This watch by Blancpain, part of the Fifty Fathoms Collection, is a limited edition diving watch and the first of a series in the Blancpain Ocean Commitment programme. For each piece sold, €1,000 will be donated to scientific expeditions. Owners become members of the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle, giving them special benefits such as opportunities to meet Blancpain partners, exclusive news on the members area of the Ocean Commitment website, and private invitations to scientific expedition report presentations and documentary film premieres.
The Bathyscaphe was first presented in 1956, three years after the pioneering FIfty Fathoms diving watch: it was intended as an everyday version of the Fifty Fathoms, with a marginally smaller case diameter. This year’s Bathyscaphe has a case diameter of 43.60 mm, thickness 15.25 mm, and even though it has all the characteristics necessary to function as a dive watch, the narrower bezel, the smaller bezel markings and the sapphire caseback show that it will be used predominantly on dry land. The case is in satin-finish grey ceramic, with ceramic crown and chronograph pushers. The unidirectional bezel is in blue ceramic, with Liquidmetal indices. Liquidmetal is a Blancpain-patented amorphous metal alloy, whose hardness, scratch resistance and thermal expansion characteristics make it suitable for bonding with ceramic. The dial has three subdials, two for the chronograph hour and minute counters, and one for continuous seconds, and a date window. The sapphire caseback provides a view of the F385 calibre powering the watch, with an oscillating weight decorated for this limited edition with the Ocean Commitment logo. Each watch is individually numbered.
The automatic F385 movement is the latest in-house calibre by Blancpain, and it runs at 5 Hertz, 36,000 vph, ideal for a chronograph because elapsed time can be stopped at 1/10 second intervals. In addition, the chronograph can be operated right down to the maximum depth of 300 metres. This is made possible by sealed chronograph pushers.
The balance spring is in anti-magnetic silicon. The chronograph is controlled by a column wheel with vertical clutch, an arrangement that ensures smooth chronograph operation. It includes the flyback function, in which the pusher at 4 o’clock can either reset the chronograph after it has been stopped, or it can instantaneously reset and re-start the chronograph when it is pressed while the chronograph is already running. It is a useful function while diving for timing successive decompression stops. Power reserve 50 hours, 37 jewels, 322 components.
Reference and price
The Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback is reference 5200-0240-52A, price £14,000, available in boutiques from October 2015. It is also available with a technical webbing NATO strap, reference 5200-0240-NAO A. Purchasers receive a copy of Blancpain’s book Fifty Fathoms The Dive and Watch History 1953-2013, hand-numbered with the same number as the watch.