Standing proudly in a lacquered marquetry-worked Macassar ebony cabinet are eight watches of various complications, each with its own engraved nameplate and rotating motor adapted to the needs of the complication. Three drawers house the watchmaker’s tools, certificates, operating instructions and the programming system for the eight rotating bases.
Individually numbered, the eight watches are the Ultra Slim, Time Zone, Moon phase Calendar, Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs, Single push-button Chronograph with split seconds, Tourbillon, Equation Marchante Pure and a Minute Repeater. The 38 mm case of each model is in 950 platinum, the dials are mat black with white gold Roman numerals, there are sapphire crystals front and back and the watches are all completed by a black crocodile leather strap with a platinum folding clasp.
Now let’s take a closer look at the watches …
1/Apotheosis Temporis Ultra-slim
‘The power of understatement’
At the heart of this ultra-thin watch (9.2 mm) is the Calibre 1150 self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. Comprising 188 parts in an area 3.25 mm thick, the movement has an oscillating weight decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving, hours and minutes functions with a central seconds hand and a date aperture at 3 o’clock.
2/Apotheosis Temporis Time Zone
‘A global touch’
This watch is equipped with a Calibre 5L60 self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. This complex mechanism of 254 parts offers dual time zone at 12 o’clock, a day/night indicator at 9 o’clock and small seconds in a sub-dial at 6 o’clock. There is a platinum oscillating weight decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving.
3/Apotheosis Temporis Moon phase Calendar
‘Reaching for the stars’
This watch has a Calibre 6763 self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. Comprising 261 components, the indications are hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, day/month apertures below the Blancpain logo at 12 o’clock, a pointer-type date display and a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock. There is a platinum oscillating weight decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving.
4/Apotheosis Temporis Perpetual Calendar with Correctors Hidden under the Lugs
‘The memory of the future’
This complex timepiece houses a Calibre 5635A self-winding movement with a 100-hour power reserve. Composed of 297 parts, the watch displays hours, minutes, day of the week at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock, moon phase at 6 o’clock. There is a platinum oscillating weight decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving and, as the title indicates, the correctors for these indications are cleverly concealed beneath the lugs of the watch.
5/Apotheosis Temporis Single Push-button Chronograph with Split-seconds
‘Speed and tradition’
Equipped with a Calibre M186 self-winding movement with a 40-hour power reserve, this sophisticated movement requires more than 375 parts. The chronograph push-button is set into the crown of the watch and the split-seconds push-button is situated at 10 o’clock. The small seconds counter is located at 6 o’clock and there are 12-hour and 30-minute counters with a date aperture at 6 o’clock. As with all of the Apotheosis Temporis models, there is a platinum oscillating weight and this model is decorated with a raised Blancpain engraving.
6/Apotheosis Temporis Tourbillon
A Calibre 25 self-winding movement with a one-week power reserve is housed within this model. A 238-part mechanism drives the flying tourbillon (70 parts weighing less than a gram) with the upper bridge of the tourbillon carriage indicating the seconds, the other functions are hours and minutes, date at 9 o’clock, power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The platinum oscillating weight is decorated and chased by hand with the inscription ‘JB 1735’ and the watch is water-resistant to 30 metres.
7/Apotheosis Temporis Equation Marchante Pure
‘The sun emerges from the shadows’
In 2004, Blancpain presented the first wristwatch capable of displaying both solar and civil time by two separate minute hands. For this model, the simple reading on the dial demands a particularly complex mechanism. The movement is the exceptional Calibre 3863A comprising 364 components with a 72-hour power reserve. This self-winding movement, in addition to indicating the running equation of time, also shows the date, day of the week, month, the leap year cycle and the seconds on a sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The platinum oscillating weight is hand engraved with a glowing sun and the inscription ‘JB 1735’. The watch is water-resistant to 30 metres.
8/Apotheosis Temporis Minute Repeater
‘The gentle music of time’
Equipped with a Calibre 35 self-winding 360-part movement, this complex and slim timepiece (10.30 mm) incorporates a striking mechanism with two small hammers striking a gong to sound the hours, quarters and minutes, upon request. The powerful striking tone owes as much to the science of alloys as it does to the exceptional acoustics of the Minute Repeater. Hours and minutes are indicated and the platinum oscillating weight is open-worked, en-graved and chased by hand with the JB 1735 signature in its centre.
This quite extraordinary Apotheosis Temporis set will satisfy the needs of most watch aficionados and collectors and is tangible proof that Blancpain thrives on its perpetual quest for innovation. Once tucked away in their imposing cabinet the watches become an eye-catching and intriguing focal point and despite one’s first impression that the watches appear to be almost too precious to use, on inspection their outstanding workmanship and quality ensures that they will be worn through more than one lifetime.
As the saying goes, ‘if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it’. I asked, it’s set at 577,000 Swiss francs.
Source: August - September 2005 Issue
Click here to subscribe to Europa Star Magazine.