Philosophically speaking, the essence is that what remains if you do away with all the side issues. It’s also the concentrate obtained from a plant or other matter and used for flavoring or scent. The Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 is the essence of a watch. First, all the distractions — complications — have been carefully removed, and after that Blancpain went even further to get to the core of the matter. The result was a very thin watch with just an hour and a minute hand. Boring? Not if you know or are willing to learn how to savor the flavor of introvert traditional watchmaking.

Allow me to make a comparison between the rose gold Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 and food. When I have a hamburger and fries, I like it supersized. Just how I like my pilot’s watches. But when I’m having costly caviar, just a small amount will do to bring ecstasy to my taste buds. And that’s how I like my dress watches; the delicate, slim, and pure. Indeed, just like the refined, €17,110 Villeret Extra-Plate; to me, it’s the essence of a watch. But is it an essential watch?

Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 — picking up on subtleties

Well, it kind of is if you are an eclectic watch collector. You could argue that the Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 is up against the mother of all dress watches, the illustrious Patek Philippe Calatrava. Fair point, but the Villeret is a very different creature. Well, very different on small details and other subtleties only the trained eye will notice.

Double-stepped bezels are what it’s all about

“Timelessly elegant”, that’s how Blancpain describes the collection on its website. The collection is named after the brand’s native village, Villeret in the Swiss Jura in the canton of Bern – Blancpain now resides in Paudex in the Vallée de Joux. Jehan-Jacques founded the brand way back in 1735, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Villeret collection is the most classic collection from the brand.

… the watches in the Villeret collection have double-stepped bezels that might be the most extravagant detail.

What you will find in the catalog are watches with a distinct purity. The dials are clear, the cases slender, and above all, the watches in the Villeret collection have double-stepped bezels that might be the most extravagant detail. Extravagant in a very subdued way. But it does add a lot of character and recognizability to a Villeret watch.

Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate 6605

Feuille hands over a creamy dial

Pure, slender, and understated; the Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 ticks all the boxes. If you’re looking to wear a 40 × 7.39mm, ultra-slim, 18k rose gold dress watch you should not, I will repeat, should not wear it with a T-shirt. Please, show it some respect. And while you’re at it indulge in a creamy white dial, applied, rose gold Roman numerals, and open-worked feuille hands in the same material. The double-stepped dial, the signature of the Villeret collection, is in my opinion the modest highlight.


Enjoy it privately

Inside 3 bar water-resistant case beats the hand-wound caliber 11A4B that is based on the in-house Blancpain 1150 movement. Strangely enough, the 26.2mm Blancpain/Frédéric Piguet 1150 is an extra slim self-winding movement with 210 components, including 28 jewels.

… there’s a neat power reserve indicator on the back of the movement …

Anyway, the 27.8mm caliber 11A4B fills the 40mm case just perfectly with its 131 components. The 3hz, 21-jewel movement is equipped with a silicon hairspring and two barrels will power the watch for up to 95 hours. To make sure you never run out of “juice”, there’s a neat power reserve indicator on the back of the movement — a nice horological touch of technicality for the wearer to enjoy privately. The sapphire case back also reveals Geneva stripes, some very sharp beveling, and classic perlage.

No folding clasp, hallelujah!

Keeping in line with its minimalistic nature, Blancpain forgoes the increasingly popular folding clasp in favor of a pin buckle. Can I get a hallelujah! It seems nowadays that every kind of watch in almost every price bracket is being outfitted with a folding contraption. Way too often of very dubious quality and aesthetics, because they are seen as the epitome of luxury. Blancpain decided to pair the rose gold Villeret Extra Plate 6605 with a brown alligator strap with a rose gold pin buckle, and I applaud the brand for doing so.

And if you absolutely, definitely, and undoubtedly need more – central seconds hand plus a date and day indication that is — the steel Villeret Ultraplate 6651 (€9,260) could be an alternative.

For more information on the different watches in the Villeret collection, please visit Blancpain’s official website.

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