The Blancpain Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar embarks on its second 12-year cycle
Back in 2012, Blancpain made waves with the world’s first Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar wristwatch, seamlessly blending the complexities of a Chinese calendar with the Gregorian date and moon phase. Now, as the Manufacture enters its second 12-year cycle, it introduces a new limited edition of this magnificent complication. The timepiece pays homage to the symbol of the new lunar year, the dragon, with an intricately engraved red gold winding rotor. Notably, this exclusive edition is presented in red gold, accompanied by a striking green enamel dial.
Blancpain has a tradition of offering a special limited edition each year, recounting the legend of the Jade Emperor summoning twelve animals to his palace gate. The order of their arrival forms the basis of the 12-year Zodiac cycle in the Chinese calendar, and each year’s official animal is celebrated in Blancpain’s special edition.
For the 2024 edition, the red gold winding rotor features the dragon, the animal representing this year. Set against a frosted background, the dragon is accompanied by a red ruby and engraved Chinese characters signifying “dragon” and “wood,” the elemental theme for 2024. To mark the initiation of the new 12-year cycle, Blancpain’s artists have refreshed the Zodiac animal symbols with new portraits.
The Chinese calendar’s mystique is brought to life through four dedicated hands, a Zodiac window, and a leap month window. These elements reveal Chinese hours, the 60-year cycle of elements and Yin/Yang, the 12-year Zodiac cycle, and the Chinese days, month, and leap months. A traditional serpentine hand indicates the Gregorian date, while the classic moon phase is displayed in a window at six o’clock.
The movement, crafted over five years, comprises 464 components arranged in six layers, surpassing the complexity of a perpetual calendar and approaching that of a minute repeater. Developed in Blancpain’s Le Brassus grand complication workshop, the calendar mechanism is powered by Blancpain’s three mainspring barrel movement, ensuring a seven-day power reserve.
The green-fired grand feu enamel dial harmonizes elegantly with the 45mm red gold case. Facilitating calendar adjustments, Blancpain’s patented under lug correctors adorn the case, offering a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution. True to Blancpain’s calendar mechanisms, the Chinese calendar ensures a secure design, eliminating the risk of damage during automatic changes.
Limited to just 50 pieces, the 2024 Traditional Chinese Calendar from Blancpain stands as a testament to precision, craftsmanship, and a deep appreciation for the rich symbolism of the Chinese calendar.