Swiss watchmaker Blancpain honours the great beauties of ancient China with a series of four Métiers d’Art timepieces inspired by the rich culture and history of the Middle Empire. This homage uses the most painstaking traditional crafts to depict these women, whose breathtaking beauty, according to legend, caused nature to falter and entire kingdoms to weaken.
It opens with Xi Shi, whose face was said to be so enchanting that the fish in the mountain river where she washed her garments forgot how to swim. Diao Chan, the only fictional character in the series, was the protagonist of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in which she used her charms to weaken the lord responsible for her parents’ deaths. Wang Zhaojun was a member of Emperor Yuan’s kingdom who was given, with her consent, to Hu Hanye, the ruler of the Xiongnu Kingdom. Finally, Yang Guifei was the concubine of the Emperor Xuanzhong from the Tang dynasty, whose charm was bolstered by her great talent for music and dancing.
Traditional crafts — champlevé enamelling, engraving, shakudō, enamel painting and marquetry — are used to recreate these fabled women on the watch dials. The four timepieces are made with red gold and are driven by the manual-winding Calibre 13R3A with an eight-day power reserve. Interior finishes, such as the Côtes de Genève motif and hand-filed chamfering, highlight this celebration of legacy and tradition.
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