With its double-stepped bezel is Blancpain‘s Villeret collection not only instantly recognizable but also a true classic. Its details are subtle, but because of that, all the more powerful. Such a case also forms the perfect framework for the Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minutes Retrograde, which takes the purity of the Villeret-design to the next level with a tantalizing combination complications.
What makes this watch so special goes, however, beyond just the sum of these complications. It can be found in the way that they are brought together. The flying tourbillon, retrograde minutes, and jump hour don’t cannibalize on each other, but each gets equal opportunity to shine. Blancpain went for a less is more approach to achieve this, with a white dial that only shows the bare essentials. This not only amplifies the subtle look of the case but also emphasizes the complications. Even the text on the dial is kept minimal, with only the brand’s name and ‘Swiss Made’ printed on it. The fact that the dial is made from grand feu enamel is something that they rightfully don’t feel a need to advertise, by writing it out on the dial. You either know, or you don’t.
The Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minutes Retrograde is powered by caliber 260MR. This movement features a silicon balance spring and a very impressive power reserve of 144 hours, or 6 days. This is even more impressive when you take into account that its complications are rather power-hungry. The flying tourbillon is something that we have seen before with Blancpain and has become somewhat of a signature complication of the brand. Its combination with retrograde minutes and a jump hour function is, however rather novel, not only with Blancpain but also among other brands. Its beauty can be found in the excitement of the hand, turning closer and closer to the 60-minute mark and flying back in an instance when it hits it. Simultaneously does the hour jump one forward and the whole process starts again. This never fails to fascinate.
Where the front of the Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minutes Retrograde is sober, is the back decorated with a beautiful guilloche motif. Again a clever move by Blancpain as this caliber has a lot of full-size bridges, which show very little of the other parts of the movement. This except for the flying tourbillon though, as Blancpain ensured that you could also admire the back of this complication. A power reserve indicator can be found as well at the back of the watch, beautifully integrated into the guilloche bridge that surrounds it.
All this combined makes the Tourbillon Heure Sautante Minutes Retrograde a true Blancpain, yet at the same time adding something different to the collection. Its unique combination of complications makes it not only stand out but also position it as a very tempting proposition.