Blancpain is pursuing its successive introductions of innovative high-end movements with the new Calibres 13R5 and 66R9, derived from the 13R0, along with Calibre 5025, all now powering a set of exceptional watches. Such an unshakeable faith in the future deserved a new stellar collection, evocatively named L-evolution. After the two remarkable Calibres 13R0, 1315 and 225, two new movements are now enriching this exclusive series : Calibre 13R5 with date and power reserve; and Calibre 66R9 featuring a complete calendar with moon-phase display.
These innovative movements, which are writing a new chapter in Blancpain’s rich watchmaking history, naturally needed to find a showcase worthy of their stature. Therefore, as the founding act of a reinvented future that begins today, the Manufacture in Le Brassus has chosen to create a new line of exceptional models, the L-evolution Collection. The Automatique 8 Jours, Moon Phase 8 Jours, Tourbillon GMT and Alarm GMT watches are thus taking up their appointed place within this new fine watchmaking sanctuary.
Blancpain L-evolution Automatique 8 Jours
Housing the new Calibre 13R5 developed by the Manufacture in Le Brassus in a case (43.5mm) slightly more elongated than that of its predecessors, the sporty Automatique 8 Jours model in the L-evolution Collection features a black face enhanced by oversized 9 and 3 o’clock numerals.
Calibre 13R5 picks up the intrinsic qualities of the exclusive hand-wound Calibre 13R0, starting with the unique system of regulating screws for the titanium balance. In order to vary the active length of the balance-spring, and thus the balance speed of oscillation, most mechanical movements are fitted with a two-arm mobile organ known as an “index”. In its quest for performance and precision, Blancpain has chosen another approach : the rate is controlled by means of inertia-blocks placed around the balance rim or “ felly ”.
The Manufacture has equipped these micro-metrical gold screws with square heads to facilitate adjustment. A quarter-turn of two diametrically opposite screws results in a gain or loss of thirty seconds per day. This considerably heightens the level of precision and avoids any risk of movement operation being disrupted by jolting or jarring. Calibre 13R5 is equipped with three barrels for an exceptional 192-hour (8-day) power reserve, with a high-density gold rotor ensuring highly efficient winding, as well a flat balance-spring to guarantee perfect isochronism. The final touch of technical perfection lies in the fact that the date adjustment can be performed at any time – including around midnight – and in both directions. Such an operation is impossible on most mechanical movements, which could be damaged in the process.
The Automatique 8 Jours model enshrines a set of sophisticated and daring elements. The dial is extremely complex in its own right. Its delicately cut-out design features a broad central opening revealing a baseplate adorned with Côtes de Genève.Two additional apertures, a date window at 6 o’clock and the power-reserve display at 12 o’clock, create an impressive structural depth effect.
Finally, the two oversized Arabic numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock accentuate the three-dimensional nature of this high-tech dial. The equally dynamic and appealingly compact sports-style case is fitted with new detachable lugs, a feature that facilitates the insertion of metal bracelets. The Automatique 8 Jours is available in steel or red gold versions teamed with a rubber-lined black or brown strap in alligator leather and a triple-blade folding clasp.
Blancpain L-evolution Moon Phase 8 Jours
With its exclusive new Calibre 66R9, Blancpain once again pays homage to a complication that has become inseparably linked to the brand by incorporating it within its new L-evolution Moon Phase 8 Jours model.
A proprietary movement and a lyrical complication thus combine to reveal the expertise of the Blancpain movement construction engineers and master-watchmakers. The moon phase is to Blancpain what a snowdrop is to winter : a messenger of rebirth. It was thanks to this complication that the brand succeeded in capturing the hearts of connoisseurs of fine mechanisms. Thus granted renewed credibility by the Manufacture in Le Brassus, the moon phase made a significant contribution to the revival of mechanical horology in the 1980s.
Blancpain brought this complication back to the forefront in 1983 by launching the legendary moon-phase Calibre 6395, which was to lead to the renaissance of the entire mechanical watch industry.Strengthened by this token of undeniable legitimacy, Blancpain took a further step towards perfecting one of its favourite complications in 2003, with the launch of its Calibre 6763 endowed with an extraordinary 100-hour power reserve. Calibre 66R9, which is being unveiled in 2009, represents another milestone.
The Manufacture in Le Brassus is presenting a brand-new movement driving moon-phase, complete calendar and power-reserve indications. Derived from the exclusive mechanical hand-wound Calibre 13R0, the new Calibre 66R9 further consolidates Blancpain’s standing within the select circle of authentic watch “ Manufactures ”.
Equipped with three barrels, the Calibre 66R9 movement is endowed with an impressive 8-day power reserve. And, in order to optimise the regularity of rate of the oscillating organ, Blancpain has opted for a flat balance-spring – ensuring perfect isochronism – and a titanium balance.
While extremely hard to machine, titanium features several decisive advantages : first of all, it is far less sensitive to changes in temperature than traditional alloys, meaning it does not dilate when subjected to heat; secondly, it is far lighter and thus less energy-consuming; and finally, it is amagnetic.
Another technical challenge brilliantly taken up by the Blancpain movement construction engineers and watchmakers relates to the calendar adjustment. The date, day, month and moon phases on the Calibre 66R9 may indeed now be corrected at any time of day or night – including around midnight – an operation that would normally be liable to damage the mechanism if performed near the date-change time.
Thanks to meticulous research and exhaustive testing on this development that took almost three years to perfect, the Blancpain watchmakers and movement construction engineers have succeeded in developing an original protective system guaranteeing the exceptional reliability of Calibre 66R9. The balance adjustment system has also been entirely revised : most mechanical calibres are equipped with a mobile organ known as an “index”, which serves to vary the active length of the balance-spring and thus the speed of oscillation of the balance.
