By Harlan Chapman-Green

Patek Philippe has recently updated it’s Calatrava range to include a new dress watch. The 5153 in white or yellow gold is a particularly splendid piece that features a date window, a beautiful guilloche dial and a hinged dust cover on the back. It also has a retro aviation style crown and is rather portly.

Today’s dress watches tend to have small dials and large bezels to show off the precious metals they’re made of and most high end manufacturers of these pieces are guilty. Apart from one. Blancpain.

Before I start I should point out that I’m not talking about overall diameters of watches, but rather their styling. You see, nowadays most of the people who can afford to buy a Patek or a Vacheron or some such dress watch live in modern mansions that feature at least three Bentleys in the garage and an interior designed by a Danish designer. Therefore companies now have to modernise their designs to fit which leads to what I’m going to coin as bezelbulging. Whereby a watch is given a larger bezel than is really needed.

Blancpain doesn’t really do that. Their dress watches such as those in the Villeret collection all sport thin bezels which help to make the dials look larger than they are. Indeed it works in the case of the Chronographe Pulsomètre. But what about the Pulsomètre part?

Blancpain-Villeret-Chronographe-Pulsometre-02

This watch features a heart rate monitor that doesn’t rely on physically taking your heart rate. Instead, you use the chronograph and measure how long it takes your heart to beat 30 times. That’s pretty cool but is hardly a main feature.

Blancpain-Villeret-Chronographe-Pulsometre-03

At 43mm this is a large size for a dress watch. However, it’s pretty sleek so there’s little chance it’ll catch on a cuff. What makes it more special is that the dial is enamel and the markers are all painted by hand. Looking to the rear is we are presented with a sapphire crystal window displaying the movement and a beautiful honeycomb style rotor. The movement beats at 36,000 beats per hour, which is quite fast for a watch, but not mental.

Did I mention the chronograph is a flyback? The chronograph itself is a very complex mechanism, despite the fact that they’re everywhere. The flyback chronograph is another level of complication in the world of chronographs. Unlike, say, the Rolex Daytona, a flyback chrono doesn’t need to be stopped to be reset. A couple of examples are the Breguet Type XX, XXI and XXII and of course the Chronographe Pulsomètre.

Being a complex Blancpain you can be sure this will cost upwards of $17,000, but if you love classic design watches over modern, then this is worth a look. If you were looking in this sector to purchase then also consider Breguet’s Classique collection. For more info, please visit blancpain.com

bio

Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Writer

First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.

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