Blancpain Villeret Complet GMT: Classic Turns Travel Companion
by Martin Green
Can a brand own a complication? Yes, when it has developed and patented it.
And sometimes a brand can “own” a complication even if it wasn’t the first because it has made such an impact, as with Blancpain and the complete calendar.
A complete or full calendar complication indicates date (though neither annual nor perpetual), day of the week, and month. However, for the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT, Blancpain has also included a moon phase and a second time zone.
When Jean-Claude Biver, together with Jacques Piguet, used his boundless energy to resurrect Blancpain in the early 1980s, he chose the full calendar complication as his cavalry. This was a clever move because quartz was reigning supreme in those days, and the complete calendar was a beautiful reference to the watches of yesteryear.
And it remains one of the watches that marked the beginning of the renaissance of mechanical watchmaking; it has been one of the brand’s collection icons ever since. In this particular form, it has been in the Blancpain line since 2002.
Old school, new tricks
While the majority of Blancpain’s collection is quite classically styled, the brand never stopped innovating. This is also clear with the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT, whose manufacture movement is equipped with a silicon balance spring that increases its ability to withstand the influence of magnetic fields on its accuracy.
Another improvement enhances both the beauty and the user-friendliness of the watch. With its patented correctors hidden under the lugs, the side of the Villeret case remains smooth and you can now adjust all the calendar functions with your fingernail.
The time is still set using the crown, but because it has a GMT function there is also a crown position that allows you to set the local time by the hour without interfering with the minutes and seconds.
Blancpain has plenty of room on the dial to display all the information in an orderly form. With a diameter of 40 mm, the watch is neither particularly small nor oversized, and the typical stepped Villeret bezel is rather slender, keeping the visuals elegant.
The home time zone easy to read, indicated by a red-tipped arrow hand, while the date is pointed out by a beautiful blued serpentine hand.
As is the tradition with Blancpain, the moon found in the typically shaped cutaway at 6 o’clock has a face, making this a whimsical element that prevents the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT from becoming too serious of a watch.
Don’t cry for me, Helvetia
What makes the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT even more interesting is that it is available, alongside an alligator-skin strap, with a metal bracelet whose links are shaped like teardrops. This adds a kind of elegance to the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT without making it too feminine.
The latter mainly thanks to the last row of links on each side of the bracelet, which bring the teardrop shape to a straight edge.
Those who are familiar with this type of bracelet, as Cartier used to have it in its collection on for example the Tank Louis Cartier, know that it is among the most comfortable bracelets to wear. It also makes the watch more suitable to use in warmer climates, which is not a bad thing for a watch with a GMT function.
Blancpain offers the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT in both 18-karat red gold and stainless steel. That significantly adds to the robustness and travel-worthiness of this watch, at least for those of us who are still flying coach.
While it will never become a robust sports watch – nor is it intended to be that – the new Villeret Quantième Complet GMT is a tempting proposition for people who like a more classically styled watch and call the world their oyster!
For more information, please visit www.blancpain.com.
Quick Facts Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT
Case: 40 x 11.8 mm, red gold or stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 67A5 with 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes; complete calendar; moon phase; second time zone
Price: $14,900 (stainless steel), $24,900 (red gold)