The self-winding Vladimir Kramnik watch

by ChessBase
11/13/2005 – For a number of years Vladimir Kramnik has done promotionals for the Swiss company Blancpain, manufacturer of high-quality mechanical watches. Now Blancpain has created a special watch with an engraved image of Kramnik on its winding rotor. It will be handed over to him on November 24, before a simultaneous exhibition against 30 watch collectors. We have pictures...

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The pioneer work was done by Alexandra Kosteniuk. In 2002 she became the "Ambassadrice of Balmain", a Swiss watch company that signed a sponsoring agreement with the then women's world vice-champion. A year later Vladimir Kramnik followed suit, promoting the Swiss watch company, Blancpain, founded in 1735 and today a manufacturer of high-quality (and high-price) mechanical watches.

From a Blancpain ad in 2003. The Russian text by Karmnik
says: "Time is precious when you don't have enough of it."

Now Blancpain has created a special watch for the Classical Chess World Champion. It is a Villeret Time Zone in white gold, with two time displays, one for local time, the other for home time. It is a self-winding watch, and the winding rotor bears the image of a contemplative Vladimir Kramnik, created by a Blancpain’s master engraver.

The transparent back of the special Blancpain watch, with Kramnik engraved on the winding rotor

This special watch will be presented by Blancpain CEO Marc A. Hayek on November 24 to Kramnik, during a special "day of watches and chess" that will be held in the Moscow boutique Mercury. Following the presentation of the Blancpain timepiece Vladimir Kramnik will play simultaneous exhibition against 30 watch collectors who have been selected by Mercury for this event. This will take place in the famous Restaurant Gallery (Petrovka str. 27, Moscow).

A Kramnik simultaneous exhibition in Bonn, Germany, in 2004

A short history of time

20,000 years ago ice-age hunters in Europe scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. The four millennia before our time saw the Egyptians using the moving shadows of obelisks as a kind of a sundial, and later water clocks (like the one found in the tomb of pharaoh Amenhotep I, buried around 1500 BC). In the late 9th century the first candle clocks appeared, in the first half of the 14th century large weight-driven mechanical clocks began to appear in the towers of several large Italian cities.

Spring-driven clocks probably appeared first in Europe during the early 15th century. In 1656 Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist, made the first pendulum clock. In 1735 Jehan-Jacques Blancpain established the first watch manufacture as a cottage industry. In 1983 Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet combined forces to revive the Blancpain Company. Close scrutiny of all available records confirmed that there never had been such a thing as a Blancpain quartz watch. And none will exist in the future.

Here's the original press announcement by Blancpain:

Blancpain To Honour Its Ambassador World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik With A Unique Watch Followed By An Evening of Chess For Collectors

The Moscow luxury goods speciality boutique Mercury is set to play host to a very special day of watches and chess on November 24, 2005 at 7 pm, when it welcomes World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik, Blancpain CEO Marc A. Hayek and thirty privileged watch collectors for simultaneous play taking place in the famous Restaurant Gallery (Petrovka str., 27, Moscow).

The most celebrated name in all of chess, Vladimir Kramnik has been reining champion since 2000 when he defeated Garry Kasparov in London. At times Champion Kramnik likens his chess to a “fighting game” but more often to an art that is simply “felt”. Drawing an analogy to a painter he has said that “A painter never asks people what they want to see. He paints”.

For many years the art on Vladimir Kramnik’s wrist has been a watch from the Blancpain Villeret series. To honour his continued successful defenses of his world title, Blancpain has created a special watch will be presented by Blancpain CEO Marc A. Hayek on November 24. Chosen by Vladimir Kramnik from Blancpain’s collection, he will receive a Villeret Time Zone in white gold. Kramnik has long been drawn to the classicism of the Blancpain Villeret series which is personified in the Time Zone, ref. 6260. Outfitted with two time displays, one for local time, the other for home time, the Time Zone is an ideal travel watch. Its 254 individual component automatic movement has been conceived to deliver a 100 hour power reserve. The hand decoration and polish of the movement’s components can all be admired through the sapphire case back.

In recognition of Vladimir Kramnik’s achievements and his many years devotion to Blancpain, the model to be presented by Marc A. Hayek will feature a unique winding rotor bearing the image of Vladimir Kramnik in a contemplative chess pose. This masterpiece was created by Blancpain’s master engraver in Le Brassus home of Blancpain’s famous farmhouse atelier, which just re-opened from a year long restoration as the climax of Blanpain’s 270th year celebration. Following the presentation of this unique Blancpain timepiece, Vladimir Kramnik will play exhibition chess match simultaneously against 30 watch collectors who have been selected by Mercury for this event.

A separate invitation to a press conference with Mr Kramnik and Mr Marc A.Hayek, organised in the afternoon, will follow.

PR international:
Christel Räber Tel.: +41 21 796 36 36
Fax: +41 21 796 36 37
Web Press Center

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register