Hands-On With The Poetic Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654
The Swiss town of Villeret is the birthplace of Blancpain, and the brand’s most traditional, dress watch-like models are found in this namesake collection. When someone says, “Blancpain Villeret,” it conjures images of white dials, elegant hands, and even moon phase displays for some extra panache. The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 could be the poster boy for traditional Haute Horlogerie. Imagine an archetypical dress watch with a bit of complicated fluff, and you might well imagine this very same watch. But does it even fit in our modern world? I tried to find out.
With a steel case, a white dial, and a couple of complications to make it more interesting, this Villeret is an archaic watch if I ever saw one. Well, I did actually. The “boring” Extra-Plate 6605, to be precise. The Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 takes it up a notch and tries to romance the aficionado of classic horology with a complete calendar and a romantic moon phase. This watch is one of Blancpain’s signature models, and fact that the moon’s caricature-like face hasn’t aged for centuries is oddly reassuring. If you have come for traditional watchmaking in its most original form, you have come to the right address — Rue Georges-Henri Piguet 17, 1347 Le Sentier, Switzerland, the place where Blancpain now resides.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 – At first glance
In traditional watchmaking, big surprises are not very much appreciated. You will find no grand gestures in the design of the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to tickle your horological feelers. At first glance, the Villeret Quantième Complet comes across as a typical complicated Blancpain. That makes sense. This model has been in the collection for many years, and the overall design is used in all the watches in the Villeret collection.
… the dial with its applied, shapely Roman numerals and the stepped bezel create a distinct image.
Recognizability is a good thing. In the case of traditional horology, it’s quite an achievement to create a stand-out signature, since the rules that apply to a classic watch are quite strict. Nevertheless, the dial with its applied, shapely Roman numerals and the stepped bezel create a distinct image.
A complicated alternative
The Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 shows a classic day/month display that’s been around for many decades. This Villeret is, as its French name suggests, a complete calendar. A complete calendar watch shows nearly all the calendar indications — date, day, month, and moon phases. Isn’t that just like a perpetual calendar? No, it’s not. The biggest technical difference is that the movement in a complete calendar doesn’t recognize the different lengths of the months. It also doesn’t indicate the years, but you probably understood that already.
A practical benefit of complete calendars is that they’re less fragile than their perpetual counterparts.
In other words, it works like any date-equipped watch that needs adjusting when you’re dealing with months with 30 or 28 days. A practical benefit of complete calendars is that they’re less fragile than their perpetual counterparts.
Complete versus QP
A complete calendar is notably less pricey than a Quantième Perpétuel, and that’s also something worth mentioning. You could say that you get the “QP” look for a fraction of the price. The steel Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 costs €14,090, while the Quantième Perpétuel Phase de Lune in the same alloy, for instance, has a price of €32,200. That’s quite a large price difference indeed. And although the complete calendar is technically simpler, it still presents itself in a way that says “complication.”
The Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 has one distinctive feature that, in my mind, beats the QP — the pointer date with a remarkable, serpentine hand. This curvy blued hand displaying the date on an inner track is the opposite approach to the weekday and month apertures at 12 o’clock. But opposites attract, and the combination of these different indicators, including the moon phase, brings life to this watch.
Poetic sophistication and practical refinement
A very sophisticated life, that is. Even though the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 is a complicated watch, it’s also soft-spoken due to its white dial and subtle contrasts. This calendar watch with under-lug correctors is all about finding the balance between practicality and refinement. The date indications are practical — if you don’t mind helping your watch along after a 28 or 30 day month — and the changing face of the moon in a black sky adds a poetic note of sophistication.
The Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 on the wrist
With a case size of 40 × 10.7mm the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 is a very easy watch to wear. The measurements already give that away, don’t they? What is quite odd, however, is the width of the black alligator strap that’s equipped with a folding clasp.
… if you have the watch on your wrist for some time, you start to notice there’s quite a bit of leather attached to the head.
The lug width measures 22mm. It’s not something you immediately see, but if you have the watch on your wrist for some time, you start to notice there’s quite a bit of leather attached to the head. That’s probably why I prefer the version with a “mille mailles” mesh steel bracelet (€16,300). Come to think of it, there’s also a version of this Villeret with a gray sunray dial. The vibrant blue sky that surrounds the moon on that dial maks it look better than it does on this watch. That reference is a more contemporary execution of the classic complete calendar, traditional with a touch of industrialist panache.
A clever caliber
But enough about other iterations of the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 and more about the watch at hand. Inside the case beats the Blancpain caliber 6654, which measures 32.00 × 5.48mm. It’s an automatic 4Hz movement that has 72 hours of power reserve. The movement received special treatment in the shape of a gold guilloché rotor, as well as beveling and striping on the different components.
… no “scars” from recessed pushers that would otherwise tarnish its smooth profile.
It’s not just a good-looking movement, though. Caliber 6654 features a safety system that safeguards it against improper use. That means that the owner can fiddle with the complete calendar whenever he/she wants without the risk of breaking the movement. The patented under-lug correctors also make life easy. No special tool is needed, as your fingers can do the job. And by placing them under the lugs, the side of the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 shows no “scars” from recessed pushers that would otherwise tarnish its smooth profile.
Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 versus Fifty-Fathoms
While I was wearing the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 a thought about retro watches popped into my head. Why is it that contemporary watches that pretend to be from a certain era are all the rage, while others that haven’t changed their appearance in decades are not? This classic Villeret, with its date apertures at 12 o’clock, could well be from the ’50s, just like the much-more-popular Fifty Fathoms. But the Fifty Fathoms isn’t even way cheaper than this. On the contrary, the complicated Villeret will set you back €14,090, while the Fifty Fathoms Automatique Ref. 5015 12B40 O52A has a price of €14,800.
Formal watches with casual attire — a time-transcending style
It must have something to do with the demise of formalwear. Mostly everything people wear nowadays is casual, something lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic helped perpetuate even more quickly. Answer this truthfully: who wears a nice shirt and tie with a jacket and matching trousers during a Zoom meeting, and who’s “Donald Ducking”? The rise of denim, sweatshirts, and sneakers is unstoppable. Formalwear is under a lot of pressure, and urban style is all the rage. What I found out, not just while wearing the Villeret but also when I tried out the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, is that a classic watch uplifts your casual outfit. A traditional watch matches your formal attire. But when you pair it with something sporty, it kind of detonates that look, while giving it more zing at the very same time.
So, does the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654 still work?
The über popular retro diver is in line with your sweater and sneakers, and therefore, it won’t stand out or make a bold statement. It’s a safe bet. But when you combine your Jordan 1s and Japanese selvage denim with a traditional watch like the poetic Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 6654, you’re now a time-transcending, trend-breaking, and style-savvy individual with a taste for the more refined things in life. So, does the formal, ultra-classic look of the Villeret still vibe with the world we live in today? More than ever, I would say. But what do you think?
For more information about the Villeret Quantième Complet 6654, please visit Blancpain’s official website.
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