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Review: Blancpain Villeret Day-Date

The necessary function
by Chester Lau on August 19, 2017
Positives

Good movement, with decoration and power reserve. Well executed dial and case.

Negatives

Some may find that the proportions are not ideal.

For the first time in the Villeret collection, Blancpain is offering a Day-Date timepiece. A step up from the time only in terms of ‘complication’, the Day-Date is a useful display especially for those who intend to use the Blancpain as an everyday timepiece.

 

Blancpain Villeret Day-Date

The case and dial

This new entry into the Villeret collection is housed in a stainless steel case measuring 40 mm in diameter and 10.40 mm in height. Its matte white dial features leaf-shaped cut-out hands. The small seconds display appears at 6 o’clock, while the day and the date windows are at 3 o’clock. The day change is instantaneous, while the date is semi-instantaneous. Overall the timepiece is unsurprising, utilitarian and well-executed.

 

The Blancpain is sized at 40 mm in stainless steel and has a three day power reserve movement.

 

That said, some may find issues with the proportions of the dial and case. 40 mm for a classic timepiece is not large. But the movement is arguably small for the case; a 34 mm movement in a 40 mm case. This would be a non-issue altogether if the watch is a 3 hands timepiece, but since it has a seconds subdial at 6, the dial configuration would appear deviant to more classically proportioned sub-seconds timepieces. The seconds subdial sits visually higher on the dial, with a large periphery of hour markers. Traditionally, seconds subdials ‘eat’ into the hour markers, especially at position 6 and on some watches including 5 and 7. Modern examples of more classically proportioned sub seconds timepieces include the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 38 mm and the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 38.5 mm.

 

A pair of cut out leaf hands set over a white matte dial.

 

But perhaps only a pet peeve for sub seconds watch lovers, the 40 mm case size and corresponding proportions is not a deal breaker at all. In fact, those with larger wrist sizes should welcome the dimensions for a more wearable classic timepiece.

 

The movement

 

A see through caseback reveals the automatic movement with 3 days power reserve.

 

The movement beating at the heart of the watch is the automatic caliber 1160DD, comprising 275 components and 34 jewels. Its balance wheel is fashioned in glucydur with gold micrometric regulation screws and a balance spring in silicon.

This material is easily the most popular change we have seen in modern movements. While not the most advanced technology, the material choice poses several important advantages. Firstly, its low density makes it lighter and thus more shock-resistant. In addition, it is impervious to magnetic fields. The resulting balance spring thus improves isochronism performance of the movement, resulting in enhanced timekeeping precision.

Operating at a frequency of 4Hz, the movement is powered by two mainspring barrels connected in series and achieves a 72-hour power reserve. The sapphire case back provides a clear view of the finely hand-finished movement and the yellow gold winding rotor with its honeycomb guilloché pattern.

 

Concluding thoughts

 

On the wrist, the watch is fit with a matching black alligator strap.

 

The watch is in the classic timepiece category, simple time-only, with a 3 days power reserve movement. Priced at CHF10,200 or US $10,900, the watch sits comfortably in an almost uncontested region, especially if an individual is particularly looking for a classic watch with a day-date function. However, if a day-date function is not a must, then some other timepieces come to mind with comparable specifications for consideration like the Glashütte Senator Excellence.

 

Specifications

Thickness 10.40 mm

Diameter 40.00 mm

Water-resistance 3 bar

Sapphire crystal front and back

Calibre 1160DD

Power-reserve 72 hours

Components 275

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