Rounding out my fifth year in writing for WristReview was a fun one as we had to decide what the topic should be. Ultimately, the new Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate won out thanks to its subtle good looks and overall elegant design. This watch is exclusively available through Blancpain’s worldwide network of boutiques and is a very handsome looking watch.
This watch has only the barest of essentials and is all the more for it. With Blancpain’s signature leaf-styled hands indicating only the time and minutes, there are no other complications to this watch. It’s a straight-up dress watch of the highest degree, one of the few timepieces you could legitimately wear with black tie, in that situation I would use it as something to break the formality a little, assuming the situation allows for it of course.
Thin and minimal doesn’t have to mean lacking any sort of interesting features at all, though. On the contrary, Blancpain’s Villeret watches tend to have quite a few peculiarities to them. On this watch, the stepped bezel, a hallmark of the Villeret line and is also seen in historical watchmaking, provides the first little oddity. It’s not seen on modern-looking watches, but because it’s so thin as well, it can allow the dial to expand outwards and seem larger than it is. This watch is 40mm in diameter, but it’ll undoubtedly wear larger thanks to that bezel.
Around the back of the watch is in-house made the calibre 11A4B. Featuring a thickness of just 2.8mm, it helps keep the Ultraplat’s total thickness down to just 7.39mm. Despite its svelte profile, it still has a power reserve of 95 hours, and it also indicates the remaining power reserve on the movement plate instead of the dial. The balance wheel operates at 3Hz, and the calibre 11A4B is made up of a total of 131 components and 21 jewels.
The new Blancpain’s case is crafted from platinum, and the watch’s retail price of €26,950 reflects that. The Villeret Ultraplate Boutique Exclusive is also limited to 88 examples worldwide, available through Blancpain’s boutiques only. It comes on a blue leather strap with a platinum pin buckle, but I’m sure if you ask them you can have their unique folding clasp instead, that would really finish this watch off.