The Swiss house Blancpain used an endangered species, the Formosan clouded leopard, as inspiration for its latest Metiers d’Art masterpieces.

Every watchmaker has their signature house hero, the identifiable brand calling card: there’s Rolex’s robust and bulletproof Submariner, Audemars Piguet’s knockout Royal Oak, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ultra-classic Reverso. But some brands also produce a selection of unexpected, under-the-radar watches that, design-wise, are often miles away from their bestselling counterparts. This is deliberate: such pieces are reserved strictly for top clientele, where only the finest technical and artistic execution will do, and which are bona fide, one-of-a-kind wonders that won’t be found on any other wrist. At the storied, 286-year-old house of Blancpain, such pieces are its Métiers d’Art watches: exceptional and unique creations that for those more familiar with the brand mascot — the sporty, technically advanced Fifty Fathoms diver — are in for a real, rare treat.

Blancpain’s forté are five métiers dartin particular: engraving, enamelling, damascening, shakudō and binchōtan. While engraving and enamelling feature on many high-end watches, the art of damascening, shakudō and binchōtan — all ancient crafts that hail from Asia — are found exclusively at Blancpain. The President and C.E.O., Marc A. Hayek, says the house chose to master these art forms in the spirit of innovation, while at the same time they are “interesting and challenging, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces that no other techniques can achieve”.


February 2021


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