The First Modern Wristwatch Exhibited in the Forbidden City

Oct 27, 2008
The legendary Forbidden City, lying right at the heart of Beijing and covering 720,000 square meters, tops the list of the largest and most luxurious palaces in the world. The Forbidden City was rigorously guarded in the past, but now its doors are open to the public and it is annually visited by about 8 million people.

The Palace Museum, covering 160,000 square meters, houses over 1,500,000 works of art. The museum's visitors may admire the richest collection of national treasures.

The Watch and Clock Hall of the Palace Museum boasts one of the largest collections of mechanical timekeeping creations. The collection is highlighted by more than 1000 models dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. But you would find no modern wristwatch in the collection up until now!

Blancpain, the oldest watch brand in the world, has been privileged to become an ambassador of the art of contemporary watchmaking in the Palace Museum. The Manufacture has been invited to display the first and only present-day wristwatch within the walls of the Museum.

With great honor, Blancpain has created a unique version of its Carrousel Volant Une Minute wristwatch. The timepiece, named the Blancpain Qiankun Carrousel, has been unveiled at an official donation ceremony in the Palace Museum.

Crafted from 18K white gold, the Blancpain watch, with the 43.5 mm-diameter case, has a half-open worked opaline dial with the 'Yin and Yang' symbol. The dial allows one to admire the noble architecture of the Blancpain hand-decorated movement. The hours and minutes are indicated by dagger-shaped skeleton hands. The glance is paralyzed by a round opening at 12 o'clock revealing the intricacy of the karussel.

The case back of the Blancpain watch features the inscription of the words 'The Palace Museum' and 'Piece Unique'. The sapphire crystal reveals the view of the specially-designed oscillating weight inscribed with the words '1735', 'Qianlong' and 'Blancpain'.

The inscriptions at the case back pay tribute to an amazing coincidence in the history of the Blancpain Manufacture and that of the Forbidden City: Blancpain was founded in 1735, the year of the coronation of the Chinese emperor Qianlong. The centre of the oscillating weight exquisitely depicts the Forbidden City.

The Blancpain Carrousel Volant Une Minute watch perfectly reflects the pioneering spirit of the Manufacture. Having sunk into 100-year oblivion, the karussel has been revived by the Blancpain master-watchmakers who managed to miniaturize the mechanism to the size of a wristwatch. The Manufacture in Le Brassus has given birth to the world's only flying karussel that performs a complete rotation in exactly 60 seconds.


Enjoy a fine selection of Blancpain watches:



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