Blancpain Ref. 7002 Chronometer

This lovely Blancpain dress watch has already been the subject of my much earlier article, but I think it worth revisiting as my understanding of both the watch industry and of photography have progressed in the intervening 5-6 years. The reference 7002 can now be seen as a most unusual watch for Blancpain; it was one of their earliest efforts post their revival in 1983 by J.C. Biver, and remains one of their very few primarily steel-cased watches, and is I believe their only certified chronometer. In a larger context the 7002's use of the workhorse Peseux 7001 ebauche rather than Blancpain's own Frederic Piguet stock presents a unique reminder (and as we shall see, a benchmark) of this aspect of the watchmaking industry.

The 7002 is 36mm diameter, exclusive of crown, and 6.8mm thick. Its design, in hindsight, is entirely traditional Blancpain, with the signature double-shouldered bezel, multi-level metal dial and applied Breguet numerals. As is appropriate to a fine dress watch, the interest is in the details and these are fully present in this BP. Although the dial is simply anodized flat black, each set of markings is given a distinct outline by its three-dimensional shape. The fat Breguet numerals are plain but brilliantly polished, and applied to an engraved ring set below that of the the minutes' track and of the plain central field. Most unusually for both Blancpain and for a rather formal watch, both the sword hands and outer hour markers have luminous inserts.

Click the pictures for even larger!

The seconds subdial is a beautiful miniature, triple-sunk with crisp printing and yet more lovely engraving. The many textures of this dial are just outstanding!

I have seen in person or in pictures many samples of the chronometer, and they have all had three-digit case numbers; despite the model being in Blancpain's catalog for several years, overall production would seem to be quite low.

This watch's highlight is of course its caliber 64-1 movement, which begins as an entirely prosaic Peseux 7001. Manufactured almost continuously since the early 1970s, first by the independent Peseux company, and then by Blancpain's sister firm (ETA) under its current owner (Swatch Group), it is 10.5 lignes (about 23.5mm diameter) and 2.5mm thin, and runs at a relatively slow 21.6 kbph. Proven and adaptable, it has been given a wide variety of treatments over the years:

(the below photographs are from commercial sources)

Even though the 7002 is probably the least expensive watch ever produced by the modern Blancpain, they have invested considerable effort into the movement. In this iteration, the bridges are sensuously curved, and the emphasis is on fine traditional finish, including bold Geneva stripes and black-polished and beveled screwheads. As engraved, he 64-1 is fully adjusted for positions:

Some other highlights include polished teeth on the winding wheels, polished and gilt jewel countersinks, beautifully finished gears and a highly sculptured anchor. The radiused beveling of the bridges is as even and polished as that on watches many times the price. Additional information and admiration is posted at Walt Odets' article The A-B-C's of Watch Finish:

Of course, not all 7002s have the black dial!:

Please check out the rest of my watch Articles and pics:

I hope you enjoyed this!

May 16, 2006

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