Here is a complete overview of the Blancpain chronograph and tourbillon movement based on the Frederic Piguet caliber 11.85

Before us is the Blancpain Leman Tourbillon Chronograph watch, combining a very reliable chronograph with the Fly back function from Frederic Piguet, as well as a skillfully made Flying tourbillon. The watch case is made of 18K white gold. For the necessary water protection (100 m), it has screw down crown and pushers. Case diameter 38 mm, thickness 12 mm. Reference model 2188F-1527-53. The model is a limited edition.

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Fig.2 Front and back sapphire crystals have an anti-reflective coating. The movement has a beautifully finished gold rotor skeletonized with the letter “B” in the center.

The watch uses a Caliber 23F8 based on Frederic Piguet 11.85. Some numbers: Diameter 25.6 mm, 38 jewels are used in the mechanism. The balance with two arms is made of Glucidur, the frequency is 21600 beats per hour (bph), the power reserve is at least 42 hours with the chronograph on and 48 hours with the chronograph off. The movement is tested and adjusted in 5 positions with a COSC chronometer rating. 

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Fig.3 Automatic winding is traditionally mono-directional for Frederic Piguet. It is modular, bolted with just three screws. Therefore, the version with manual winding is easy to turn into an “automatic”.

Fig.4 Under the dial, the main plate is decorated with a perlage. Details are rhodium plated.

A few words about the basic mechanism. Frederic Piguet today is probably one of the best independent manufacturers of mechanisms. In addition, Blancpain, supplies its movements to many very famous brands, for example, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, Gerald Genta, IWC, Ulysse Nardin, Chopard, Piaget, Urban Jurgensen, and Breitling. The company was founded in 1858 by Louis Elysee Piguet in Le Brassus. Despite the fact that the company is part of the Swatch Group, it is still a family business under the direction of the great-great-grandson of Louis Elizy – Jacques Piguet.

FP 11.85 for a long time was considered the thinnest self-winding chronograph with a thickness of only 5.5 mm. It is based on the manual wind version of the 11.80 chronographs with a thickness of only 3.95 mm!

Fig.5 Mechanism with the self-winding module removed. The bridge with Blancpain inscription is just to fill space for better symmetry. In the traditional 11.85 balance and fork are located here.

Fig.6 Chronograph zeroing scheme is simple. It is produced by one lever that crosses the mechanism and has 3 reset fingers.

Fig.7. Two second wheels swapped. In FP 11.85, the main is the chronograph wheel, here is the second wheel. If you look closely, there are slots for the tool on top of it – dismantle the carriage.

The chronograph function uses a vertical clutch mechanism.

Fig.8 Movable second wheel close up

The moving second wheel is very interesting. In the traditional FP 11.85, this wheel does not participate in the kinematic scheme, and instead of threading, it has an axis for the second hand. In this mechanism, this wheel is the most important. It is on him that the tourbillon carriage is wound. This wheel has a pinion in non-tourbillon version.

Fig.9 A fourth wheel is screwed to the main plate with two screws. The tribe of the anchor wheel installed inside the carriage and rotates around it.

The carriage rests on a ball bearing. The bearings, as it should be in high quality watches, are made of ruby. The lack of lubrication here allows you to make the system more efficient.

Fig.10 On the bottom side the carriage does not have exceptional finishing. The nut is visible in the center, with which the carriage is screwed onto the movable second wheel. The bridge of the anchor wheel has a special cutout that allows it to turn around tightly screwed to the main plate fourth wheel.

Fig.11 System Ligne Droite (Fr.) – “straight line” reduces the cost of production of the mechanism through the use of standard components. The balance is placed aside in the carriage.

The tourbillon carriage is hand finished flawlessly. However, the escape wheel is simply stamped, as on most watches.  Finishing is present only on impulse surfaces. The pallet fork is also stamped, with minimal finish. 

Fig.12 Balance is located upside down. In this variant, the hair fastening column is located below and does not bring dissonance to the perfect symmetry of the carriage.

The KIF shockproof system, once famous for one of the most successful PareShock devices, is traditional for high-quality watches.

Fig.13 The carriage disassembled. The balance does not have a regulator. Adjustment is carried out with screws on the balance rim. Given that the carriage is placed in a certain “well”, it becomes a difficult task to adjust this balance in the mechanism.

Unlike most modern watches with a balance without a regulator (free-sprung system), these watches do not have a convenient adjustment from above. That is, the adjusting screws can be rotated only with a screwdriver on the side of the balance. This somewhat complicates the adjustment, since access to the side of the movement is very limited in the collected watches. Here you understand how convenient the Gyromax system from Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet, the Microstella system from Rolex, well, or just a screw with a square head, as, for example, in Omega Co-Axial.

Fig.14 By tradition, I spread the kinematics of the mechanism. 

The fork, as often happens in tourbillons, is located upside down.

Fig.15 Kinematics of the traditional wheel system. Interestingly, the chronograph wheel involved in the kinematic scheme of the FP 11.85  here is only an additional one. Without it, the scheme will feel quite tolerable.

Despite a number of minor flaws, I liked the watch. The positive thing is that it is relatively easy to find a number of details for this model. The watch turned out to be a good timekeeper with two beautiful complications. Now the company has released a watch with a carousel, a kind of tourbillon, in which the carriage rotates at a much lower speed.

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Credits to Andrew Babanin from