Blancpain expanded its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe collection — a vintage-inspired sub-family of its Fifty Fathoms series of luxurious divers’ watches — earlier this year with the release of the eye-catching and very exclusive Mokarran Limited Edition, which introduced a new shade of green on both the dial and bezel. This fall, the manufacture continues to add colorful options to the series with two new models. One brings those distinctive green dial and bezel colors to the Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronographe; the other introduces a sand-colored dial to the Bathyscaphe Day-Date.
The new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronographe features a 43.6-mm-diameter case made of satin-brushed black ceramic. Its unidirectional rotating dive-scale bezel has a green ceramic insert whose shades echo that of the dial. The dial’s radiating sunburst effect is obtained via a series of steps beginning with a two-stage polishing process — the first to remove scratches, the second to smooth and soften the surface. The chronograph subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock are then hollowed out and snailed for a greater sense of depth on the dial overall. Finally, the unmistakable green color, which takes on subtle metallic shades in certain lighting, comes from coating the dial with several nanometric layers of material.
Behind a sapphire caseback beats the movement, Blancpain’s in-house, automatic Caliber F385, whose of 36,000-vph (5-Hz) frequency enables the column-wheel-driven chronograph mechanism to record times to 1/10 second. The variable-inertia balance, with gold screws, ensures increased robustness and more precise adjustment than the more traditional index device. A vertical clutch aids in chronograph precision, eliminating unexpected jerking of the counter hand when the chronograph is engaged, and allowing the stopwatch mechanism to operate freely without negative effect on the watch’s rate accuracy. The case that houses this high-horology mechanism is water-resistant to 300 meters and mounted on either a NATO or sail canvas strap. It is priced at CHF 16,000.
The other new model, the Bathyscaphe Day-Date Desert Edition, is limited to 500 pieces. The sandy beige dial draws its inspiration from the desert sands of Death Valley, California, where Ernest H. Brooks II, a pioneer of underwater photography, made a famous dive into the underwater chasm known as Devil’s Hole in 1962. Its 43-mm case is made of satin-brushed steel and the dive-scale insert on its unidirectional bezel is made of brown ceramic. The sandy, sunburst dial is new to the collection, and its bold rectangular hour markers, paired with Arabic numerals marking the five-minute intervals, takes its design inspiration from a 1970s model — right down to the blocky syringe hands and day-and-date indication in two windows at 3 o’clock.
The watch’s 300-meter water-resistant case houses another Blancpain manufacture movement, the self-winding Caliber 1315DD, whose notable attributes include a five-day (120-hour) power reserve when fully wound, a silicon balance spring to resist magnetic fields, and a gold rotor coated with an NAC treatment. The watch completes its desert-inspired look with a sail canvas strap matching the warm, sandy tones of the dial. It’s priced at $12,700.