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Blancpain is no stranger to ladies mechanical timepieces. The Le Brassus manufacture presented the world’s first self-winding watch for women in 1930 and swiftly followed up Its famed Ladybird collection – incidentally the world’s smallest round watch with the thinnest round mechanical movement (Calibre R550 manual winding movement ) of the 50s (1956 to be precise), specially for women.
Hence, over 60 years on and right at the precipice of another golden age of ladies watchmaking spurred on by Chinese demand, Blancpain has elected to offer a special “Valentine’s Day 2020” jewellery watch as an ode to love. Not content to be a mere women’s watch with a generic movement encased in a diamond encrusted case, Blancpain is not just releasing an elegant art deco inspired jewellery timepiece, the Saint-Valentin 2020 comes with a brand new, dedicated Calibre 510.
The Calibre 510 is the third of dedicated women’s calibres produced this year (so far) – Zenith released their first women’s only collection in the Defy Midnight and Bvlgari debuted a shaped tourbillon movement for their Serpenti Seduttori; but what makes Blancpain’s Saint-Valentin 2020 so appealing is that horological enthusiasts will recall another exquisite rectangular, miniature women’s movement – artisan watchmaker Henri Rodanet’s LeCoultre & Cie 101 – a milestone of heritage watchmaking and then, one of the smallest mechanical movements in the world.
Blancpain’s Valentine’s Day 2020 Calibre 510 is not quite as diminutive but at 2.6 mm thin (thinner than the JLC 101 movement’s 3.4mm) and with 25.2mm x 12mm proportions (compared to the 14mm x 4.8mm) and providing 52 hours power reserve, it does feel like its the good old days of watchmaking all over again.
The 14-piece limited edition Saint-Valentin 2020 is a veritable jewel, inspired by a stunning Blancpain evening watch once owned by Marilyn Monroe. The rectangular white gold Art Deco style case is set with 84 diamond including two generous marquise-cut gems; while its mother-of-pearl dial, inlaid with two hearts, is adorned with two brilliant-cut diamonds and two precious butterflies made of diamond and ruby hearts.
A rare occasion of sensuality meets technicality on the Blancpain Saint-Valentin 2020 as the gorgeous aesthetic of its face is matched by the skeletonised wonder that is the calibre 510 seen through sapphire caseback – symmetry between its balance-wheel and its barrel lend both delicacy and visual equilibrium to this two-tone mechanical movement courtesy of the different materials used in executing bridges and the going-train and escapement, while the chamfered finish of its bridges adds a soft and light touch.
In this age of wokeness, the bejewelled women’s watch also calls to mind the brand’s first female watch brand owner and director, Betty Fiechter, who added her feminine vision to a decidedly male-dominant technical industry. The special “Valentine’s Day 2020” watch is available with a calf leather strap secured by a pin buckle set with a brilliant-cut diamond. This dazzling timepiece perfectly embodies the spirit of Blancpain.
Blancpain Saint-Valentin 2020 Price and Specs
Movement Manual winding Calibre 510 with 52 hours power reserve
Case 16mm white gold case with 30 metres water resistance