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Jehan-Jacques Blancpain was the founder of a workshop producing watch parts in 1735 and watches from 1815. He was born in 1693 in Villeret, a small town in Bernese Jura. It is now the name of one of the collections of the Blancpain brand. The aesthetic style of Villeret timepieces evokes the pocket watches made in the 18th century in Jehan-Jacques Blancpain’s workshop, with their rounded cases crowned with a double-stepped bezel and classic dials featuring open, sage leaf-shaped hands. The Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Retrograde was launched at Baselworld 2018 and came as a surprise, since although it shares the same overall look as its predecessors, it combines three complications in an original way.

The gold dial is made using the champlevé technique, that is to say, the dial is painstakingly engraved and then covered with enamel powder and fired several times in a kiln at temperatures approaching 800°C. While it is complex to make, “Grand Feu” enamel has the advantage of producing a delicately ivory-tinted colour with a dazzling effect, and it is resistant to sunlight and to the passing of time. The time features are displayed in two circles. Your eye is attracted first of all to the flying tourbillon, dancing freely in a golden chamfered sub-dial at 12 o’clock. Then, at 6 o’clock, on a slightly bigger disc and highlighted by a golden trim, is the jumping hour, also displayed in a sub-dial, and the retrograde minute that is shown by a small, open, sage-leaf shaped hand.

The Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Retrograde is driven by a hand-wound mechanical movement, the calibre 260MR. At the heart of a 42mm-wide pink gold case, it provides a power reserve of 144 hours (6 days) with a reserve indicator shown on a guilloche disc that can be seen on the back of the watch through a sapphire glass.

Price: 139,000 CHF blancpain.com

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