It’s been a big week for luxury watch brands in partnership with water-related philanthropic causes. On the heels of Hublot’s presentation of a 1.7 million check to charity: water from sales of its Big Bang Depeche Mode Special Edition, Blancpain presented, for World Oceans Day on June 8, the third in its series of Ocean Commitment limited editions, part of whose proceeds goes to funding projects that preserve and protect the world’s oceans. Here’s what you need to know about the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment timepiece.
The newest Ocean Commitment watch — referred to in shorthand by its initials, BOC III, for “Blancpain Ocean Commitment III” — differs from the previous two in some significant respects while also incorporating some of their signature elements. Both previous editions were extensions of the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback family, the first (from 2014) with a gray ceramic case and blue dial and bezel; the second (which debuted in 2016 at the WatchTime New York show) sporting a blue ceramic case and bezel and a gray dial. Each was equipped with Blancpain’s self-winding chronograph Caliber F385 and came in a contemporarily large 43.6-mm case. The BOC III hearkens more to 2017’s Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC model, launched at Baselworld 2017, with a smaller case, at 40 mm in diameter, and a more basic three-hand-date movement, Caliber 1151. All of the models, of course, pay some design homage to the original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms from 1953, the groundbreaking model referenced by many as “the first modern dive watch.”
The case of the watch, water-resistant to an impressive 300 meters as one would expect from this series, is in satin-brushed stainless steel, with a unidirectional rotating bezel whose dive-scale-printed insert is made of scratch-resistant, ocean blue sapphire. Super-LumiNova coats the large indices, as well as the hands that sweep over the bezel-matching blue dial, for optimum underwater legibility. A date window sits at 4:30, while the Blancpain Ocean Commitment logo has been placed at 6 o’clock, replacing the circular water-tightness indicator that appears on the MIL-SPEC model.
The in-house, self-winding movement that powers the BOC III, Blancpain’s Caliber 1151, is the same one found in the MIL-SPEC. Among its notable attributes are its lengthy four-day power reserve, stored in two series-coupled mainspring barrels, its solid gold winding rotor, coated with the platinum alloy NAC and engraved with a Blancpain logo; and its balance spring made of low-density, shock-resistant, magnetism-impervious silicon. The latter feature negates the need for the soft iron inner case that protected this watch’s historical predecessors from the ill effects of magnetic fields, and thus allowed Blancpain to put this finely decorated Swiss movement on display behind a clear sapphire caseback.
The Blancpain Ocean Commitment III watch, which like its two predecessors is limited to just 250 pieces worldwide, comes on a maritime-inspired sail-canvas strap along with an additional blue NATO strap. Each will be individually numbered and delivered with a hand-numbered copy of the 10th anniversary Edition Fifty Fathoms book, which collects a stunning array of black-and-white underwater photography, and whose limited-edition number corresponds with that of the watch; as well as membership in the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle, which offers special VIP access to events and conferences involving Blancpain’s ongoing ocean protection initiatives. The price for this package is $17,100 — from which 1,000 euros goes to Ocean Commitment causes for a total of 250,000 euros when all models are sold.