While some brands opt for the more decorative “ swan’s neck ” adjustment system, Blancpain has replaced this traditional mechanism with micrometric adjustment screws placed directly on the rim or “felly” of the balance. When the screws are tightened from inside, the active diameter of the balance is reduced, thereby increasing the speed of oscillations – and vice versa. Equipped with square heads to facilitate handling, the screws thus enable extremely fine adjustments, and each quarter-turn corresponds to a 30-second modification per day.
This engine, which is a natural source of pride for all those who have contributed to its development, combines these daring technologies with extremely meticulous traditional finishes : a finely circular-grained mainplate, bevelled and polished movement parts, a “ côtes paraboliques ” motif and bevelled bridges.This stunning array of details contributes to creating a rare degree of perfection that an informed connoisseur will revel in discovering through a transparent case-back that also reveals the high-density gold oscillating weight ensuring perfect winding.
The dial itself reflects the well-structured and avant-garde nature of the movement within. Three distinct levels, from the mainplate adorned with Côtes de Genève through to the oversized Roman numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock, provide a three-dimensional vision of the face of this watch. This impression is accentuated by broad apertures with delicately bevelled cut-outs affording glimpses of the power-reserve, day of the week, month and power-reserve discs. Available with a steel or red gold case radiating a compact, sporty-looking design, the Moon Phase 8 Jours model joins the prestigious new L-evolution collection testifying to Blancpain’s incorrigibly dynamic approach to its art.
Blancpain L-evolution Tourbillon GMT
This Tourbillon GMT self-winding watch brilliantly combines horological expertise and a contemporary spirit. To underscore the dynamic sporting style of this new model, the dial is graced by sophisticated, elegant lines. It is issued in two 99-piece gold limited editions in red and white gold respectively.
The Manufacture Blancpain is perpetuating the watchmaking tradition so as to reinvent it with each new creation. The L-evolution Tourbillon GMT self-winding model embodies this permanent process merging time-honoured know-how, innovation and creativity – all exercised in harmony with the brand’s fundamental guiding principles. This constancy has led the Manufacture in Le Brassus to develop the new Calibre 5025, associating – a first for Blancpain – today’s two most popular functions: a tourbillon and a dual time-zone display.
This dual function is powered by Blancpain’s new Calibre 5025. The technical and aesthetic qualities of this movement exemplify the expertise of the Manufacture in Le Brassus. Wound by an oscillating weight specially developed for this model endowed with an 8-day power reserve, Calibre 5025 features the characteristic high-end finishing of fine watch movements, including bevelled bridges and polished components.
The contemporary and sporty nature of the L-evolution Tourbillon GMT model is expressed through its multi-level dial. This layered architecture provides an exterior sign of the inner technical quality of a truly exceptional timepiece. The centre provides a distinct view of the dial baseplate adorned with Côtes de Genève, while the oversized 3 and 6 o’clock numerals reinforce the sophisticated nature of the model. At 9 o’clock, the double hand of unequal lengths indicates the date on two separately graduated rings with staggered indications. The intriguing ballet of the flying tourbillon is entirely visible through a broad dial opening at 12 o’clock.
Meanwhile, the dual time-zone indication is provided by a third central hand sweeping around a 24-hour display rimming the dial. Available in white or red gold, the compact, sporty-looking case is water-resistant to 100 metres and measures a generous 43.5 mm in diameter. The alligator leather strap is fitted with a triple blade folding clasp. Each gold colour is available in a limited production run of 99.
Blancpain L-evolution Alarm GMT
Still a relatively rare feature on modern wristwatches, the alarm function is one of the noblest such creations. In presenting its new L-evolution Alarm GMT model, the Manufacture in Le Brassus is highlighting this complex mechanism combining horological technology with a continuous striking system.
Designed, developed and perfected by Blancpain, Calibre 1241H had already earned much praise among watch connoisseurs when it was presented in 2003. Featuring a completely original combination of functions, it successfully weds the precious expertise inherited from yesteryear with modern-day expectations thanks to two complications that are eminently useful to the 21st century traveller : the mechanical alarm function and a dual time-zone indication.
Introduced under reference number 1241H, this mechanical self-winding calibre stems from four years of intensive development. Innovative in several respects, it features twin barrels serving entirely different functions : one to guarantee the rate of the watch, and the other driving the alarm. Composed of 407 parts, it features several functions integrated in an entirely original manner.
With this movement, and for the first time in the history of the alarm wristwatch, the self-winding mechanism also winds the alarm barrel. Other practical innovation is that the alarm hand is interdependent with the display of the time zone in the temporary travel location, indicated by the large hour and minute hands. The date is also indexed to the travel time zone and is thus automatically adjusted in the temporary place of residence – a rare feature indeed.
Composed of several different levels, the face of the L-evolution Alarm GMT plays with depth effect. The part forming the base of this multi-layer dial appears adorned with vertical Côtes de Genève. On the upper level, a skeletonised cut-out features a small-sized 9 o’clock numeral and a larger 3 o’clock numeral. It also displays the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, the alarm hour and minute indication at 8 o’clock, as well as the alarm power reserve between 10 and 12 o’clock. The rim of the dial incorporates the 24-hour dual time-zone display.
The compact, sporty-looking case with its slender double stepped sides is water-resistant to 100 metres and measures 43.5 mm in diameter. The alligator leather strap is secured with a folding clasp. The Alarm GMT is available in steel or red gold versions teamed with a rubber-lined black or brown strap in alligator leather and a triple-blade folding clasp.