Blancpain’s latest Bathyscaphe is a green-tinted no-date option to the brand’s popular range of dive watches. The 50-piece limited edition with its distinct green dial and bezel and case supports the Mokarran Protection Society as it sets out to measure and identify great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) in French Polynesia,
The Bathyscaphe from 2013 took its direct inspiration from the model that debuted in 1956, which was intended to be a more wearable, “civilian” version of the bigger, military-designed Fifty Fathoms that preceded it by three years. Since its launch, the Bathyscaphe has quickly grown into a sub-collection of its own, with chronograph models (2014), a Day Date ’70s and a Quantième Annuel and Quantième Complet Phases de Lune version (all 2018), and different diameters and case materials, including titanium, Sedna gold, ceramized titanium, steel and ceramic.
The newest Bathyscaphe brings a new color to the collection: it is distinguished by its green dial and unidirectional bezel with a matching green ceramic insert with markers made of Liquidmetal, a proprietary material used in several other Blancpain watches and by other brands within the Swatch Group. The luminous dot index at 12 o’clock is a faithful reproduction of the one used on the original Fifty Fathoms watches of the 1950s. The 43.6-mm-diameter case is water resistant to 300 meters and made of black ceramic with sweeping beveled lugs and a satin-brushed finish.
The new sunburst-finish green dial features a central hour and minute hand that are based on the look of the original; the date, usually located in a small window at 4:30, has been removed for a purist look, a first for the 43.6-mm version; and the large, red-tipped central seconds hand serves a utilitarian purpose for those diving with this watch, as an indicator that it is functioning. At 43.6 mm in diameter and 13.8 mm thick, the Bathyscaphe is certainly not a small watch. Yet, its understated, reduced design never lets it appear big or out of place on a wrist. The same goes for the conveniently large crown that screws down for security.
The understated, reduced design never lets it appear big or out of place on a wrist.
The watch is equipped with Blancpain’s self-winding Caliber 1318, a robust movement with 204 components, 35 jewels and a high level of chronometric performance. Its three series-coupled mainspring barrels provide an impressive power reserve of five days. The movement, visible through the watch’s clear sapphire caseback, has a balance spring made of silicon, a material that features several key properties — low density that makes it particularly light, strong shock resistance, and resistance to magnetic fields — which help to optimize geometry of the balance spring, thereby improving the isochronism of the movement and ultimately the precision of the watch. Blancpain’s 1318 is also fitted with a Glucydur balance wheel with square-head gold micrometric regulating screws to improve precision and allow for efficient adjustment. The gold oscillating weight comes with an engraving of a hammerhead shark.
While undoubtedly more brittle than metal, ceramic offers a couple of advantages that are worth mentioning. It’s a corrosion-resistant, lightweight material that offers a great look for a dive watch and is extremely comfortable to wear. More importantly, since it hasn’t been coated with an additional layer of color, it will keep its black color. Collectors have long asked for a no date version of the Bathyscape even thought is a popular complication on the market. The green used for the bezel and dial is simply a thing of beauty: depending on the lighting, the color ranges from emerald green to almost black, making it one of the visually most attractive versions in the collection.
On a personal note, the Bathyscaphe is a something of a personal favorite thanks to its understated, clean design, and rich heritage. Blancpain has carefully worked on the evolution of the range, making sure the design would get enough time to establish itself as a classic. With this version, Blancpain has not only managed to introduce a new color, but to create one of the few watches that would most likely leave you completely satisfied, should you ever find yourself marooned on a remote isle — or underwater on a quest to see the great hammerhead shark yourself. Limited to 50 pieces, the watch is priced at $15,500.
Blancpain has agreed to make 10 pieces available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively to readers of WatchTime magazine. If interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly help you coordinate with the nearest Blancpain boutique to make sure this isn’t the last time you’ve seen the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Mokarran Limited Edition.