This year, Blancpain honors the Chinese Lunar New Year of 2022 with a new version of the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar crafted in platinum with a Grand Feu enamel dial and subtle allusions to the Year of the Tiger, the Chinese zodiac animal representing 2022.

The job of fusing the Gregorian and Chinese calendars in one watch is extremely difficult, and it took Blancpain five years of R&D to master. The inclusion of both calendars is due to the fact that in China, the lunisolar calendar is used to set festival dates such as the Lunar New Year, while the Gregorian calendar is utilized for civic reasons.

The Chinese lunisolar calendar is based on precise astronomical observations of the longitude of the Sun and the phases of the Moon. The disparity between the number of days in a solar year (365.2) and the number of days in a lunar year (353, 354 or 355 days) poses a dilemma for a Chinese calendar. The calendar includes an additional month known as an intercalary month to adjust for the discrepancy between lunar and solar years.

On the white Grand Feu enamel dial, the calendar functions are symmetrically organized and display Gregorian and Chinese calendar characteristics. A blued-steel serpentine hand (pointer date) indicates the date, which is situated on the dial’s edge, and the phases of the Moon, which occur on all Blancpain full calendars and also define traditional Chinese months, are exposed inside an aperture above 6 o’clock.

The little opening beneath the gold dot at noon, which reveals the form of a tiger, comes from the lunisolar Chinese calendar. A little sub-dial just under the tiger displays the double hours in numbers and symbols during a 24-hour period.

The lunar months and days are displayed on the sub-dial at 9 o’clock, and the little circular aperture turns red when the year has a 13th intercalary month. The third sub-dial, located directly opposite, depicts the five elements (wood, earth, fire, water, and metal) as well as the 10 celestial stems, with a yin and yang sign in the center. The dial is adorned with white gold Roman numerals for the hours, while the indicators are enamel painted in black.

The Traditional Chinese Calendar is housed in a 45mm platinum casing that is 15mm thick. A vivid pink Madagascar cabochon-cut ruby is placed in the crown, and five Blancpain’s innovative correctors hidden behind the lugs allow for changes, exactly as previous sophisticated calendar models.

Thanks to the employment of three series-coupled barrels, the Blancpain calibre 3638 self-winding movement can produce a tremendous 7-day (168h) power reserve. The  frequency is 4Hz, and the balancing spring is silicon. There are 464 components in total. The enormous platinum rotor, etched with a realistic representation of a tiger preparing to pounce and set with a Madagascar ruby, is visible through the sapphire caseback.