Blancpain Villeret Reveil GMT Review
Blancpain brings you something exquisite and beautiful to wake up to each day.
It’s not every day that we get to review something that is just so striking in appearance yet at the same time, so elegant. Many watchmakers feel that to push the boundaries they need to break out of the parameters of traditional and timeless watchmaking and design. This is not the case with Blancpain, and most certainly not with the Villeret Reveil GMT. Let’s take a closer look and review this watch in fine detail.
At first look, the thing that will probably catch your eye the most about this watch is the dial and how multi-dimensional it is. It’s built on layers of fine texture from the wavy and textured sunburst guilloche pattern to the applique Roman numerals. It looks rich, sophisticated, and classic all at the same time.
Fine-printed black Arabic numerals encircle the inner dial and are printed on a smooth and non-textured chapter ring. These printed numerals are used for the GMT and sit between the applied Roman numerals at the perimeter of the dial and the center of the dial.
One of the things that makes this dial so pleasurable to look at is the use of texture and selective areas that don’t have texture. Examples are the above-mentioned area where the GMT numerals are printed, the alarm power reserve indicator, the alarm set subdial and the alarm on/off indicator, and the date window. Despite the asymmetrical design, the contrast and placement of these features give the dial excellent visual balance.
There are polished rose gold leaf-shaped hands used on the hour and minute hands and they are slightly skeletonized like the eye of a needle. A curved blued steel arrow-shaped hand sits beneath the hour and minute hands on the center post from which the hands rotate. The width of the end of the GMT hand protrudes slightly on either side of the hour and minute hands giving you a small flash of blued steel.
You’ll notice polished rose gold Arabic numerals on the alarm set sub-dial which is located at the 3 o’clock position. This sub-dial, as well as the power reserve indicator, uses a baton-shaped polished rose gold. The Roman numerals that are used for the main time dial have an interesting font with an almost vintage style. It uses a slightly hourglass-shaped ‘I’ in the Roman numerals and a watchmaker’s four (IIII) for the 4 o’clock position as opposed to an ‘IV’.
I can literally go on about the dial for days so let’s move on. The round polished 18kt rose gold case is 40.3mm and 12.1mm thick. This is a size more consistent with classic watches and not riding the wave of the oversized or extra-large watch trend which may or may not be the permanent way of the future in terms of watch design.
It has the weight that you’re looking for in a solid gold luxury watch and that has to do with the case material used on this model, but this collection also has a model with a stainless steel case on a leather strap which is slightly lighter. A lot of this weight comes from the solid gold self-winding rotor which can be seen through the transparent sapphire case back which is exquisitely finished.
The Blancpain Villeret Reveil GMT watch is powered by an in-house automatic movement. The manufacture caliber 1240h is equipped with an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. This 36 jewel self-winding movement beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a power reserve of approximately 45 hours on a full wind.
This movement provides a few very useful complications for people who travel often especially to other time zones. The GMT complication allows for a second-time zone which is indicated by the curved blue arrow-shaped hand in the center of the watch.
Another excellent feature is the Alarm function which is not found as often as a GMT on a mechanical timepiece. However, these two complications go hand-in-hand for globetrotters and jet setters that need both time zones and an alarm to help you make sure that they catch their flights. The sound of the alarm chiming is generated by a small hammer that strikes a miniaturized gong inside the watch.
The Power Reserve Indicator on the dial is located between the 10 o’clock and the 11 o’clock position and is very useful to make sure that your watch is tightly wound.
Setting and operating the Blancpain Villeret Reveil GMT is straightforward. On the left side of the case, you will find the on/off button for the alarm at the 8 o’clock position and the crown to set the alarm is on the right side of the case at the 2 o’clock position. The watch has another crown beneath it at the 4 o’clock position on the right side of the case which is used to set the date, time and the GMT/dual time zone.
The watch comes on a brown alligator leather strap connected between the 22mm space between the lugs making it easy to find other straps to replace if need be. Not that you would ever want to replace this strap. It has quite a lot of charm with matching brown stitching and a soft beige inner side.
The strap is fastened by an 18kt rose gold deployant buckle that folds shut. This folding clasp is decorated with Blancpain branding using an engraved Blancpain logo on the end of the buckle with the pin. There is a pair of rose gold three-dimensional B’s, the ones used in the Blancpain logo on both sides of the deployant clasp.
Overall, it’s a very impressive watch both aesthetically and in function. There is one more thing worth mentioning about this watch. It comes in a nice-sized parquet wooden box that can be converted into a humidor by removing the black vinyl material inside and inserting the two wood partitions. The box comes with a CREDO humidifier system that converts the box into a fully functional cigar humidor. You might find quite a few people wearing a Blancpain watch but not everyone has a Blancpain humidor.