Harrods of London have announced that Blancpain, the traditional Swiss watch brand, has launched a world-exclusive version of the first wristwatch that pays tribute to the Chinese culture. This new Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel watch from Blancpain comes armed with a traditional Chinese calendar in addition to the usual hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which is lunar, the Chinese calendar is lunisolar – meaning a solar calendar with the lunar cycle as its base unit. A year, consisting of 12 lunar months, falls short by 11 days approximately compared to the tropical or solar year. Hence many a time, a leap month has to be added to match with the cycle of the seasons. So when a year contains a leap month, the 13 month year will be longer than the tropical year and, in the absence of a leap month, the year of the 12 lunar months becomes shorter than the tropical year. This is the very reason behind the variable date of the Chinese New Year.
The complexity of the new self-winding 39-jewel Calibre 3638 powering this watch, with a 7-day power reserve, stems as much from the number of indications to be displayed as from the irregular nature of their cycles. The hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar are presented in the centre of the attractive grand feu enamel dial. The counter at 12 o’clock indicates the double-hour numerals and symbols (24-hour cycle); while the one at 3 o’clock shows the elements and the celestial stems (10-year cycle). The 12-month cycle of the Chinese calendar, its date (30-day cycle) and the leap month indicator appear at 9 o’clock, while a 12 o’clock aperture reveals the running zodiac sign of the 12-year cycle in progress; and the moon phases are displayed at 6 o’clock.
The 45 mm-diameter platinum case is fitted with a crown adorned with a cabochon-cut ruby and comprises five integrated under-lug correctors serving to adjust the indications.
Blancpain has brought out a limited edition of 20 pieces of the Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel in 18k white gold, equipped with a white gold oscillating weight that is set with a Madagascar ruby and engraved with a dragon to celebrate the year 2012. A non-limited version of the watch in red gold is also available.
With the Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel Blancpain honours the age-old Chinese tradition of marking the passage of time with a symbolic model that is destined to take its rightful place among the ranks of the finest horological achievements.