At Baselworld 2012 Blancpain presented an exclusive world’s first mechanical wristwatch with a traditional Chinese calendar. The Manufacture in Le Brassus wanted to honor that nation whose leaders now eat a keen interest in the Haute Horlogerie with a model that became part of his great creations.
The traditional Chinese calendar is based on principles of Blancpain’s fundamental and deeply rooted for centuries in Chinese culture. On the dial include the time and the Gregorian calendar with the major signs of the Chinese calendar: Dual Time in traditional format, days, months including the months interlayers, astrological sign, plus the 5 elements and 10 blue trunks.
The combination of these with the 12 animals of the zodiac, which represent the earthly branches, following the cycle of 60 years and of fundamental importance to Chinese culture. The moon phases, a key element of the calendars of Blancpain, play an important role, given the relationship between the lunar cycle and traditional Chinese months.
Unlike the Gregorian solar calendar, which takes as its basic unit the solar day, the traditional Chinese calendar and a lunar-solar calendar, which is a calendar in which the basic unit and the lunar cycle (of 29.53059 days). Since one year of 12 lunar months (354.36707 days) and too short by about 11 days compared to tropic (or calendar year, 365.242374 days), sometimes it adds a leap month in order to preserve the correspondence with the cycle of seasons.
Since each month of the Chinese calendar, including the intercalary months, beginning with the day of the new moon, its duration and 29 or 30 days. Consequently, when a year has a leap month, this year will be 13 months longer than the tropical year. And vice versa: when there is not a leap month, the year of 12 lunar months and the shortest of the tropic. This peculiarity explains why the date varies Chinese New Year.
The new Calibre 3638 automatic that drives this watch has a power reserve of 7 days, despite the presence of no less than 434 members (including 39 jewels). Its complexity depends on the number of indications that it must provide both the irregularity of their cycles. The hours, minutes, and the Gregorian calendar can be found at the center of the dial.
The counter indicates the height of the noon hour in double digits and symbols (24-hour cycle). The one at 3 o’clock indicates the elements and celestial trunks (10 year cycle). 9 o’clock shows the month of Chinese calendar (cycle of 12 months), its date (30-day cycle) and intercalary months, whereas in an aperture at midday shows the zodiacal sign of the current year (cycle of 12 years). The moon phases appear at 6 o’clock.
The case of platinum, which measures 45 mm in diameter, and fitted with a crown adorned with a cabochon ruby and has 5 markers, placed below the handles, with which you adjust the directions given by the clock.
It has the characteristics of classic Villeret collection: the form of double apple, a Grand Feu enamel dial where the hour and the ride consists of gold applique, and the indications are traced before cooking, the main hands in the form of leaves slightly flushed; the hand of the Gregorian calendar and blue steel, and incorporates the traditional serpentine form.
This watch will be produced in a limited edition of 20 copies. It has the white gold oscillating weight adorned with a ruby from Madagascar and bears the engraved image of a dragon to celebrate the year 2012