The Villeret is Blancpain’s classic core collection with a pronounced focus on understated elegance. Ranging from grande complications and complex calendars all the way down to ultra-thin two-handers like the latest Extra-Plate 6605, the traditional look of Villeret is unmistakable. For 2019, Blancpain adds a new 40mm GMT with date model to the Villeret line-up with manifest minimalism that fans of the collection will appreciate. We were able to spend some hands-on time with the Villeret GMT Date 6662 models in red gold, although the watch also comes in stainless steel.
This is not the first GMT watch to join the Villeret family. Last year we saw a combination of a second time-zone with a perpetual calendar complication in the Quantième Complet GMT model and then there is the Réveil GMT with its alarm function. The beauty of this new watch lies in its minimalism and legibility. Unlike many GMT models on the market today, this watch whispers rather than shouts.
As any seasoned traveller will concede, travelling with bulky suitcases is not stylish. The 18k red gold case of the Villeret GMT Date measures 40mm and has a slim height of 10.28mm. Like almost all Villeret family members, the watch features the classic double stepped bezel and straight lugs. The opaline dial features the distinctive applied gold Roman numerals that have come to define the Villeret collection, and the main hour and minute hands are the well-known open-worked leaf-shaped hands.
As a GMT model, local time – to which the date is linked – is read on the raised chapter ring with the distinctive Roman numerals. Reference time, or home time, is displayed on the 24-hour scale and indicated by a separate hand with a red triangle at its tip. This strikingly simple configuration means that local and home times can be consulted at a glance while the 24-hour scale means that there is no need for a day/night indicator. The dial is remarkably sophisticated and easy to read. And for those of you who enjoy a streamlined, unblemished case, there are no pushers on this model. All the settings – fast GMT correction, date and time – are handled via the crown.
The new Villeret GMT Date is powered by the 5A50 in-house self-winding movement. Entirely designed and produced in the manufacture’s workshops, the mechanism has a 100-hour power reserve and a silicon hairspring. Measuring 26.20mm in diameter with a thickness of just 4.35mm, the movement oscillates at a frequency of 3 Hz. The sapphire crystal on the reverse side reveals the solid gold rotor with its elegant honeycomb guilloche pattern and the bridges with Geneva stripes and bevelled angles.
The combination of classic/traditional features of Villeret with a minimalist layout works extremely well. Discreet, elegant and refined are some of the adjectives that might describe this watch that reveals its GMT complication with subtlety. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find it. The functions are surprisingly clear. Of the two red gold models we were able to spend time with, my favourite is the one with the integrated gold mesh (mille mailles) bracelet. The beautiful finishes of the bracelet add a touch of luxury. And in the context of a travel watch, I think a date window is more than justified.
Availability and Price
The Blancpain Villeret GMT Date comes in stainless steel and red gold cases with two strap choices: either an integrated steel or red gold mesh bracelet or an alligator leather strap. Prices for all four models are:
- Steel on leather – CHF 11,200
- Steel on steel – CHF 13,400
- Red gold on leather – CHF 18,700
- Red gold on red gold – CHF 38,200
For more details, please consult www.blancpain.com.