The Swiss luxury watchmaker has introduced the new masterpiece in its Villaret series – the Shakudō. This exceptional novelty is unveiled at the Baselworld 2015 exhibition.
Blancpain les Metiers d’Art Villaret Shakudo is produced by an atelier skilled in the art of watchmaking craftsmanship. The manufacturer’s engravers and enamel artists have now demonstrated their skill on shakudō. Shakudō is a special alloy composed of copper and gold which acquires a dark patina between blue and black, according to variations in its composition and texture. It originates from Japan where it was used to adorn katana fittings and other ornaments.
Shakudō alloy visually looks like bronze, because of its high copper content, but when it undergoes a special patination and heating process, it obtains its distinctive dark blue-violet patina, which resembles lacquer. The solution known as rokushō which is used for patination is based on copper acetate (green gray). When used on an alloy of copper and gold, it turns indigo-black.
At least four different versions of Blancpain Shakudo are being presented. As it is reported from the manufacturer, each of them will be exclusive as it will reflect the individual handcrafts of the artisan’s style of engraving, rokushō patina.
The dial of the first Shakudo watch depicts the image of Ganesh which is recognizable from his elephants head which makes him easy to identify. For Hindus, Ganesh is the God who conquers obstacles. He is also the God of wisdom, intelligence, prudence and the patron of arts and sciences. Here, Ganesh is illustrated with a hand engraved gold throne situated in the center of the Hindu patterns.
The ornaments represented on this piece are finely detailed and they have been made in Damascene. This technique consists of fashioning troughs upon the dial surface into which fine threads of gold, are meticulously and painstakingly hammered in place. After that, they were hand engraved.
This newcomer combines the hand wound caliber 15B with Blancpain Villeret-style case. The double-stepped case measures 45mm in diameter and this size gives free reign to the creativity of manufacturer’s craftsmen. The reverse side of the watch reveals the inner beauty of the in-house manufactured mechanism with hand applied Côtes de Genève (Geneva stripes).
As I have already mentioned, the model that depicts a hindu god is the first one that is produced through a combination of shakudo engraving and there are three more timepieces to come, so stay tuned.