Blancpain Léman Aqua Lung Minute Repeater Ref. 2835 (2007)

The Léman Aqua Lung Minute Repeater (ref. 2835) by Blancpain combines fascinating auditory pleasures with inventive technical solutions. Topped by a sapphire crystal that is glareproofed on either side, its 40mm-diameter case comes in titanium or 5N red gold – both materials featuring exceptional acoustic properties. It houses Calibre 351, a self-winding movement comprising 360 parts entirely decorated and adjusted by hand.

Radiating the understated elegance of true refinement, the matt black dial displays the hours, minutes and this prestigious signature: “Blancpain Répétition Minutes” – “Pièce unique”. Truly unique by definition, the Léman Aqua Lung Minute Repeater is fitted with a solid case-back that may be customised according to the owner’s wishes. The hand-sewn crocodile leather strap lined with alzavel is fitted with a new folding clasp system composed of two folding blades. When open, the latter reveal Blancpain’s engraved “JB” logo. Guided with unfailing accuracy by a built-in spring, they look every bit like a traditional pin buckle when they are closed.

Faithful to its longstanding tradition of innovation, the Manufacture in Le Brassus presents a revolutionary water-tight case for its Minute Repeater. A wealth of know-how and ingenuity have been poured into devising a mechanism that strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on request – and all the while ensuring it is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres and that not even a single drop of water will disturb the complex operation of the world’s thinnest and smallest-diameter minute repeater movement.

Thanks to Blancpain’s ingenuity and innovative spirit, the proud owner of a Minute Repeater watch will now be able to splash around with a watch on his wrist. How is such a feat possible? The principle appears straightforward enough, but someone just had to think of it! On a “classic” minute repeater watch, the external repeater slide that actuates the striking mechanism is directly linked to the winding lever. When it is pushed home, the slide reveals an opening along the side of the case, thereby exposing the movement to the inevitable infiltration of any surrounding liquids. This vulnerability is now a thing of the past.

Blancpain has remedied the situation by developing an ingenious gear system that connects the repeater slide to the repeater actuating lever via two racks and a transmission shaft, itself composed of two intermediate wheels and fitted with two “O-Ring” gaskets that ensure the system is water-tight. A rare and precious object, the Minute Repeater mechanism holds a place of its own in the field of horological complications. Creating each minute repeater model represents a daunting challenge for the master-watchmakers, since each of the tiny components that he assembles with infinite precision calls for numerous adjustments. Above and beyond the technical innovation and mechanical complexity they involve, such movements also draw upon a thorough knowledge of alloys and acoustics.

Only by combining several types of expertise can such a fine-toned and eminently audible mechanism be accommodated within such a small space, thanks to the magic touch of two small hammers striking the so-called “cathedral” gong. The latter boasts a sound that is remarkable both for its richness and its length. In harmony with the noblest watchmaking traditions, Blancpain has risen to these amazing challenges and has fully mastered the making of Minute Repeater wristwatches that represent a blend of complex mechanical engineering, technical innovation and exceptional acoustics.

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