemporary “luxury diver” while still remaining true to Fiechter’s original vision. If this is a harbinger of what is to come for another generation of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms set, consider us fans.But straight back to the moisture indicator for a minute — an indicator one would beg you never sees change color, especially on a watch in this price range. On the first, the thought was that in the event of a moisture ingress, the contrasting white area of the half-circle in the dial would change to a dark pink color. And the less contrast you see between the two, the higher your service bill is going to be. Blancpain wasn’t entirely clear about what substances actually comprise the indicator, but it is raised and subtly textured such as the surrounding luminous plots. Functionality-wise, it’s not unlike a water contact indicating tape you might find from manufacturers such as 3M.
A unique version of the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar with a striking black enamel dial was conceived for Only Watch 2015, becoming one of the handful of watches by Blancpain fitted with such a dial.
Originally introduced in 2012, the Blancpain Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar is a wristwatch conceived for the Chinese market but one that is admirably different. Instead of an enamelled dragon or phoenix, it features a completely new complication, one that displays the traditional Chinese calendar. Blancpain’s contribution to charity auction Only Watch is a unique version of the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar fitted with a black enamel dial. The dial is black enamel with applied rose gold indices, as well as rose gold printing on the dial, all to match the 45mm rose gold case. The conventional Gregorian date is indicated on the outermost edge of the dial with a blued steel, serpentine hand.
The Chinese calendar display shows the “traditional double hour indication, day, month with leap year, zodiac signs, as well as the five elements and 10 celestial stems”.
In addition to the dial, another feature unique to the Only Watch edition is the rose gold rotor decorated with black champlevé enamel.
The Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar Only Watch will be sold on November 7, 2015, at an auction in Geneva overseen by Phillips. All proceeds from the sale will go to support research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. For a detail look at the platinum version of the Traditional Chinese Calendar, check out our photo essay published when it was first launched.