The name of this watch doesn’t actually include its most thrilling feature. For 2011, this is the Blancpain Kalender 2015 L-evolution Tourbillon Large Date watch. It is true that it has a flying tourbillon and a big date indicator but turn it over and you see the power reserve indicator on the rotor. Complications on rotors seem to be really “in” this year. In 2011 alone, on automatic rotors, we have seen seconds indicators (Cartier), tourbillons (Jacob & Co.), and now a power reserve indicator on this Blancpain. Coincidence? Probably not.
As part of the larger L-evolution range this watch is actually quite cool and cohesive in design and execution. I have always looked quizzically at the two large lume coated Roman numerals on the dial – I don’t know that I understand that design component but some people seem to love it. Other than that, the collection is really cool. You have a nice skeletonized dial – but one that at least still has a dial, and you have an interesting looking case design. This range is very different from most other things that Blancpain offers. I like how they really try to diversify their offerings, with classic watches, sporty watches, complex watches, and sporty complex watches.
The case is offered in either 18k rose or white gold and is 43.5mm wide. Going along with the sporty theme the watch case is satin finished – which is interesting actually. The dial has a mixture of finishes including perlage, sunburst, and Geneva stripes. There is a lot going on in the dial but I appreciate the easy to see hands and presence of lots of lume. This is a good example of decorate skeletonization where a movement is design from the ground up to be partially “open.”
It’s a darn nice NATO-style strap, but it does come at a 23mm wide size, and in addition, it feels a little odd on such a high-end watch (even if it looks cool). The best way to think about the Blancpain Piece Unique Price Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph is as a very well-detailed instrument watch. It looks fine, performs well, and has an extremely handsome traditional look to it. Most important, of course, is that it’s comfortable to wear and easy to read. Those elements together actually set it in a league without that a number of different watches, and help solidify Blancpain among the greatest manufacturers of high-end “luxury” sport watches. Blancpain continues to be a strong provider of unique and interesting movements in what often feels like a sea of mechanical genericism, even in the luxury watch market. Look closely and you’ll find in Blancpain watches genuinely innovative attempts that are producing new assortments of existing ideas, in addition to some novel ones. Now, I’d love to look at the Blancpain Villeret Quantieme Annuel GMT watch which we first covered here. It comes from 18k white gold, 18k rose gold, as well as in steel – all with various dial designs. It’s updated for 2016 according to a motion that launched in 2011.
Inside the watch is the in-house made Blancpain caliber 4225G automatic movement. It has a pretty massive power reserve of 168 hours (7 days) and is made up of over 400 parts. The trick rotor is fascinating to see in action. The system keeps the power reserve indicator always pointing up making it fun to play with as you can see in the video. Blancpain needed to really get innovating with the gear system as well as the clutch which separates the rotor from the movement when the mainspring barrels are full. I love watches with long power reserves that are also automatics and have power reserve indicators.
Overall, a really nice item from Blancpain Calibre 1315 that feels like a satisfying composition of complications and design. It certainly isn’t for everyone – not even close, but I really am happy that Blancpain keeps putting R&D into the L-evolution range. The L-evolution Tourbillon Large Date watch will be priced in the $140,000 range.