METIERS D’ART GREAT BEAUTIES
As the year draws to a close, Blancpain dazzles our eyes and wrists with four models inspired by Chinese culture and history and displaying all the watchmakers’ craftsmanship and artistry
The fascinating history of China is filled with incredible stories that are now part of its popular culture. Out of the many episodes from a rich past, Blancpain has chosen one in particular about the Four Beauties of Ancient China. The watchmakers have not only given us a journey back in time, but also a chance to enjoy their wide-ranging artistic skills. The series of four unique pieces named Métiers d’Art Great Beauties is an ode to beauty, whether of women, like the four characters, or of craftsmanship, in the decorative techniques used.
Four women famous for their graceful beauty, four important periods in Ancient China, four striking scenes displayed on four watches: this collection is like a four-part picture. The story goes from 722 B.C. to the 1st century A.D., from the first part of the Western Zhou dynasty (Spring and Autumn period) to the Tang dynasty. The famous beauties, named Xi Shi, Wang Zhaojun, Diaochan and Yang Guifei, all played an important and sometimes a political role in the history of China. Even though Diaochan comes from a novel called Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, it was inspired by one or more real women.
Each display on the dials of this quartet of Métiers d’Art Great Beauties calls on the artistic skill of the Blancpain craftsmen and women: “Grand Feu” champlevé enamel and engraving with translucent enamel for the Xi Shi version; shakudō (taken from the Japanese art), engraved and enamelled indices with mother-of-pearl for the Diaochan model; marquetry and engraving on gold or mother-of-pearl for the Wang Zhaojun watch; and lastly, painting on miniature enamel for the Yang Guifei piece.
Each timepiece has a 42mm-wide rose gold case with a double-stepped bezel and, on the dial, sage leaf-shaped hands that are the features of the Villeret collection. The hours and minutes are driven by the 13R3A calibre, a hand-wound movement supplying a 8 hours of power reserve.
Series of 4 unique pieces blancpain.com
By Sharmila Bertin
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