Blancpain has been Swatched! It’s finally here. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms in a Swatch form. Last year we saw planet themed MoonSwatches and this year Swatch has dropped 5 new ocean-themed Scuba Fifty’s in different colours – the much hyped and all new Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms.
While most were quite surprised by this collaboration given the prestige positioning of Blancpain, let’s not forget the fun aspect of Swatch. That being said, Blancpain is celebrating 70 years of the Fifty Fathoms and this seems to be one of their ways of commemorating this iconic dive watch.
Named Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms, the collection references the brand’s own diver’s watches, the SCUBA line. Just like their predecessors these new watches are also non-limited, however we will have to wait and watch out for those lines. So non-limited but yet again availability is questionable.
The new Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms do reproduce the Fifty Fathoms hallmarks.
- The watches are water resistant down to 91 meters (or 300 feet).
- Good legibility
- A mechanical movement – The watch sports the SISTEM51, Swatch’s first and only mechanical movement whose production is entirely automated. The mechanism is anti-magnetic, thanks to its NivachronTM hairspring, and has just 51 parts including one central screw as well as a 90-hour power reserve.
Finally the aesthetics. Blancpain and Swatch drew their inspiration from the deep seas to create the all new Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms. Each one is named after one of five oceans: ARCTIC OCEAN, PACIFIC OCEAN, ATLANTIC OCEAN, INDIAN OCEAN and ANTARCTIC OCEAN.
At first glance the shared Blancpain X Swatch logos can be found on the dial and crown. The word “Swatch” is also inscribed on the case, just as “Blancpain” is inscribed on the original Fifty Fathoms watches. At the bottom is the classic Scubatech and Fifty Fathom text. The dials have a fume feel with gradient coloration that goes from dark to light.
While all the watches are quite similar, there are two that truly stand out. The Artic Ocean model appears as the No Rad Fifty Fathoms! It features a special symbol on the dial: a red trefoil on a yellow background with a white cross cutting through it. The words “NO RADIATIONS” are placed below the logo to drive the message home. In the sixties, the dials on these diver’s watches used the “NO RADIATIONS” logo to show that they did not contain radium.
The Antarctic Ocean model features a genuine water contact indicator that detects the presence of water. Since 1954, Blancpain has added this feature to some of its models intended for use by diving clubs and military units. Placed at 6 o’clock on the dial, the sensor ensures that the watch’s water resistance has not been affected by the previous diver’s use. A change in sensor color would indicate a trace of moisture. A number of Fifty Fathoms models equipped with the two-color sensor bear the name “MIL-SPEC”, in accordance with US Navy specifications.
The back of all five watches features an illustration of a magnificent, colorful animal found in all five oceans: the nudibranchs (scientific name: Nudibranchia) that is featured in a digital print on the movement’s rotor.
On the Artic Ocean watch is the nudibranch Dendronotus Frondosus, characterized by its soft, subtle shapes. The Pacific Ocean features Chromodoris Kuiteri. The Atlantic Ocean has Glaucus Atlanticus. Its deep blue colors pay tribute to wild seas. But don’t be fooled: even though this species highlights the fragility of marine life, it’s still poisonous — nicknamed the blue dragon.
The Indian Ocean, with its Nembrotha Kubaryana, evokes the mesmerizing colors of corals and the lush, dazzling waters. Finally, the Antarctic Ocean features Tritoniella Belli, recalling the mystery and allure of icy polar waters. It resembles an iceberg battered by storm waves. All these nudibranchs actually live in the oceans their watches are inspired by. Each watch also has a depiction of the ocean it represents on the back.
All the casebacks feature inspirational inscriptions like PASSION FOR DIVING – LICENCE TO EXPLORE – OCEAN BREATH – PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE and IMMERSE YOURSELF.
All the models in this collaboration between the two Swatch Group brands are 42.3mm and made of Bioceramic. The watches are accompanied by NATO straps that are made from recycled fishing nets that have been removed from the sea.
The new Blancpain X Swatch Collection comes in exclusive colors that were specifically developed for this collaboration. They add a strong, playful and original touch to Blancpain’s professional diver’s watches. Every Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms has its own identity and makes its own allusions to the Blancpain collection.
Priced at US$ 400 these watches will be available from September 9 and only at selected Swatch stores worldwide. Is India one of them, I guess we’ll have to wait and watch. Just like the Moonswatch, the Bioceramic MoonSwatch, purchases are limited to one watch per person per day. The watches will be presented in a special diving case. However this time around these watches will also be on display in selected Blancpain boutiques for several weeks. That’s a first!
What we think.
The initial reaction post the announcement and the multiple pre-launch campaigns was a little astounding. Why would Blancpain create a Swatch as an ode to its iconic diver watch? While we haven’t seen the watch in person (obviously), it is still a Swatch and the only way to convince yourself of this collaboration is by not taking it too seriously. These BlancSwatches seem to have a more premium feel in comparison to the MoonSwatches but we will only know more when we get our hands on them.