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Chapter 9

Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE

The winner of the Ladies’ Watch Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2014.

Chapter authors


Chapter authors

Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE
Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE
Issue 15 Chapter 9

INTRIGUE BROUGHT TO THE DIAL with off-center hours/minutes and retrograde seconds.

Complications occupy a special place in the watchmaking art. They are a demonstration of extra savoir-faire and skill by the watchmakers who produce them, above and beyond fashioning a straightforward time only watch. That said, some complications are more enchanting than others. Certainly, building a perpetual calendar demands special talents, but the fascination with the compli- cation is entirely cerebral. Looking at the dial, there is no visible sign of the complexity lurking beneath, except of course for those so dedicated to timepieces which “keep track of leap years” that vigils are posted for midnight every four years when the 29th of February rolls around.

Not so with the retrograde seconds complication. The visual joy of this complication is there with every glance at the dial. No need for a vigil. With Blancpain’s caliber 2663SR which powers the new Women Heure Décentrée Seconde Rétrograde, the seconds indication sweeps by and, every 30 seconds, smartly snaps back to its starting position to resume its sweep again. This brings a level of interest and entertainment to the seconds indication far beyond the standard constant rotation.

Not all retrograde seconds indications are the same. In many cases the motion of the seconds hand can be quite harsh as gears that drive it engage and disengage.

Blancpain has perfected a system which changes all that. In Lettres du Brassus Issue No. 13 we described the details of Blancpain’s refined system which has been in the men’s collection for some while and which now debuts in the Women’s Collection. Without repeating that technical explanation, its simple description gives an overview of what Blancpain has done. Instead of engaging and disengaging gears, Blancpain’s retrograde seconds complication utilizes a snail shaped cam and a finger which rides along its edge. As the seconds hand approaches the 30 second mark, the finger encounters what can be imagined as a “cliff ”. As the finger drops down to the lower level of the turning cam, that motion smartly, but smoothly, returns the seconds hand to zero. Once there, the finger once again resumes its travel along the edge of the snail cam. Through careful design of the cam, the finger, and the special spring that holds the finger against the cam, the motion of the hand is velvety, the returns to zero swift.

Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE
Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE

A watch should be SOMETHING GREATER than the sum of its parts.

There is much more to the Women Heure Décentrée Seconde Rétrograde than the 30 second retrograde complication. The carved mother of pearl dial for the gold models and white dial for the steel models places the hour and minute display off center at the twelve o’clock position. Decentering the principal time display opens the dial up for a thin sweep of small brilliant diamonds across the center of the dial and placement of small individual diamonds, reminiscent of small stars, on the sides. Both the gold and steel models are decorated with diamond set bezels. The total carat weight of the diamonds for the gold models is somewhat greater than the steel; 1.242 carats for gold vs. 1.153 for steel.

The case diameter is of contemporary size for women’s watches, 36.8 mm.

Of course, not all the beauty of the timepiece is confined to the dial side. The case back is fitted with sapphire in order to view the self-winding movement, classically hand finished with côtes de Genève, anglage and perlage decorations. The movement, as well, is technically advanced as it features a free sprung balance fitted with a silicium spiral. In common with other models in the Women’s Collection, this retrograde seconds timepiece has a hand carved winding rotor in the shape of a flower.

Retrograde seconds and decentered hours, themselves, are not grand complications like those of the minute repeater or split seconds. However, Blancpain believes that a watch should be something greater than the sum of its parts. Showing that this is a shared philosophy, the members of the international jury for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, which annually confers its prestigious awards for the finest timepieces that debuted during the year, selected the Women Heure Décentrée Seconde Rétrograde as the first place winner in the Ladies’ Watch category. 

Blancpain SA
Le Rocher 12
1348 Le Brassus, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 21 796 36 36

Marc A. Hayek
Alain Delamuraz
Christel Räber Beccia
Jeffrey S. Kingston

Christel Räber Beccia

Christel Räber Beccia
Jeffrey S. Kingston

Jeffrey S. Kingston
Enric Sala


TATIN Design Studio Basel GmbH

Marie-Anne Räber
Oliver Mayer

Sturm AG, Muttenz, Switzerland

Joël von Allmen
Yves Aubry, p. 18

Laurent Ballesta
Lisa Besset
Domaine Gros
Fong, Sai Yin Jonathan
Jeffrey S. Kingston
Arno Murith
Enric Sala / National Geographic
Masa Ushioda

Release date: February 2015



Women Heure Décentrée SECONDE RÉTROGRADE

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