After a career in financial technology, the Festa-Bianchet couple embarked on a new entrepreneurial project driven by their passion and desire to create their own watches. As evident from their inaugural timepiece, the B 1.618 Openwork, they have specialized in crafting ultra-modern tourbillons, with the number 1.618 serving as a reference to the golden ratio, a pivotal element influencing their designs. Their second creation, the Flying Tourbillon Grande Date B 1.618, adheres to the same design language but represents an evolutionary step. A visit to the brand’s new premises and atelier in La Chaux-de-Fonds provided the opportunity to get our hands on this sports tourbillon, boasting an impressive 5000-G shock resistance.
As mentioned, the Bianchet Flying Tourbillon Grande Date B 1.618 retains the design language of its predecessor, featuring a tonneau-shaped case and a modern, openworked tourbillon movement. However, it also introduces some noteworthy evolutions. Overall, it exudes a more technical and dynamic vibe. The clean-cut lines on both the case and the movement contribute to the creation of a genuinely modern timepiece.
The case dimensions remain quite close to those of the brand’s first model, measuring 43mm in width, 51mm in length and 14.35mm in thickness. It is available in two versions, full carbon or hybrid (carbon with bezel and back in titanium). Sleek, lightweight and comfortable, the carbon fibre composite used by Bianchet is called “titanium dust high-density carbon”, which is made of 500 compressed layers of 0.03mm thick carbon fibre infused with titanium powder to create subtle reflections. The carbon fibres are arranged at 45- and 90-degree angles, resulting in a resistant structure with captivating marbled patterns. A distinctive Bianchet signature feature is the exposed colourful gaskets. Additionally, screw-secured guards protect the crown, matching the colour of the gasket.
In general, tourbillons are seen as rather delicate and require a certain level of care. However, the intention of the 100m water-resistant and 5,000G shock-resistant case is to create a watch fit for an active lifestyle.
Inside the watch is a skeletonized flying tourbillon with a big date. Ultra-modern and boldly styled, the openworked design affords views of the various parts normally hidden behind a dial – which requires that each element be perfectly finished. The construction of this proprietary calibre is distinctly architectural, playing with volumes, contrasting materials and colours. The thin, arched structural elements of the sandblasted titanium bridges and plate follow the curves of the Fibonacci spiral, adding an additional layer of aesthetic sophistication to the timepiece.
Bianchet has opted for a flying tourbillon, a construction where the tourbillon cage is held on one side only, rotating on ball bearings. Emblazoned with the Bianchet signature, it performs its ballet at 6 o’clock, providing a counterpoint to the grande date mechanism at 12 o’clock. Operating at 21,600 vibrations/hour, the watch boasts a generous 90-hour power reserve when the barrel is fully wound. The movements are assembled in the Bianchet workshop in La Chaux de Fonds, while the list of manufacturing partners for components includes Inhotec, Precision Engineering, Feller, Crelier and more…
Despite the openworked design, the legibility is pretty good, thanks to the minute track featured on the flange. The two adjacent openworked discs form the big date in a coloured rectangular frame.
The Bianchet Flying Tourbillon Grande Date B 1.618 is presented on a rubber strap nicely integrated into the case. It is delivered with a spare rubber strap in a different colour and is secured to the wrist by a titanium folding clasp. Despite the relatively large proportions, it wears quite comfortably thanks to its lightness (just 55 grams without the strap) and ergonomic curved design. With its bold, technical character, it won’t go unnoticed and is similar in style to watches from other brands proposing modern, tonneau-shaped skeletons such as Richard Mille, Hublot, Frank Muller or Cvstos. If there are some similarities with the watches of this category, the Bianchet Flying Tourbillon Grande Date B1.618 has its own character and traits. Customers can choose from any of the eight colour variations available. The price is set at CHF 65,500, excluding taxes. Last but not least, the warranty is of 5 years.
For more details, please visit www.bianchet.com.