Shakudo itself isn’t a method, but more a material. It’s a metal alloy that is mostly copper with roughly 4-10% stone. What’s special about the alloy is that it can be treated to achieve a black patina which in many ways looks like lacquer. Why is this significant? It is about having the ability to engrave something with a rich amount of detail in addition to a good deal of visual contrast. Black from the aluminum color offers that level of contrast but without the special black patina attributes of shakudo that black could only be achieved by adding black colour. The addition of such pigment (using lacquer for example) reduces the ability for an artist to flaunt fine detail.Thus, shakudo permits for the display and engraving of extremely fine detail in tiny spaces with an awesome degree of contrast. In other words, images engraved in shakudo really pop. Even these two Blancpain Villeret Shakudo watches provide unique demonstrations of this method, which means that there’s variety in this set.
For Baselworld 2016, Blancpain is introducing a stainless steel version of their Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT watch, providing a cleaner and more contemporary look. When I’ve looked at this watch in passing as someone rather fond of GMT complications, it took me some time to figure out why the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT just wasn’t giving me the same feeling I get from most GMT watches. Then something clicked in my conscious, and I was sucked in. Basically, it’s because this is a GMT watch that, well, does not look like a GMT watch. Without that additional central hand and accompanying scale, it would be easy to misinterpret the GMT sub dial at 8 o’clock as a sub-seconds dial. Of course, the lack of movement and the scale betrays that, but still…
For me, that is the hook with the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT, in that it sort of hides it’s functionality in plain sight. Then we get into the other complications on the watch. Along with time and GMT time, calendar-related stuff is high on my list of usable functions on a watch; here, on the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT, we have an annual calendar complication. This complication requires adjusting the calendar once between February and March, as opposed to a perpetual calendar where that wouldn’t be necessary.
Now, this sort of complication is not something new or rare. On the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT, what stood out for me is, first, how the display windows are implemented. The date shows up at the normal position, but the day and month take up non-standard positions on the dial, rather than just up at the top. Yes, this unbalances the dial a little bit, but I’ll give that a pass for the uniqueness of the execution. The second thing that stood out for me was where Blancpain watch value Replica put the adjustment pushers. Rather than having these on the left side of the case, they actually hid them under the lugs.
This is a clever option, and I am surprised more brands have not tried this. By putting the calendar adjustment pushers of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT under the lugs, we are left with a very clean case. Frankly, you will not be fiddling with those pushers very much, provided you keep the watch wound, so why not tuck them away where they are not noticeable?
So far, it would be fair to say that we have not discussed much with the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT that has not appeared for the line already – so what’s new for BaselWorld? Here, it’s the case material. This is the first time that the 40mm case has appeared in stainless steel. Paired to a white dial and black alligator strap (22mm, for those wondering), you have a very classic sort of a look in terms of the color palette. If, for some reason, you want a splash of color, you will get that via the exhibition case back, where you can see the decorated rotor in yellow gold.
On the whole, I like the looks of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT with its 6054F movement. I am a little uncertain about the Roman numerals on the dial, and I cannot make my mind up if I’d remove them or make them larger, but the rest of the look, and particularly the layout, really have me hooked on the Blancpain watch bands Replica line. Price for the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT in steel will be $27,300. blancpain.com