Anyone familiar with dive watches is guaranteed to know Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, the first of which introduced the world to the concept of the modern dive watch when it made its debut in 1953. Blancpain developed that landmark design for a timepiece that was worn in particular by the French Navy diving combat unit, resulting in a tough watch that met their very particular needs.
Three years later, Blancpain introduced a smaller but no less impressive version of the watch, better suited to us mere mortals – we can’t all be members of the French military with tree trunks for arms – called the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. This trimmed-down version of the Fifty Fathoms featured calendar indications and was a more versatile proposition than the original. It was one of the first everyday ‘desk divers’ and it quickly won over watch enthusiasts who were convinced that a sporty watch could be worn in all circumstances.
Now, Blancpain has seen fit to release two stunning new iterations of the Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph, which has been a staple of the Bathyscaphe line since it first appeared in 2014. These exciting additions to Blancpain’s catalogue present very different interpretations of the same watch and expand Blancpain’s aesthetic palette. So whether you like your timepiece to make a colourful statement or prefer a more discrete look, one of Blancpain’s new pieces should suit you perfectly.
The Purest Titanium
Starting with the grade 23 titanium model (5200 1210), Blancpain has included an anthracite dial surrounded by a handsome dark case that’s forged from grade 23 titanium, the purest form available. Containing less oxygen than the more common varieties of titanium so often used by watchmakers, grade 23 offers additional resistance to breakage and corrosion, while also being anti-allergenic, a property that has made it a go-to material in the manufacturing of medical equipment. While the watch’s sunburst dial and bright hands and markers still catch the eye, Blancpain has crafted an understated timepiece that unmistakably speaks to the origins of the Fifty Fathoms line.
In splendid contrast, Blancpain’s second model (5200 3640) features a striking red gold case matched with a bright blue dial. And like its more reserved counterpart, this piece also features a stunning sunburst finish, albeit one that pops even more with its particular shade of blue. The red gold variation adds a swagger to the DNA of the Fifty Fathoms line and seamlessly marries its military origins with an undeniable sense of the luxurious.
Beneath their contrasting exteriors, these variations share the same immaculate specifications. Both feature a 43mm case that’s water resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 m) and an oversized crown that rests between piston-style chronograph pushers. Inside sits one of the watch industry’s most renowned chronograph movements: Blancpain’s Calibre F385. This in-house movement utilises Blancpain’s refined vertical clutch design, ensuring smooth engagement of the chronograph mechanism and preventing the seconds hand from making any abrupt jumps.
Beating at a frequency of 5 Hz in order to ensure accuracy, the F385 also features an inertia-regulated balance wheel with a silicon balance spring, the geometry and lightness of which are designed to help optimise chronometric performance.
Whether you choose the red gold or titanium version of Blancpain’s latest release, both come paired with a NATO or sailcloth strap that matches the watch’s dial in colour. Wearers of the red gold can choose between a pin buckle or folding clasp, which those selecting the titanium model will also enjoy the option of a titanium bracelet.
No matter which one best matches your style, wearing one of Blancpain’s new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronographs means you get to proudly continue the legacy of one of the most iconic watches ever created. For more information, visit the link to Blancpain’s website below.