Upon hearing the price of very expensive watches people assume the cost must be due to the overwhelming presence of precious jewels. Upon learning most of these timepieces actually have no jewels (aside from synthetic rubies in the movement) they are left in a state of confusion and bewilderment. An ensuing explanation about the complexity of watches, the time involved in making them, and the inherent exclusivity is required education before any such non-watch aficionados “get it.” Then again, you could opt to adorn a wrist watch like this where if price were mentioned (or merely assumed), any audience would need no explanation in fathoming this self-evident item of pure fortune crunching extremism.
In almost too tiny a package for a king’s ransom, Blancpain is able to neatly pack a healthy amount of impressive jewel work in the 40mm wide white gold case of its newest flagship haute joaillerie watch for men. Too fancy for English, the Blancpain Spécialités Tourbillon Diamants timepieces nevertheless have a translation that is unmistakable. Certainly a specialty, production of the watch is limited, maybe even to one piece. Imagine the intense hours required simply to select the proper stones and then cut them. A close inspection of the dial, bezel, crown, and even the rear of the watch reveals a complex patterning of various baguette cut stones. Many of them (especially on the dial) are marginally tapered for an impressive sunburst array. There are even twelve conspicuous lines of diamonds formed on the dial to serve as hour markers.
Diamonds are clearly the theme of this over-the-top luxury timepiece—a theme that Blancpain takes with the utmost seriousness. Easy to miss, even the watch hands are covered in a speckling of diamonds. Imaging the level of sparkle that the Spécialités Tourbillon Diamant gives off is an almost futile endeavor by just looking at an image of it alone. Such a presence of faceted diamonds would define “light refraction” as the infinite polished surfaces play with the light, evoking the natural sense of awe that comes from tightly grouping the most favored of all precious jewels.
The sole detractor from the jewelry character of this timepiece is the large exposed flying tourbillion on the watch dial. It spins each 60 seconds, doubling as a subsidiary seconds indicator. The hand-made Blancpain caliber 25A movement features automatic winding and a very long 168 hour power reserve. Like most manufacture made movements, Blancpain emphasizes a view to the caliber through a transparent sapphire crystal on the rear of the watch – unsurprisingly surrounded by more diamonds.
While the count of over 20 carats of diamonds in the watch might convey that Blancpain is attempting to present this Spécialités Tourbillon Diamants as merely a vehicle for diamond splendor, it is rather closer to an horological obligation. The high houses of watch making must continue to assert themselves mechanically as well as luxuriously. The classical definition of exclusively high-end items of desire is those which are the most covered in precious of materials. Blancpain here favors 18k white gold and a dizzying amount of diamonds being an obvious expression of this concept. It is then the responsibility of the brand to ensure its latest haute joaillerie offering is also aesthetically pleasing and awe inspiring. The privilege to call one yours comes with the approximate price of $1,342,700. www.blancpain.com.
- 40mm wide 18k white gold watch case
- Flying tourbillion carriage window
- Caliber 25A in-house automatic mechanical movement visible through sapphire caseback
- Reptile strap with matching 18k gold diamond covered buckle
- 164 baguette-cut diamonds on dial with total 20.14 carats of diamonds on watch
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com