Each year since 2012, Blancpain has honored the Chinese New Year with a commemorative timepiece celebrating the New Year’s zodiac sign. These timepieces highlight Chinese tradition with a unique combination of the country’s lunisolar calendar and a Gregorian calendar date indication. This year’s edition celebrates the “year of the water rabbit,” a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity.
For the base of the Traditional Chinese Calendar watch, Blancpain uses its classic Villeret. The pure lines, the clarity of the dial and the slender double-stepped case provide the perfect backdrop for the complex pair of calendars. Here, a pair of hands shaped like hollowed-out sage leaves indicate standard hours and minutes, and in place of the seconds hand is a blued steel serpentine hand pointing to the date in the Gregorian calendar around the periphery of the white grand feu enamel dial.
At six o’clock, you’ll find a moonphase indicator, while the other three subdials feature Mandarin Chinese characters. At 12 o’clock, you have double hours in figures and symbols over 24 hours, and above the subdial, you’ll notice a small aperture that displays an animal of the Chinese zodiac, which you can select using the crown. At three o’clock, the subdial indicates the five phases of the Wuxing Chinese philosophy (fire, water, wood, metal and earth) and the ten celestial stems that represent the names of the ten days of the week. At the center of this subdial is a yin and yang symbol. Then at nine o’clock, you have the lunar months and lunar days as well as a small circular aperture that turns red when the year has a 13th intercalary month.
Powering this complex combination of calendars is Blancpain’s caliber 3638 movement, which took five years of development and over 450 components to create. It’s visible through the sapphire caseback, complete with a rotor showcasing a pair of bunnies in celebration of the “year of the water rabbit.” This 45mm platinum timepiece is produced in a limited quantity of just 50 pieces and is priced at $95,000. For more information, please visit the Blancpain website.