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Blancpain - Traditional Chinese Calendar "Year of the Pig"

Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar "Year of the Pig"

We start our series on the special "Chinese New Year 2019" watches with the Blancpain model. Others will follow until February 5th. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. How did the brands represent this animal that we rarely see in the artistic crafts? Stay tuned...

In 2012, Blancpain unveiled a world-exclusive version of the first wristwatch equipped with a traditional Chinese calendar, the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar.

Since 2012, Blancpain has regularly presented a Traditional Chinese Calendar limited edition watch on which the zodiac sign of the year is discreetly displayed. The animal appears in a small window at 12 o'clock and is also engraved on the oscillating weight of the movement, visible through the sapphire crystal of the caseback. After the "Dragon", "Rooster", or "Dog" models, it is therefore to the Chinese zodiac sign of the year, the pig, that Blancpain dedicates its 2019 Villeret Calendar Chinese Traditional timepiece.

Blancpain's Traditional Chinese Calendar associates the main indications of the Chinese calendar as well as the date based on the Gregorian calendar. Given that the basic unit of these two time-division systems is not the same, this represents a real technical feat. While the Gregorian calendar is based on the solar day, the lunisolar Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle, composed of 29.53059 days. A year of 12 lunar months is about 11 days shorter than a solar year. In order to maintain consistency with the seasonal cycle, a leap month is added to the Chinese calendar every two to three years. This distinctive feature is the reason behind the variability of the Chinese New Year date. But the complexity of this calendar does not stop there, since it uses a system of subdividing the day into 12 double hours, thus replacing the 24 hours composed of 60 minutes each featured in the Gregorian calendar. Each of these double hours is named, in successive order, after one of the twelve earthly branches and represented by one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Traditional Chinese Calendar

Villeret Calendar Chinese Traditional © Blancpain

Traditional Chinese Calendar

© Blancpain

All this information can be found on the white Grand Feu enamel dial. Below the window at 12 o'clock showing the pig, the double hours counter displays in numbers and symbols. The ten celestial pillars and five elements are displayed at 3 o'clock, while two hands at 9 o’clock serve to read the month and date. They are complemented by an aperture dedicated to the leap months. The moon phases, which are used to determine the months of the Chinese calendar and represent an emblematic element of Blancpain's calendar models, are highlighted in a window at 6 o’clock. Finally, the date according to the Gregorian calendar, associated with these indications, is read off around the rim of the chapter ring by means of a blued steel serpentine hand.

The timepiece is driven by the self-winding 3638 movement. Its seven-day power reserve is made possible by the use of three series-coupled barrels, equipped with high-performance springs. It is secured against inappropriate manipulation of the functions and equipped with a silicon balance-spring. The white gold oscillating weight is engraved with the Chinese zodiac sign of the year, the pig.

Traditional Chinese Calendar

© Blancpain

The 45 mm platinum case features a crown set with a cabochon ruby. It incorporates five under-lug correctors – a patented Blancpain invention – enabling easy fingertip adjustment of functions without the need for a correction tool. The refined and timeless aesthetics of the Villeret collection can be seen in the double stepped bezel of the case, as well as on the dial bearing gold appliques for the Roman numerals and hands shaped like cut-out sage leaves.

Blancpain's Traditional Chinese Calendar is also available in an unlimited red gold version with a guilloché oscillating weight.

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