Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6224
The Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6224 is a new model for 2020. Housed in a 38mm case, formed of steel or 18-carat red gold, this model features a pure, highly legible dial and an elegant stepped case. In addition, it features the automatic Calibre 1150, combining diminutive proportions, a prodigious power reserve and peerless finissage.
On hearing the name ‘Blancpain‘, most watch collectors will immediately think of the famous Fifty Fathoms, the ‘first modern diving watch’ (1953). However, the brand from the Vallée de Joux has an alter ego, the Villeret collection.
Where the Fifty Fathoms models possess an all-terrain ruggedness, the Villeret is a city dweller. Both collections have their respective strengths and befit certain environments. While the Fifty Fathoms range is the horological equivalent of a pair of casual boots, albeit made of the finest leather, the Villeret collection could be likened to a pair of slip-on Italian shoes. Both have their place but both are very different.
The Villeret collection is extensive, ranging from simple two-hand models to high-complications, including perpetual calendars, tourbillons, carrousels and minute repeaters. However, irrespective of whether a Villeret watch is comparatively simple or complex, it always possesses a beautifully refined case, crisp dial indications, mechanical virtue and peerless finishing. Put simply, a Blancpain Villeret watch dwells in the dizzying heights of haute horlogerie.
Historically, the Vallée de Joux has always been known for crafting high-end movements. The region has a particular talent for making ultra-thin calibres and complicated movements. The Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6224 is a new model for 2020, containing the tried and trusted Calibre 1150, measuring a svelte 3.25mm in depth.
The challenge when making an ultra-slim movement is ensuring it has sufficient torsional rigidity that it will operate reliably. Some lesser brands have created ultra-thin movements which have flexed when worn, causing the gear train and other parts to malfunction. Having been in use for a number of years without any adverse publicity, the Calibre 1150 demonstrates it is more than up to the task.
Remarkably, despite its slender waistline, the Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6224 is automatic and has a prodigious power reserve of 100 hours. Moreover, this impressive autonomy is achieved using two series-coupled barrels, ‘ensuring constant energy’ throughout the 100 hour period. A constant supply of energy to the escapement ensures the amplitude of the balance doesn’t fall, thereby maintaining precision.
Measuring 38mm in diameter with a case height of 8.35mm, the Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6224 is offered in a number of versions, including steel or 18-carat red gold, with or without diamonds. Lastly, the model is available on a leather strap or retro-look mille mailles bracelet.
The brand’s press release
Born in the early 1980s, the design of the Villeret collection took shape around a set of attributes rooted in the grand watchmaking tradition. Easily recognizable at first glance, these features include a slender double-stepped case, an understated dial, applied gold hour-markers and sage leaf-shaped hands.
This year, Blancpain is introducing a new addition to the family of Villeret models: an ultra-slim 38 mm-diameter timepiece displaying the date and offering a contemporary take on the collection’s signature codes. Respectively framed by a steel or red gold case, the luminous white or opaline dial is enhanced by 28 gold appliques patiently positioned and affixed by hand to form the Roman numerals. These are swept over by hours and minutes hands shaped like hollowed sage leaves, while the seconds are marked by a slender hand bearing the initials of the founder, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain. This information is enriched by a date display at 3 o’clock, through an aperture sized to ensure optimal visual balance and legibility.
While simplicity reigns supreme on the dial, the sapphire back reveals a finely structured movement brimming with contrasts, Blancpain Calibre 1150. Circular-grained and adorned with the traditional côtes de Genève motif, it also features a gold oscillating weight with a honeycomb pattern. The 1150 movement is a watch industry benchmark that paved the way for generous power reserves. Thanks to the use of two series-coupled barrels and high- performance springs, it has doubled the standard capacities – of around 40 to 48 hours – in order to achieve a comfortable four days of autonomy while ensuring constant energy throughout this period. These technical features are complemented by the use of a silicon balance-spring guaranteeing remarkable non-magnetic and chronometric properties.
The new Villeret Ultraplate from Blancpain reproduces the onward march of time through a refined blend of slimness and purity, distilled within a case whose dimensions are suited to each and every wearer. For those looking for additional sparkle, a gem-set model is available. Paired with an alligator strap that is black for the steel version and brown for the red gold iteration, this timepiece is also available with a refined mille mailles bracelet in steel or gold respectively.