By Kien Lee
Dialing back history, Blancpain which started its proud watchmaking heritage in 1735, was later part of the integral development in the 1930s that pioneered the first self-winding wristwatch for women. Not content with just offering women timepieces as an iteration or extension to the men’s lines, the Swiss manufacture's Women timepieces have been conceived through a focus on the wishes and expectations of contemporary women.
To meet this objective, Blancpain has continually embarked on constant innovation to miniaturise movements, equipping its feminine models with horological complications traditionally reserved for men in the industry. The roll-outs have not just been aesthetic, but refined as well. Imagined and designed with the feminine spirit in mind, the Women collection boasts hand-finished and decorated self-winding movements, alongside a perfect blend of elegance and horological complexity.
Four timepieces from Blancpain’s line-up exemplify this approach.
Women Heure Décentrée
Featuring a total of 152 diamonds, the 36.8 mm Blancpain Women Heure Décentrée has an 18-carat red gold case adorned by 108 diamonds totalling one carat. Two interwoven rows of diamonds in various sizes is a nod to the emblematic double-stepped case design of the brand, with the diamond on the crown an exquisite finishing touch.
Its white mother-of-pearl dial is sprinkled with facetted diamonds, and features an off-centred (hence, décentrée) hours and minutes subdial at 12 o’clock graced with 4 Arabic numerals and drop-shaped cut-out hands. The Blancpain signature at the 6 o’clock position highlights the retrograde 30-second indication. Subtly-graded diamonds on a single wave motif forms an undulating sweep across the face of the watch.
On the inside sits the Blancpain Calibre 2663SR mechanical self-winding (automatic) movement that contains 226 components, beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Through the sapphire crystal case-back, the Côtes de Genève finish can be seen together with an oscillating weight that is elegantly shaped like a five-petal flower.
A testament to its beauty and excellence in horological creation, the timepiece won the coveted Ladies' watch category prize at the 2014 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève, popularly known as the Oscars of the watchmaking industry.
The Blancpain Women Heure Décentrée is available in a white gold with a blue mother-of-pearl dial, or in steel with a white dial. Each of the gold versions is paired with a white ostrich leather strap, while the steel model comes with an alligator leather strap; both with a folding clasp buckle.
Women Chronographe Flyback Grande Date
Undeniably eye-catching, the 38.6 mm Blancpain Women Chronographe Grande Date with its 18-carat red gold case features a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial surrounded by a minute track, while its crown is topped off with a diamond. Two waves of 17 diamonds of different sizes branch out from the centre, where the chronograph seconds hand sits. At 12 o’clock the off-centred time display utilizes Roman hour and minute numerals on a mother-of-pearl subdial, whilst the chronograph employs Arabic numerals for its counters, the double-disc large date display appears through twin apertures at the 6 o’clock position.
On the inside sits the Blancpain Calibre 26F8G, a mechanical self-winding (automatic) movement. Through the sapphire crystal case-back, the finishing on this timepiece can also be admired alongside a petal-shaped oscillating weight - a design DNA that was also observed in the Heure Décentrée introduced above.
The Women Chronographe Flyback Grande Date is available in white gold, or steel, fitted with a white ostrich leather strap and an additional strap, on a pin buckle.
Women Ladybird Ultraplate Saint-Valentin 2016 (Limited Edition)
Since 2001, Blancpain has been crafting limited series timepieces in celebration of Valentine's Day. Launched two years ago, the Ladybird Saint-Valentin 2016 model stands out as with its feminine and dainty grace.
An engraved and numbered 99-piece limited edition, the timepiece with its delightfully-curved diminutive size, boasts a mother-of-pearl dial adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds. Within the dial, a mother-of-pearl marquetry heart sparkles with diamonds and rubies.
The bezel on the 21.5 mm-diameter 18-carat white gold case is circled by diamonds. Inside, the two-hand model is driven by the Blancpain Calibre 6150, a self-winding (automatic) movement with a silicon balance-spring. It is one of the smallest in the world.
As a finishing touch symbolising love at first sight, a heart pierced by an arrow white gold charm embellishes the Women Ladybird Ultraplate Saint-Valentin 2016 at the 6 o’clock position.
Villeret Quantième Phases de Lune
A women’s timepiece from Blancpain’s most classic collection, Villeret is the name of the famous watchmaking town in Switzerland where Jehan-Jacques Blancpain started making watches in 1735 in a quaint workshop on the top floor of his home. The collection proudly anchors its design elements in tradition, from the purity of the lines, the clarity of the dials, to the slenderness of the double stepped cases, all coming together to exuberate Blancpain’s timeless elegance.
In line with the collection’s focus on authentic horological values, the Villeret Quantième Phases de Lune features a white dial in a 29.2 mm steel case.
At the 6 o’clock position is the centerpiece highlight of the watch, a moonphase complication displaying a new, full, half or quarter moon. Indeed, tracking a lunar cycle is no mean feat as it requires an accuracy measuring the new moon to new moon period of exactly 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds.
Highly desired amongst watch enthusiasts, some are coveting it for its utility and technical prowess, whilst others admire it simply for its beauty, the Villeret Quantième Phases de Lune timepiece boasts a secret - the face of the moon features a tiny “beauty spot” at the corner of the mouth recalling the playful moon phases of the 18th century. In fact, these beauty spots (called mouche in French) were often used by women in Europe during courtships, as signs to their suitors – making it the perfect condiment for display.
A date complication is displayed via a pointer-hand and a rail around the outer rim of the dial.
Inside, the timepiece is driven by the Blancpain Calibre 913QL (Quantième Phase de Lune) movement with 40 hours of power reserve. A Glucydur balance wheel and a balance spring in silicon offer lighter weight, and more shock and magnetic resistance. Through the sapphire case-back, the meticulous finish with polished chamfers, a snailed bevel and circular Côtes de Genève patterns can be fully taken in by the wearer.
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Phases de Lune in steel is available with an alligator strap, featuring a pin buckle.
Creative Direction: Kien Lee
Styling: Allyson Klass
Photography: Rui Liang of Lightspade Studio
Photography Assistant: Lionel Lim
Hair, Makeup & Nails - Andrea Claire using Dyson Hair and Design Me Hair, Laura Mercier colours, and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail colour
Model: Oliwia from Ave Management