Blancpain, like all of its brethren in the luxury segment of the Swatch Group, will not be exhibiting at the 2019 Baselworld watch fair, so this announcement doesn’t qualify as a “Baselworld preview” as it would have in recent years. Nevertheless, the venerable Swiss maison is getting a jump on the new year with a sneak preview of the newest member in its popular and growing Fifty Fathoms collection — the first Fifty Fathoms Automatique model to be housed in a titanium case.
The watch’s case measures a hefty 45 mm in diameter and features a satin-brushed finish. Water-resistant to 300 meters and 15.4 mm thick, this robust but low-density titanium outer shell is not only substantially lighter than its steel predecessors in the Fifty Fathoms collection, but also highly impact- and corrosion-resistant, ideal for the deep dives that this luxury-sport timepiece was built for. Taking its design cues from the first Fifty Fathoms watch introduced in the 1950s, and its updated, modern-day descendants that debuted in 2007, the watch has a sunburst black dial and a ratcheting unidirectional divers’ bezel with a scratch-proof domed insert made of sapphire. The dial’s hour markers and hands are coated with Super-LumiNova for easy legibility in low light or deep beneath the waves. A date window — an indicator first added to the Fifty Fathoms in the 2007 update — occupies the 4:30 position.
Inside the case, Blancpain’s automatic manufacture Caliber 1315, a movement of proven sturdiness and a high level of chronometric performance, beats behind a clear sapphire caseback. Its three series-coupled mainspring barrels provide an impressive power reserve of 120 hours, or five days while guaranteeing a constant supply of energy. The movement has a balance spring made of silicon, a material whose key properties — low density that makes it particularly light, strong shock-resistance, and imperviousness to magnetic fields — help to ensure the almost perfect geometry of the spring, thereby improving the movement’s isochronism hence the precision of the watch. The use of silicon enabled Blancpain’s watchmakers to dispense with the soft-iron inner cage that protected the original Fifty Fathoms’s movement from magnetism and thus to allow the modern Caliber 1315 to put its meticulous haute horlogerie finishes on display. Caliber 1315 caliber is also fitted with a robust glucydur balance wheel, with square-head gold micrometric regulating screws to improve precision and allow for efficient adjustment.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique in titanium is offered on a on a maritime-inspired black sail-canvas strap (Ref. 5015-12B30-B52A) and an on a black NATO strap (Ref. 5015-12B30-NABA). Prices were not available at press time.