Watch Test: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback ChronographIn the new feature, “In-Depth Study,” we probe the depths of Blancpain’s new dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph, introduced at Baselworld last year, is the first Blancpain watch with a 36,000-vph movement. The styling of the watch’s hands and indexes, the shape of its case, and the design of its calibrated diving scale all swim in the wake of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, launched in 2013. Both models trace their ancestry to the original Fifty Fathoms of 1953: created to meet the requirements of French naval frogmen, it was one of the first divers’ watches with a bezel that could be rotated in only one direction.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chrono - angle

For our test of the Bathyscaphe Flyback-Chronograph, we first measured its rate on a timing machine. Then, to get a close look at the movement, Caliber F385, we asked watchmaker Florian Pikor, deputy director of the service center for the retailer Wempe in Munich, to take the watch apart. Its fast-paced balance, and the fact that the movement had been finely adjusted in six positions, not the usual five, raised our expectations for the timing test. Those expectations were met, and then some: the rate results were excellent. With an average daily gain of just 0.7 seconds and a greatest difference among the different positions of only 3 seconds, the watch earned all 10 points in the “rate results” category. Its performance was equally good when the chronograph was running: a 1.2-second gain per day and a greatest daily difference of just 2 seconds among the different positions. The amplitude, i.e., the arc through which the balance swings, was greater in the flat positions than in the hanging positions, but its decline remained within the normal range. We were pleased to see that switching the chronograph on exerted only a very slight influence on the amplitude.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chrono - disassembled

Click here to download the full test article, including complete specs, final scores and prices for the Omega Speedmaster Mark II — plus more great original photos of the watch by Marcus Krüger — for only $2.99 from the WatchTime online store.

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