July 3, 2014
by Ariel Adams
We continue to believe that with enough attention, Blancpain will truly make something out of the L-Evolution timepiece collection. Intended to connect to the world of high-end auto racing, the L-Evolution family of watches continues to receive refinement, and the Blancpain L-Evolution R Chronographe Flyback Grande Date might just be the most suitable of the entire lot so far.
The last time we looked at a Blancplain L-Evolution watch, it was with the L-Evolution Split Second Flyback Chronograph (hands-on here). It was released in 2012, and in 2013, Blancpain followed-up with this more simple Blancpain L-Evolution R Chronographe Flyback Grande Date. Aside from the visual cues, they each have very different movements. The main difference of course being that the former model has a split-second chronograph and this one does not.
So the Split Second model has the Blancpain Calibre 69F9 automatic, and the model we are talking about today as the Caliber 68F5. Would you believe that the 69F9 has about 90 additional parts and is 6mm wider? Yeah, all that for a split second mechanism and four more hours of power reserve. The 68F5 is also built well and a bit more simple. In addition to being an automatic, it has a 12-hour chronograph and big date complication. There is no running seconds hand, which means you can use the chronograph seconds hands for that purpose, if you wish.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of the “digital” style font of the date. In the past, I commented that it was a nice little connection between old and new technology. I still think it works here. I don’t, however, think the hands require any skeletonization. While the dial is pretty easy to read, there is only lume on the tips of the hands, and I think bolder hands would help improve the dial. See, for example, the hands on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (which would be ideal here, given their similarity).