At the Baselworld watch fair, earlier this year, Blancpain introduced an new in-house chronograph movement, with a fly-back function and a silicon balance spring that vibrates at a high frequency of 5Hz or 36,000 vph. After introducing it in the Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback, Blancpain’s new in-house calibre F385 is now available in the classic looking Blancpain Villeret Chronographe Pulsomètre.
Despite its classic looks, Blancpain’s Villeret Chronographe Pulsomètre comes in a rather large 43.6 mm red gold case. Its cambered white Grand Feu enamel dial is surrounded by a pulsometer scale and features enamel-painted Roman numerals, except at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The brand’s name and logo appear on the upper half of the dial, while the lower half features the date window and the connotation “Flyback”. Left and right of the centre are the chronograph 30-minute and 12-hour counters.
What is a Pulsometer?
The pulsometer scale serves to check a heart rate quickly and easily. Mid of last century, doctors used a wristwatch chronograph with a pulsometer scale for this purpose. Instead of measuring the pulse by counting the number of heart beats, during a 60-second period, the pulsometer was enabled doctors to take their patients’ pulses more rapidly. After starting a measurement, the chronograph hand indicates the patient’s heart beat on the special graduated scale, and there’s no need for calculations (that used to be the case when heart beats were counted for just 15-seconds and subsequently multiplied by four).
With the pulsometer it works differently. The doctor starts the chronograph, and stops it again when he counted exactly 30 heart beats, and than the chronograph hand indicates the heart rate at the pulsometer scale. Most pulsometer (or in French pulsomètre) scales start with the words “Gradue pour 30 pulsation” (like the new Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph), “Calibrated for 30 pulsations” or “Base 30 pulsations“. Some vintage pulsometer chronographs come with a graduation for 15 heart beats, making the measurement double as fast.
It’s chronograph is equipped with a vertical clutch (the best way to couple the chronograph gears to the gear train) and its chronograph mechanism is actuated by a column wheel. The fly-back function enables instant chronograph resetting and restarting simply by pressing a pusher at 4 o’clock, which proves to be extremely useful when measuring successive time periods.
Blancpain’s new hi-beat movement, calibre F385, comprises 322 parts including a silicon balance spring. It delivers 50 hours autonomy when fully wound. Just looking at its specs, it seems to be an impressive movement, that finally allows Blancpain to join other high-end watch brands that have an in-house chronograph.