A point of pride for Blancpain is that since its founding, the watchmaker has never made a quartz watch — and never will. This ethos covers Blancpain’s women’s watches too, which is refreshing given the ubiquity of quartz movements among timepieces made for women. To be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with quartz watches; I proudly own several of them and wear them often. However, when a beautiful luxury watch made from expensive precious metals and embellished with dazzling diamonds relies on a battery for power, that feels like a letdown. Thankfully, that is not the case with the recently released Blancpain Ladybird Colors timepiece that I recently spent a week with. The inside of this watch is as delightful as its outside.
Blancpain recently announced a new lineup of Ladybird Colors watches, which are not only available in red or white gold and small seconds or moonphase variations but also in a range of appealing colorways. The version I had in my hands was the red-gold small seconds model in peacock green, also known as reference 3661 2954 55B. Other colors available include midnight blue, forest green, lilac, and turquoise.
The 34.9mm diameter (9.2mm-thick) red gold case is home to 59 diamonds totaling more than two carats. There are diamonds on the bezel and lugs, and one rose-cut diamond set into the crown. But the sparkle doesn’t stop there.
The textured mother-of-pearl dial is also set with 70 diamonds spread across a pair of tapered red gold rings, one of which encircles the small seconds display. According to the brand, the settings are meticulously hand-worked to guarantee the best radiance. The gold is first hollowed out using scorpers to create thin bands that serve to frame the diamonds on both sides. These bands, known as fillets, impact the brilliance by creating a mirror effect. The diamonds are then laid one by one so that their facets reflect light uniformly and minuscule gold beads that hold the stones in place are repositioned over the gems and manually carved to create precise separations.
This high-end gem setting technique ensures that the diamonds shine as brightly as possible. And I concur that, in the metal, those diamonds scintillate beautifully.
The offset Roman numerals are rendered in a lovely dark teal hue, a color Blancpain has designated as peacock green. Depending on the light and the angle at which the dial is looked at, those Roman numerals can extend into the mirrored flange. The delicate red gold hour and minute hands are shaped like hollowed-out sage leaves, which is a design detail we’ve seen on other Blancpain dress watches.
The color of the hour markers matches the alligator leather strap flawlessly, tieing the whole package together nicely. The strap is furnished with a red gold folding clasp, and engraved with BLANCPAIN on the buckle. While you can certainly feel the weight of the gold and diamonds, this Ladybird watch is wonderfully comfortable on the wrist. As this is not a watch you’d bring to the pool, the case is appropriately water-resistant to 30 meters.
The back of the watch offers a view of the Caliber 1163 self-winding automatic movement powering the Ladybird. I love a sapphire caseback, especially when it’s fitted on a jewelry watch, because then the back is as pretty to look at as the front. I particularly like the red-gold oscillating weight with circular openworked patterns, fashioned to echo the layout of the rings on the dial side. Caliber 1163 offers an impressive 100-hour power reserve, is constructed with 195 components, and operates at a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour. As expected from Blancpain, the caliber is expertly finished and decorated, complete with a circular-grained mainplate, and chamfered, satin-brushed bridges decorated with a Côtes de Genève pattern.
Blancpain introduced the Ladybird collection in 1956, fitted with what was then the world’s smallest round movement. Almost 70 years later, the Ladybird line continues to offer a range of women’s mechanical watches in various shapes, sizes, and complications. The Ladybird Colors in peacock green is a charming addition to the collection. The combination of red gold, diamonds, mother-of-pearl, and teal results in a tasteful jewelry watch that I’d be happy to wear when I want some serious sparkle. Plus, the mechanical movement makes it all the more appealing.
The Blancpain Ladybird Colors ref. 3661 2954 55B is priced at $32,000 USD and is available at select Blancpain boutiques and authorized retailers. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.