Blancpain offers its bracelets and straps in a wide variety of styles and materials. The most classical are the Villeret collection’s straps in alligator skin. In full compliance with international recommendations, our skins come from alligator farms. Each skin is individually selected, based on strict criteria regarding thickness, suppleness, colour and the size and pattern of the scales. A great deal of appreciation and expertise is required to cut the leather in a way that produces a harmonious distribution of the scales suiting the form of the strap. Linings are chosen for their comfort, suppleness and non-allergenic properties. Each strap is hand-sewn.
Fifty Fathoms Straps & Metal Bracelets
The Fifty Fathoms collection is generally equipped with straps suitable for the underwater environment. Choices include models in rubber-lined sail canvas, NATO-style models, and models entirely made of rubber.
Metal bracelets are offered as an option with certain Villeret, Fifty Fathoms and Women models, all designed to be comfortable, supple and resistant.
The creation of refined dials features among the great specialised fields of watchmaking. It takes an enormous amount of talent and finely honed technical skill to master the subtle nuances, textures, colours and trends. There is no predetermined formula for the achievement of perfection. In describing their profession, our dial makers often talk of alchemy. Finding the desired balance is a question of applying their many years of experience and carrying out numerous trials.
The range of designs to be found in the Blancpain collections demands extensive experience and know-how, whether we are concerned with a delicate opaline colour, the deep black of the Fifty Fathoms dials, the cutting of mother-of-pearl, domed grand-feu enamel, delicately brushed finishes, carbon-fibre, or marquetry, to cite just a few examples. The creation of hour markers involves additional skills.
Dials set with precious stones make up a category of their own. Specialised gem-setters practise their art as well as the meticulous attaching of diamonds and other gemstones. We have introduced unique invisible gem-setting techniques, which, on certain models, allow the positioning of gemstones flush with the surface of the dial.
Artwork also plays a role in the design of a selection of components produced in our decorating and engraving workshops in Le Brassus: the dials are decorated using engraving, enamelling, damascening, shakudō and binchōtan techniques.
The case of a prestigious watch does not just serve to house a movement. Its fabrication is an art-form in itself, particularly where the complex surfaces that are a feature of the Villeret collection are concerned. Only the most talented and experienced craftsmen are capable of polishing the angles between the two levels of the emblematic double-stepped bezel and the area where the horns join the convex middle. Everything must be perfectly polished and uniformly immaculate. The case polishers work under special lighting capable of exposing the slightest imperfection. Not only do the forms present unique challenges but the materials (gold, platinum, stainless steel, titanium and palladium) demand specific polishing tools and a highly developed sense of touch.
At Blancpain, innovation has also played its part in case design. In watchmaking, it is common practice to place the calendar correctors on the middle. These take the form of small countersunk buttons that require manipulation with the aid of a specific tool for the correction of the indications. With our patented correctors beneath the horns, we have eliminated these inconvenient requirements. The countersunk buttons located on the sides of the case have been replaced by correctors hidden beneath the horns, leaving the case middle with a nice sleek look. No need for a tool for these correctors, which can be activated with the tip of a finger.
The Fifty Fathoms Cases
The Fifty Fathoms collection cases demand specific talents and technologies. We came up with an avant-garde design for bezels, proposed in convex sapphire crystal and employed for the first time in the 2003 anniversary edition. Sapphire, the second-hardest material after diamond, is ultra-scratch-resistant. The latest technology also comes into play in the fabrication of the ceramic used in the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe models. With this material, it is necessary to carry out rigorous checks at each step in order to take into account any potential deformation following its firing under high pressure. For the Fifty Fathoms and Bathyscaphe models, the positioning and adjustment of the bezel demand extreme precision. The fine teeth under the bezel must be exactly aligned, so that the reference marker is correctly centred at 12 o’clock. The models in the collection with cases in brushed titanium require special tools, suitable for the particular properties of this metal.