Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours is a classical timepiece that showcases the Swiss brand’s alter ego. This watch does not subscribe to post-apocalyptic robustness but instead embraces a gentle, modest and formal mien. However, similar to its legendary sibling, the Fifty Fathoms, it harnesses much technical expertise and brims with mechanical virtue.
This detailed review of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Most horophiles will associate the Swiss marque, Blancpain, with the iconic Fifty Fathoms. This diver’s watch is renowned for its practicality and utilitarian-chic. The Fifty Fathoms delivers impressive underwater performance as well as providing a stylish accompaniment to cocktail attire. Personally, I can think of no other subaquatic timepiece capable of surpassing the overall talents of this legendary watch. However, while all eyes focus upon this prima ballerina, stood en pointe in the centre of the stage, there is an equally impressive performer standing in the wings.
The watches forming the Villeret collection exhibit a wholly different character. They are unassuming, reserved and notably genteel, clearly intended for a life on terra firma. They will not be used in anger, subjected to shocks or immersed in deep waters. Blancpain’s Villeret models are a paragon of elegance. They may be different from the Fifty Fathoms collection, but they are no less deserving of column inches.
The name, ‘Villeret’ is a nod to the Swiss brand’s history. Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded his eponymous watch brand in the village of Villeret in 1735. However, since the 19th century, Blancpain has been indelibly linked with the Vallée de Joux, a region rich in watchmaking expertise.
The Villeret collection is populated with numerous models from neat three-handed models to ultra-complicated tourbillons and minute repeaters. While visiting the Blancpain boutique on London’s prestigious New Bond Street, I discovered a glorious Villeret model, the Quantième Complet 8 Jours. Its classical and refined design immediately caught my gaze and a period of evaluation soon ensued.
Numerous functions can sometimes overwhelm a dial, impeding interpretation. Thankfully, despite displaying a plethora of indications, the dial of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours proffers effortless readability.
Golden, open-worked feuille hands float above a virgin-white dial canvas. The hours are denoted with Breguet numerals. Two apertures are positioned between noon and the fulcrum of the dial. The left hand aperture frames the day of the week, while its right hand counterpart reveals the prevailing month. The discs responsible for proclaiming the day and month perfectly match the hue of the dial.
A large-format, crescent-shaped moon-phase indicator sits at the base of the dial. The dark blue, expansive depiction of the nocturnal sky is embellished with golden stars and an all-knowing moon. A truncated chemin de fer sits on high, allowing the wearer to identify the status of the moon. A small seconds display, incorporating a svelte golden hand, is positioned above 6 o’clock.
Blancpain has set aside the ubiquitous date aperture, favouring a pointer-date instead. Unusually, the blued date serpentine hand assumes a meandering trajectory as it stretches to the periphery of the dial. The crooked tip of this hand underscores the prevailing date with stylish aplomb.
The bezel of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours is stepped, eliciting comely shadows. The lugs are slender and gently arc downwards. Viewing the caseband, one notices that it tapers inwards as it nears the caseback. Every element of the case exhibits a gentle demeanour. There are no sharp edges, the design language appears almost organic.
Blancpain could have pared costs by creating a flat sided case, however, the smooth, tapering sides justify the additional expenditure.
Measuring 42mm in diameter, the 18-carat red gold case evinces a becoming warmth. The scale of the watch will not overwhelm the majority of wrists. Its size is consistent with its subtle design language. The space between the horns is a generous 23mm, ensuring the watch head sits flush with the wearer’s skin. Personally, I found this watch proffered a very agreeable union with my wrist.
Each element of this watch’s composition is hushed and retiring. The shallow depth of the crown ensures it sits close to the caseband, mitigating the risk of it annoyingly snagging clothing. However, despite its neat profile it proves simple to manipulate.
Often the clean lines of a calendar watch are marred with the fitment of numerous caseband correctors. Blancpain has conceived a very intelligent alternative. Positioned beneath each lug is a corrector. The correctors are used to adjust the day, date, month and moon phases.
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours is equipped with an exhibition caseback, affording views of the self-winding movement within.
Blancpain is a Manufacture with a rich pedigree of crafting high-end movements. This technical prowess is manifest with the Calibre 6639.
The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and feature gleaming bevels. The jewel and screw sinks are polished. The ratchet wheel is adorned with a spiral-shaped motif and numerous components are straight or circular grained.
Three barrels collaborate to deliver a prodigious power-reserve of 192 hours. The movement is comprised of 303 components, including 35 jewels. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz).
The balance wheel is titanium with gold regulation screws. Blancpain has used a silicium hairspring. Unlike Elinvar, silicium (silicon in French) is non-magnetic, not susceptible to corrosion and can be produced more consistently, hence mitigating production time.
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours is fitted with an oscillating weight, incorporating a gold insert embellished with an exquisite motif.
Everything is executed to the highest order.
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours proves a fascinating watch to behold. It displays a myriad of indications and yet it never feels cluttered. Moreover, all functions prove eminently simple to read. One reason for this peerless legibility is that Blancpain has deftly positioned and sized each indication, allowing each element to breathe.
Beyond the functional adroitness of the dial, the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours exhibits a handsome appearance. The chaste white dial looks fresh and elegant. Furthermore, its styling has a timeless quality which will not lose its appeal with the onset of years.
Appraise this watch at close quarters and you will discover some delightful idiosyncrasies. The serpentine date hand casts aside the mundane and embraces originality. The vertical flanks of the case are beautifully curved, reinforcing the sense of sophistication. The aforementioned lug corrector system is inspired, mitigating the risk of damaging the case when adjusting the indications.
At the heart of any Blancpain is a matchless movement and the Calibre 6639 proves no exception. It has the capacity to deliver 8 days of autonomous operation and confers convenience courtesy of its self-winding movement. The finishing is also excellent.
I would not say that the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours is better or worse than its famous sibling, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Quite simply, they belong to different horological genres. However, both watches share impressive build quality and mechanical merit, traits for which this Maison is renown.
Personally, I am drawn to the classical and formal appearance of the Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours. Its modest temperament belies its many talents and it is for this reason that it may be overlooked by some flamboyant individuals. This would be a shame as the watch is a shining exemplar of fine watchmaking.
- Model: Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours
- Reference: 6639A 3631 55A
- Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 42mm; height 13mm; water resistance 3ATM (30 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; date; month; moon-phase indicator
- Movement: Calibre 6639; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 35 jewels; power reserve 192 hours; 303 components
- Strap: Brown alligator leather strap
- Price: £30,600 (RRP as at 1.11.2018)