It is a common belief that God is omnipresent, but as the physical identity of God is still a mystery, we humans connect with the Almighty by practicing different religions in different parts of the world. And every religion offers a representation of God which can be used as an object of worship and symbolism. Why am I rambling on about a topic like religion, and how exactly does it relate to horology? I would like to introduce to you the Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh watch.
The Blancpain 6651 Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh watch, as the name indicates, is a tribute to the Hindu Lord Ganesha, and it is a new offering from Blancpain’s Villeret line of watches. Lord Ganesha, also known as Vinayaka (Knowlegeable) and Vighneshwara (Lord of obstacles) is one of the most worshipped deities in the Hindu religion. Another interesting fact about Lord Ganesha is that he is known as the patron of arts, and Blancpain launching the stunningly artistic Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh watch around Lord Ganesha’s birthday couldn’t be a better birthday present for him.
The Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh is a product of Blancpain’s award-winning Métiers D’Art studio located in Vallée de Joux. The Métiers D’Art studio is renowned for a wide range of artistic crafts including fine engraving, enameling, damascening, shakudō, and more. Having won the Artistic Crafts prize for the Blancpain Villeret Shakudo Ganesh watch in 2015, Métiers d’Art studio is back with another unique interpretation of the Ganesh theme in the Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh watch. The beautiful portrait of Lord Ganesha on the dial of the Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh is a result of combining fine engraving, damascening, and shakudō, and is testimony to the skills and craftsmanship of Blancpain’s artisans.
The black patina on the dial of the Blancpain Ultraplate Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh is achieved with the help of shakudō, which is an alloy of gold and copper. Unpatinated shakudō resembles bronze, and Blancpain’s artisans delicately treat the surface multiple times to achieve the final subtle black shades that mark this art form which was originally developed for the decoration of swords and jewellery. Another art form which adorns this dial, and whose application in watchmaking is limited to Blancpain, is damascening. Damascening is the art of inlaying different metals into one another, and it is utilized to hand-carve fine designs on the dial of the Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh watch, following which gold is hammered into the resulting troughs.
Cost however, there is a lot to love about this new limited-edition entry to the Fifty Fathoms lineup — which is likely why the watch is enjoying dive watch lover “sleeper hit” standing post-Baselworld. Largely released without significant fanfare, element of this Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec watch’s appeal are its conservative measurements and faithful adherence to the design codes of their original Mil-Spec. However, a key measurement of its appeal is likely Blancpain’s inclusion of a critical quality of the first: a working replica of the “watertightness” moisture index at 6:00. Back in the early days “when sex was safe and diving was dangerous,” dip watches weren’t the rugged, dependable tools we’re familiar with today. Though predominant to a diver’s safety, the oldest examples were still prone to damage by shock, plagued by poor visibility in low light, and built with instances ill-equipped to take care of great ocean depths. Unsatisfied with issued watches which couldn’t (quite literally) function under stress, French battle swimmer corps commanders Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud sought out the grandfather of the Fifty Fathoms, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, that had been already hard at work on a layout that would address these exact symptoms.But the watch that became standard-issue to the UDT teams commanded by Maloubier and Riffaud was not Fiechter’s first provincial Fathoms layout, but one which contained an added safeguard: a quirky watertightness index that could alarm the wearer if their watch was compromised. Now, it’s well worth clarifying that this indicator is a little bit like a smoke detector — it only points out the obvious, and does little to protect against the fire. But back in 1957 when the layout was initiated and soon adopted on all dive watches issued to combat swimmers, a diver only wanted to know if his view could be reliable or not.
Continuing the golden theme on the intricately finished dial of the Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh, this watch is equipped with a 45mm-wide red gold case with Blancpain’s signature double-stepped bezel, adding to the overall warmth of the design. At the helm of this watch is the ultra slim manually wound in-house caliber 15B, offering a power reserve of 40 hours. The movement has been moderately decorated with finely hand-applied Côtes de Genève along with beveling and circular graining, and can be viewed from the transparent case back.
The Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh is literally a one-of-a-kind watch, as only one is being produced. It is targeted towards devotees of Lord Ganesha who want to maintain a divine connection with him every single second of the day by having his picture on the dial of their watch. The Blancpain Villeret Métiers D’Art Ganesh comes on a brown alligator strap with a price of £111,550. blancpain.com