Blancpain Artistic crafts ride the wave
Blancpain once again uses Shakudō for a one-of-a-kind model featuring an even more artistic technique, Rokushō.
Among the new models presented at Baselworld 2016, Blancpain proudly unveiled its one-off creation from the Métiers d’Art atelier, titled “The Big Wave”. This watch notably draws inspiration from turbulent seas and showcases a fine stone used by the brand for the first time: Mexican silver obsidian.
In addition to the first use of this material in the brand collections, a new technique also makes its appearance: Japanese Rokushō patina.
Blancpain had already featured the Shakudō technique in its Shakudō Ganesh model that won the Artistic Crafts category prize in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in October 2015.
In this latest creation, the technique used by the Maison to design “The Big Wave” applique involves several successive phases. Firstly, the applique is fixed to a Shakudō base before being coated with a unique patina by immersing it into a bath of copper sulfate Rokushō salts. Once the patina has been applied, certain parts of the wave roller are polished so as to intensify the impression of a huge billowing wave. Finally, the engraving is affixed to the Mexican silver obsidian. The result creates an ever changing appearance playing on subtle tones.
Origins of the breaker wave
The engraving adorning this Blancpain watch model is inspired by the Grand Wave of Kanagawa, a Japanese woodblock print created by the artist Hokusai. The in-house master-engravers have chosen to highlight the contrast between the power and motion of the wave on the one hand, and the symbolism of purity and balance characterising grey obsidian on the other.
The beating heart
“The Big Wave” is powered by a mechanical hand-wound 13R3A movement, a new version of the famous 13RO calibre. The power reserve is no longer displayed on the dial, but instead on the bridge side of the model, so as to provide sufficient space in which to ensure optimal visibility of the engraving, which is the focal point of the timepiece. Equipped with three series-coupled barrels, the movement has an 8-day power reserve. The second barrel takes over from the first before the latter’s strength diminishes, and the third barrel does the same in turn.
The timepiece is enhanced by a pleasing colour match between the dial and the storm grey of the bespoke calfskin strap crafted by a Swiss artisan.
It must be emphasised that this model is indeed one of a kind, and that even if there were a wish to create several “Big Wave” watches, no two would ever be alike, due to the unique nature of the Rokushō technique which gives an entirely unpredictable and unexpected final appearance to the materials that are used.
Blancpain is the archetypal Manufacture: with a watchmaking heritage dating back several centuries, it has successfully preserved its watchmaking tradition, whilst welcoming a spirit of innovation.Find out more >
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