Blancpain Villeret Moonphase & Complete Calendar Review
Sometimes the design of a watch just inspires you to look at things very differently, and this Blancpain Villeret is definitely one of those.
There are certain watchmakers that think of everything when it comes to engineering a feature-rich watch that will not only work like a horse but is also designed to look elegant & sophisticated. Today we will be reviewing one such watch; the Blancpain Villeret Moonphase and Complete Calendar 40mm. We also have some great high-resolution photos of a few models from this collection that can show you the details that we will discuss in this review.
For your convenience, you can use the button below to browse this collection in a new tab along side while reading this review.
Let's start with one of the more popular models within this collection. Of course, we would be talking about the 6654-1127-55b which is in a stainless steel case with a white dial and a black alligator leather strap. At 40mm this is a size that doesn't overburden the wrist, and at a case thickness of only 10.65mm it can also tuck away easily under a shirt cuff.
Aside from the curved blue date hand which points to the date numeral on a silver inner chapter ring, one of the most striking features of the dial is the stylized Roman Numeral hour markers on the outer edge of the dial. They are made of steel which is polished to perfection and in addition, Arabic Numerals are also used for the calendar days on the chapter ring on the inner dial.
This is one of the things that differentiate the Blancpain Villeret Moonphase & Complete Calendar from the Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar 8 Days which uses the outer edge of the dial for the calendar days and uses either Roman or Arabic numerals on the inner dial as hour markers.
This design maneuver allowed for larger, more prominent hour and minute hands as well as a large central second hand to be implanted which made it easier to read the time. Yes, these days there are still a few people who wear a five-figure watch like this to tell time.
With such a clean, polished look on the dial, Blancpain had to ensure that the rest of the watch got as much attention to detail. They looked at the design of most complete calendar watches which use recessed calendar buttons along the side profile of the case and found ways to improve not just the overall look but also the whole user experience of engaging the complete calendar complication.
The Villerent Moonphase & Complete Calendar doesn't require a unique tool to be used to adjust the calendars recessed buttons like most watches with the same complication. Blancpain tucked away these calendar pushers to the back of the watch case beneath the lugs and these can be adjusted with one's fingernail instead of a tool. Doing this kept the case design clean and made the calendar easier to use.
Symmetry played a big part in the design of this watch as we can see specific design maneuvers that indicate a preference for a look that is perfectly balanced even if you split it right down the middle.
Some of the things that indicate this is that the apertures for day of the week and the name of the month are in the space just below the 12 o'clock position, the Moonphase complication diametrically opposing it at the 6 o'clock position and the choice was made to use a watchmakers four (a substitution for the Roman Numeral IV which appears on watches and clocks like IIII) to offset the VIII on the left side of the watch at the 8 o'clock position.
Other than a crown on the right side of the case and the blue wavy date hand this watch is perfectly balanced both visually and physically and is simply put, a piece of mechanical and aesthetic beauty.
This watch has an in-house automatic caliber which powers it; the Blancpain caliber 6654 which contains 28 jewels, is comprised of 321 parts and has an approximate power reserve of 72 hours.
When Blancpain designed this movement, they also took some steps to protect the movement against magnetic interference and environmental changes. The Blancpain caliber 6654 uses a free sprung balance which is made out of Glucydur. Glucydur is an alloy which combines beryllium, copper & beryllium bronze iron which holds its shape better than the traditional balances which either use only a two metal alloy or have the older balance wheels which have slices built into them to help them expand and contract with these temperature changes etc.
As you can see from the above image, the movement along with its weighted gold rotor is finished to perfection and is as pleasing to the eye as the opposite side of the case. You will also notice the innovative calendar buttons that we mentioned earlier in the article tucked away safely under the lugs and sized so that you can change the date with your fingernail instead of a special tool.
This particular watch uses a robust black alligator leather strap with a stainless steel folding buckle. Other models that use different color straps and precious metal such as rose gold for the buckle.
Below are some photos of a variation within this collection, the Blancpain Villeret Moonphase Complete Calendar model # 6654-3613-55b which comes on an 18kt rose gold case and brown leather alligator strap with an 18kt rose gold deployant buckle (there is a variation of this variation that has a tang/pin buckle which is 6654-3613-55a).
You can see that they replaced the white dial with a grey dial that has a radial brushed almost sunray style finish. Blancpain also replaced anything on the dial that was steel with rose gold including Roman Numerals, hour, minutes & central seconds hands. In addition, the movement's rotor is also matching rose gold. The rose gold version of this watch is also nearly twice the price of the stainless steel version.