Color is coming back to luxury watches in a big way, infusing even high-end mechanical collections like Blancpain’s Ladybird Colors with a fashion-watch feel. The fashion flair is all in the alligator straps, which come in a candy-store selection of colors: peacock green, midnight blue, satin white, lemon yellow, tangerine orange and lilac.
The dials are, by contrast, fairly minimalist in the tradition of dress watches. A mother-of-pearl background is topped by applied Arabic numerals and leaf-shaped hands. But there is some dazzle. The watch is decorated with 59 diamonds weighing more than two carats, including an inner ring of small diamonds on the dial, and larger diamonds set into the bezel and lugs. The diamonds on the bezel are bead-set between rows or “fillets” of hollowed out metal, to allow the maximum light return – so the diamonds really sparkle. The crown is set with a single rose-cut diamond. The 34.9mm case comes in either red or white gold.
The collection is Blancpain’s tribute to its heritage as a maker of ladies’ mechanical watches and its support of women. As an example, the brand cites its appointment of Betty Fiechter in 1921 as the first female CEO of a leading watch company. “Her love of watchmaking was matched only by her belief that a woman needs finery to be properly dressed,” says a Blancpain statement. “She paved the way for the creation of the first automatic wristwatch for women, the Rolls, and the original Ladybird model in 1956.” It contained what was, at the time, the world’s smallest round movement.
The Ladybird reboot contains Blancpain’s ultra-slim in-house caliber 1153 with a four day power-reserve. The watch has a seconds hand, which is rare in a ladies’ piece, because it adds to the thickness – yet this one measures only 9.20 – and it’s a useful function. You can see the movement through the sapphire caseback, including the Geneva stripes on the bridges and circular-grained mainplate. The rotor is openworked for a better view. It is priced at $28,900.