Watchmaker Blancpain has succeeded in combining in a single watch the familiar Gregorian calendar and the main indications of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, a considerable technical achievement given the differences in these two ways of telling time.
To better understand the complexity of this timepiece, bear in mind that the Gregorian calendar is based on solar days, while the Chinese calendar is based on a lunar cycle of 29.53059 days. This amounts to a difference of about 11 days per year between the two calendars. To keep pace with the cycle of the seasons, the Chinese calendar adds a leap month every two or three years.
This is why the the white Grand Feu enamel dial of Blancpain's Traditional Chinese Calendar shows the hours and minutes of the Gregorian calendar with the phases of the moon – which are more prominent on this specific timepiece – but also the main indications of the lunisolar calendar.
There is a double hours counter that displays in numbers and symbols at 12 o'clock. The ten celestial pillars and five elements are displayed at 3 o'clock, while two hands at 9 o'clock serve to read the month and date. Finally, the pig, this year's animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle, is visible in an insert at 12 o'clock.
In line with the characteristics of Blancpain's Villeret Collection, the wristwatch is equipped with a 54mm diameter platinum case and a double stepped bezel. The dial is ornamented with gold appliqués for the Roman numerals and hands shaped like cut-out sage leaves.
The timepiece is powered by the 3638 self-winding movement, which has a seven-day power reserve. This particular edition is limited to 50 copies, however, Blancpain's Traditional Chinese Calendar is also available in an unlimited red gold version with a guilloche oscillating weight. – AFP Relaxnews
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