As, one by one, Blancpain refreshed and reinterpreted each of the signature classic watch complications, it turned its attention to the next frontier of watchmaking innovation, the combination of complications. The jewel in this crown is, of course, the 1735, the most complicated series production automatic winding wristwatch in the world, which integrates a split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar.
But after placing the 1735 on the world’s watchmaking stage, Blancpain set out to explore other different and interesting ways to create combinations of complications never before achieved.
Calibre 23F9A is a good example. It brings together four of the most fascinating complications of Haute Horlogerie: the chronograph, the split-seconds (or rattrapante), the flyback and the tourbillon. The first three all relate to each other as embellishments of the first, the chronograph. Built upon its pioneering ultra-thin Calibre 1185 chronograph movement, Blancpain added the Calibre 1186 split seconds function.
This enhancement permits simultaneous timing of two events, as what appears to be a single chronograph seconds-hand is, in fact, two hands microscopically placed one above the other which can be separated and independently stopped. In Calibre 23F9A, Blancpain embellished even further by adding the flyback complication.
In the rare 23F9A model, Blancpain for the first time in watchmaking history brought the split-seconds and flyback functions together in one watch. Not content with this ultimate unison of chronograph refinements alone, Blancpain pushed further into the innovation frontier, by making the timekeeping organ of the calibre a tourbillon.
With the gravity-defying accuracy of the tourbillon escapement, Blancpain added another watchmaking first to the debut of Calibre 23F9A. In recognition of the advances represented by this calibre, Blancpain named it the “CRAFT” (“Chronograph Rattrapante Automatique Flyback Tourbillon”).