The moon phase function has evolved from its traditional role as an accompaniment to men’s perpetual calendars to a “poetic” complication, used more often in ladies’ watches. It has been reimagined in many ways that depart from the traditional blue-sky-gold-moon-and-stars configuration, but Blancpain finds a way to maintain tradition while updating the function for a modern ladies’ watch. The Blancpain Villeret Date Moonphase, introduced at Baselworld 2017, sports the traditional moon phase colors and configuration – as it should in a traditional collection such as the Blancpain Villeret – but with a few small tweaks to make it feminine, even poetic.
If you look closely, you will see that the moon has eyelashes, lips that look as if lipstick has been applied and, what’s that? – a beauty spot. The artificial mole or beauty spot (known as a mouche for its resemblance of a fly) was regarded in 18th century France as symbolizing a playfully teasing attitude. Mouches were used by coquettish ladies of the Court as messages to their suitors that differed according to where they were placed.
The movement is a next-generation caliber made by Blancpain specifically for ladies’ watches and is an example of the commitment being made by luxury watch brands to develop a stable of calibers sized for ladies’ watches that are equipped with all the advancements in watchmaking that are often reserved just for men’s movements. The Caliber 913QL is an evolution of the women’s Caliber 953, a 21mm-diameter movement that has been a staple of ladies’ watches at Blancpain. It remains the same size but now has a high-performance silicon balance spring. Silicon’s low density makes it lighter and thus more shock-resistant. It is also impervious to magnetic fields and generally more stable, with improved isochronism.
In addition, the 913 has a glucydur balance wheel with gold micrometric regulating screws, which makes it adjustable and also more shock-resistant than its predecessor. There is also an improved winding system that uses a ball-bearing mounted rotor. The sapphire case back reveals the rotor, which is red gold with a snailed bevel, polished chamfers and straight and circular Côtes de Genève patterns. The Caliber 913QL is fitted with a moon phase module, a wheel with 59 cogs covering two complete 29.5-day lunar cycles. It has a 40-hour power reserve.
This is not the first time that Watches of Switzerland has teamed up with IWC to produce a special limited edition watch. They did the exact same for their 10th anniversary too, which culminated in the Watches of Switzerland Limited Edition Portuguese Chronograph. It had been popular thanks to its distinctive chocolate brown dial, and it helped that it was exclusive to Watches of Switzerland with just 25 bits produced.They wanted something like their 20th anniversary, and they worked with IWC to produce the version you see here. Recognizing the trend of vintage-inspired watches in addition to the prevalence of IWC’s Pilot’s watches in Australia, they decided to combine the two to create the Watches of Switzerland 20th Anniversary IWC Pilots Chronograph watch.The Watches of Switzerland 20th Anniversary IWC Pilots Chronograph watch relies on the popular IWC Pilots Chronograph ref. 3777. Case dimensions are identical, so it comes at a 43mm stainless steel case that measures 15mm thick. Prominent pushers and crown aid make operation simple. Water resistance is also unchanged at 60m. What has changed, however, is the dial. In place of their white hands and markings on the ref. Together with a vintage-looking brown Santoni leather strap, this offers the Watches of Switzerland 20th Anniversary IWC Pilots Chronograph watch an aged look that all these watch fans and collectors seem to enjoy nowadays.
At 29.2mm, the Blancpain Villeret Date Moonphase is a very small watch considering there is a moon phase plus a date and a seconds hand, a rare advantage in a small ladies’ automatic. It is evidence of Blancpain’s commitment to producing size-appropriate high-grade calibers dedicated to ladies’ watches in its elite collections. The date is elegantly spaced out just inside the hour track, indicated by a red-tipped pointer. The bezel is set with 48 diamonds and there are eight diamond indexes as well as four applied Roman numerals in the signature Villeret font. The dial is opaline and the strap is taupe-colored alligator. There are two references, one in 18k gold, priced at $19,900, and in steel at $16,600. blancpain.com