For the past 20 years, Blancpain has celebrated Valentine’s Day with a special timepiece dedicated to women. Combining luxurious white gold with the sparkle of diamonds and passionate red flourishes, this new edition of the Blancpain Ladybird marks Saint Valentine’s 2022, in a limited edition of 99 timepieces.
Although our readers will associate Blancpain with icons like the Fifty Fathoms and the elegant Villeret collection, there are some surprising facts about Blancpain’s history of women’s watches. Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in Villeret, the company remained in family hands until 1932. Following the death of the seventh-generation Blancpain, the watchmaking brand was entrusted to a loyal assistant of Frédéric-Emile Blancpain. What is remarkable for the day is that the assistant was Betty Fiechter, who became the first woman CEO in the Swiss watchmaking industry in 1933. Other milestones in Blancpain’s portfolio of women’s watches included the 1930s Rolls, the first automatic wristwatch for women. (Another famous platinum and diamond cocktail watch produced by Blancpain and worn by Marilyn Monroe was revisited in 2020 in a stunning high jewellery version with a rectangular-shaped movement.) In 1956, under the direction of Fiechter, Blancpain produced the Ladybird, the world’s smallest round watch with a mechanical movement (11.85mm) and a winding crown on the caseback. A pioneer in the world of petite ladies’ watches that were all the rage in the 1950s, Blancpain’s Ladybird evolved over the decades and in 1993 was equipped with the thinnest manual-winding movement (calibre 610) of the day.
The Ladybird Valentine’s Day corresponds to the larger 34.9mm case size introduced in 2021 for the Ladybird Colors collection. Larger than the diminutive 21.5mm Ladybird Ultraplate models currently in the collection, the Ladybird Colors is fitted with Blancpain’s ultra-thin automatic movement (calibre 1153) with an impressive 100-hour power reserve.
The dainty 34.9mm white gold case has a slim height of 9.20mm and is set with 58 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel and lugs with a rose-cut ruby in the crown. Since red is the colour associated with passion and love, the white mother-of-pearl dial features varnished red Arabic numerals and a small red heart pierced by Cupid’s arrow represented by the central seconds hand with an arrow counterweight. A second ring of smaller diamonds graces the centre of the dial, and the characteristic hollowed sage leaf hands indicate time.
Blancpain’s ultra-thin automatic movement powers the Ladybird Saint Valentine. With its slender 3.25mm height, calibre 1153 is fitted with a silicon balance spring, beats at a 3Hz frequency and delivers robust 4-day/100-hour power reserve. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the openworked white gold rotor and refined finishings like the Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges and perlage on the base plate.
Availability and Price
A red alligator strap with a diamond-set pin buckle completes the romantic colour scheme of the Ladybird Valentine’s Day 2022. Limited to 99 pieces, the price of the watch is EUR 27,170.
More information at Blancpain.com.