Blancpain is highly regarded for the uncomplicated elegance of its designs, and this aesthetic is perfectly embodied by its Villeret line of dress watches. Named after the small Swiss town where the brand was founded, this has been its flagship collection since the 1980s. Among our favourites from this distinguished family is the men’s 40mm rose-gold GMT Date, presented on a brown leather strap (£16,100) and the ladies’ 33mm Villeret Date model, with its simple white dial and blue strap (£7,490). Both models have a sapphire-crystal case back, allowing their slim yet powerful movement to be admired.
History at its heart
Blancpain is the oldest registered watch manufacturer in the world. Founded by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain back in 1735, it remained family-owned for almost two centuries. In 1859, an old mill at Le Brassus, Vallée de Joux was transformed into a watchmaking workshop that is still used by Blancpain to this day. Over the years, the company has been responsible for so many noted horological landmarks. Its creation of the world’s smallest moon-phase display in 1983 was hugely significant in the resurgence of the mechanical watch industry. It was followed by the world’s thinnest automatic chronograph in 1987 and the world’s first movement with a one-minute flying carousel and 100-hour power reserve in 2008.
Blancpain’s president and CEO Marc Hayek has described the collection as ‘representing refinement and classicism combined with ground-breaking movements’. The Villeret collection is loved for its simplicity and traditional designs – but that doesn’t mean its models aren’t frequently reinterpreted to add contemporary features, and Blancpain has integrated complications such as a triple calendar, moon phase and carousel into the collection. However, the purity of the design remains, as do the slender double-stepped cases, which can be seen on every model.
Ideal for businessmen who do a lot of international travel, the timepiece displays a second time zone
This ultra-slim ladies’ Villeret, with white dial and blue alligator leather strap, is a great example of why the collection remains so popular. It features Roman-numeral hour markers and a date window taking the place of the numeral at 3 o’clock – beautiful yet simple design, with legibility and ease of use to the fore. This exquisite timepiece is powered by the watchmaker’s ultra-slim automatic calibre 1151, which has an impressive approximate 100-hour power reserve, and it’s also water-resistant to approximately 30m.
The men’s 40mm 18-carat rose-gold Villeret GMT Date has many of the same attractive qualities, although with a slightly more detailed opaline dial. Ideal for businessmen who do a lot of international travel, the timepiece displays a second time zone on the same dial, indicated by an elegant red-tipped hand. It is powered by Blancpain’s automatic calibre 5A50 which, like the aforementioned ladies’ model, offers an approximate 100-hour power reserve and is also water-resistant to approximately 30m.
The Villeret collection undoubtedly ticks every box when it comes to a dress watch.
Browse Blancpain at Watches of Switzerland