Blancpain presents a new Boutique Edition of its Villeret Extraplate watch. This timepiece features a yellow gold case framing a green dial – a first in the Villeret collection. Here is our hands on take.
Blancpain Villeret Extraplate 6551 Boutique Edition – Yellow gold, green dial
Reference: 6651-1453-55A Retail price: USD 18,400
This new Villeret Extraplate is an extension to the collection, featuring a yellow gold case framing a green dial for the first time. Even as late at this year (2020), eight new models in a 38mm case of either stainless steel or red gold was introduced. These were available in either a steel mille mailles bracelet or in leather strap.
The case, dial and hands
The new watch re-introduces yellow gold to the case repertoire of the Villeret collection. And paired with this case metal a stunning green dial.
The dial is rather stunning. At first glance, under certain lighting conditions, it looks like a rather dull, deep green. But when it catches light at certain angles, it shows a double cone of brilliance over the dark grey background, highlighting the sunburst pattern. The hour markers are yellow gold appliqué in a stylized Roman numeral first seen in the Villeret Extraplate 6605, which lacks a date display as well as a second hand for a ultra dressy look. The rest of the dial is very simple and perhaps bare. For a reason. So that the beautiful dial may take the limelight.
Safe for the brand identification and the obligatory “Swiss Made” straddeling the VI marker, both emblazoned in white transfer print, the only other dial element of note is the chamfered date aperture inside the 3 o’clock hour marker. The date is displayed in Arabic numerals printed over a green background. Completing the elegant looks is the long, sleek central seconds hand, counter balanced by a JB logo on one end. The hour and minute hands are swallow shaped, and hollowed out.
The overall look is one of elegance. The Blancpain press literature says that it is daintly, but we would not presume that to mean that it is fragile as well To us, the watch has an air about it, that speaks volumes of its refinement and the style of the wearer.
The movement: Blancpain caliber 1151
The movement is the time and tested Blancpain caliber 1151, seen in all the Extraplate watches in the Villeret collection (including the 38mm versions announced in June 2020), and also in the various Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec watches. Versions of this movement have seen service for a long time as it is based on a Piguet 1150 ébauche, updated with a silicon hairspring.
The caliber 1151 is a high-performance movement measuring a mere 3.25 mm thick, with a 100 hour power reserve. The movement is nicely decorated with bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève pattern as well as an oscillating weight featuring a honeycomb motif. Movement finishing is judged to be very fine, and meets all haute horlogerie standards one might throw at it.
At USD 18,400, approximately SGD 25,000 the Villeret Extraplate 6551 is rather competitively priced among gold three handed watches. Most of the entry level gold automatics are not ultra thin in nature. Here are some considerations:
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic Outsized Date is automatic, but not ultra thin. It clocks in at a considerably higher SGD 39,700. If we look at Vacheron Constantin, perhaps the FiftySix Self Winding at SGD28,200 in rose gold is a comparable watch. But it too is not ultra thin. While the entry level Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007A automatic with date is pegged at SGD 37,400. Also not ultra thin and in a steel case.
The Blancpain Villeret Extraplate 6551 is a rather fine specimen on the wrist. The look is clean, very elegant and the lugs wrap around rather nicely, giving it a wear impression which is perhaps a bit smaller than the 40mm x 8.7mm might suggest.
The green dial is rather captivating and exudes a beauty of its own, and it surprises us that this combination with the yellow gold case, hands and appliqués are not used more often.
Blancpain Villeret Extraplate 6551 Specifications
Case: 40mm diameter x 8.70mm height – 18k yellow gold case, polished – sapphire crystals front and caseback – 30m water-resistant
Dial: dark green dial with sunray-brushed pattern – applied Roman numerals and hands in 18K yellow gold
Movement: calibre 1151, in-house – automatic with gold central rotor and honeycomb motif – 210 components, 28 jewels – 27.40mm x 3.25mm – 21,600 vibrations/hour – silicon hairspring – 100h power reserve with two barrels – hours, minutes, seconds and date
Strap: brown nubuck alligator leather strap – 18k yellow gold pin buckle
Availability: available exclusively from Blancpain boutiques
Photographed in the Blancpain MBS Boutique with Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 Macro and HC 2.8/80 lens with and without H28 and H52 extension tubes. Strobe lighting by Profoto.