Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Hands-on with the Blancpain Villeret Grande Date – Live photos, Specs and Price

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |

There are watches to dream and there are watches to be worn. This, however, doesn’t mean that the watches you’ll be wearing on a daily basis have to be shy and boring. Instead, they have to just look great and be practical. You could easily think about a Submariner or a good old Seiko for that but you might also want something more elegant and refined. The watch will be looking at today is this kind of timepiece, something elegant, discreet that however, comes with a lot of very nice details. It’s called the Blancpain Villeret Grande Date and it’s a superb example of a classically styled dress watch – with some extras.

A few weeks before Baselworld 2015, Blancpain already made a preview of this watch. We showed it to you on Monochrome-Watches, as it is the kind of watch we love here. It might be extremely classical, it remains well balanced and has small details, little extras that create pleasure. There are plenty of dress, discreet, understated watches around. However, the imagination of designers seems to be limited as it’s hard to find a proper DNA on some of them. The base recipe remains the same for most dress watches: a reasonable diameter, a case made preferably in precious metal, a simple display (2 or 3 hands) and no extra features to keep the design and shape simple.

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However, we, at Monochrome-Watches, will always support boldness and subtle details that differentiate a product from another. In this market of dress watches, it is true that differentiation is hard to achieve. The only possibility is to create unique but subtle extras. This is what this Blancpain Villeret Grande Date comes with. This watch is all about discretion mixed with details. First the case. At first sight, it is a simple, clean, elegant case. But if you look at the bezel closely, you’ll find one of the brand’s emblematic design clue, the ‘double pomme‘ shaped bezel – basically a rounded double step bezel. The case measures 40mm and is proposed in two editions: a first one in 18k red gold and a second one, more affordable, in stainless steel.

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40mm could be seen as an appropriate size for a watch. However, in the context of a dress timepiece, we do think here at Monochrome that 38mm is better and more elegant. Considering the very slim bezel and the bright colour of the dial, this virtually enlarge the watch to a size that could appear slightly larger than on paper. One or two millimeters less would have been (for us) even more elegant. This doesn’t affect however the comfort on the wrist.

The dial is also an underrated part of this Blancpain Villeret Grande Date. Once again, it looks very simple and classical. It comes with 3 hands and applied gold or silvery indexes. Nothing spectacular, except that this Roman numerals are stylized and easily recognizable as Blancpain. The same remark can be said about the hands. They show a simple leaf shape but are discreetly skeletonized. The dial, made over two steps, has an opaline finish and shows just enough literature – brand / Swiss Made. Now comes the extra features: the big date. It is displayed by two large and separated discs but working on the same level. There’s no visible gap or step between those two numerals – something too often seen and not totally elegant.

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The Blancpain Villeret Grande Date features a rather slim and compact self-winding movement that has a 4.75mm thickness – making the watch reasonably slim at 10.88mm. This movement comes with two mainspring barrels (for 72 hours of power reserve and a more stable delivery of energy) and a free sprung balance with an anti-magnetic silicon spiral regulated by gold screws. As usual with Blancpain, finishing is pleasant with polished bevelled angles, Geneva Stripes on the bridges and circular graining on the main plate. It features a gold rotor (on both editions) with a honeycomb-pattern.

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The Blancpain Villeret Grande Date shows that adding an extra feature and discreet, subtle details to a very classical watch – without having an overload of them – emphasizes the pleasure by differentiating it from the rest of the crowd. It’s not a simple exercise but Blancpain achieved to have a very elegant watch with this Villeret Grande Date, full of pleasant details.

Price: 11.600 USD in stainless steel and 21.300 USD in 18k red gold.

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