The Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 jours Deconstructed by “The Naked Watchmaker”
A horological dissection in magnified detail.
We have already published a few stories about “The Naked Watchmaker”… but can you ever have too much of a good thing? With the Naked Watchmaker, Peter Speake-Marin practices horological dissection, providing a unique, three-dimensional vision of a watch’s anatomy, revealing its innermost secrets in plain sight. Today, we are taking a look at the Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 jours, as always accompanied by his beautiful, ultra-detailed pictures.
The Villeret line owes its name to Blancpain’s native village in the Swiss Jura. It is the most classic and traditional line of the brand; this year alone we have seen the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT, the Villeret Tourbillon with jumping hours and the Villeret Grande Date. Unlike these three complications, the intricately crafted Villeret Squelette 8 jours is an entirely openworked piece revealing the quintessence of its superbly decorated movement in complete transparency. The watch feels both classic and modern at once, mixing classic and contemporary styling.
The meticulous craftsmanship involved in its making is truly impressive. Skeletonisation consists of carving away the metal from the plate and bridges to reveal the inner workings. Traditionally, parts are richly decorated. This art requires skill and expertise. It is a delicate, time-consuming process… and a feast for the eyes when performed at this level!
The Villeret Squelette 8 jours is powered by the calibre 1333SQ, consisting of 157 components. This modern movement was introduced in 2012. Fully openworked, it reveals the inner workings that make it tick. The plate, bridges and other components – such as the barrel covers – are hollowed out, meticulously angled and engraved. This large 30.8mm movement boasts a healthy 192-hour/8-day power reserve thanks to its three barrels coupled in series. Running at 4 Hz., its titanium balance wheel features a Breguet hairspring.
This skillfully crafted movement is housed in the elegant Villeret case with its characteristic double stepped bezel. Fashioned out of white gold, it is only 38mm in diameter and just 9.08 mm thick; it looks effortlessly elegant and wears equally so. Some people might argue that it is small but for this type of watch, I think it is just perfect. The brand logo is transferred to the sapphire crystal. The leaf-shaped hands are openworked too. The counterweight of the seconds hand adopts the shape of the brand’s logo. All three hands are coloured in black for better readability.
Available on a black alligator strap secured by a folding buckle, the Blancpain Villeret Squelette 8 jours is a superb skeletonised watch. At CHF 63,800, while it is certainly not cheap, the quality of the skeletonisation and hand-finishing entirely justify its price.
For more information about the Villeret Squelette 8 jours, please visit www.blancpain.com. And for more pictures of the watch or more deconstructions by the Naked Watchmaker, click on the following link www.thenakedwatchmaker.com.
If I were spending that kind of money, I’m sure I could easily find the few thousand extra for a Vacheron Metiers D’Art Mecaniques Ajourees, which is probably the most beautiful skeleton watch I’ve seen.
The problem with most skeleton watches is they are not much use at telling the time. If you can not see the time at a glance then it is not really much use. As a piece of art to wear on your wrist, it is interesting, you could always wear a proper watch on the other wrist or carry a pocket watch!
That’s another thing about the Vacheron. Easy to read at a glance. It’s got black hands like this Blancpain, but the mechanism is much lighter in tone. Anyway, enough about Vacheron. Sorry.
I’d love to know exactly what was so offensive about my comment that it had to be deleted.