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Blancpain - From Desert To Lagoon

Blancpain From Desert To Lagoon

The new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe models transport us with their vividly coloured dials.

Dive watches have evolved considerably since the first Fifty Fathoms was released in 1953 as a purpose-built instrument for French military divers, created by Blancpain according to specifications from Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier. Because of how the first Fifty Fathoms was produced in such close conjunction between Blancpain (helmed at the time by Jean-Jacques Fiechter, himself a keen diver) and the French Marine Nationale combat divers’ unit, the Fifty Fathoms is considered by many to be the first modern dive watch, bearing many of the features that we now associate with the genre.

The Bathyscaphe model of the Fifty Fathoms collection is based on an archival timepiece from 1956 that was designed to be worn both in and out of the water, hence its more refined appearance and compact proportions. Since its 2013 reintroduction into the contemporary repertoire of Blancpain, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe has occupied an enviable spot at the crossroads of sporty ruggedness and design sophistication, making it the most versatile (and most accessible) point of entry for the brand.

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition © Blancpain

Just last week, Blancpain ventured into new depths with its first international webcast featuring a panel discussion between brand CEO Marc A. Hayek, vice president of sales Marc Junod, vice president of marketing Andrea Caputo and all-round renaissance man (publisher, pilot, diver, adventurer, marine biologist) Dietmar Fuchs. Following the panel discussion, which plunged viewers into the historical and modern Fifty Fathoms collection, Blancpain launched two new Bathyscaphe models — the Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition and the Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph with a kelp-green dial.

The Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition possesses an enigmatic name that immediately provokes curiosity — what’s the connection between a dive watch and a desert? The answer lies in yet another chapter of the Fifty Fathoms’ rich history, which alludes to a 1962 dive made by Ernest Brooks II (whose black-and-white underwater photography is used extensively by Blancpain) down an aquifer, aptly named Devil’s Hole, under Death Valley, Nevada. The silver-brown gradient dial recalls the scorching sands of the desert environment, beneath which lies an unexpected artery of water.

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph © Blancpain

The Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph has been through many dial iterations — black, anthracite, a captivating blue edition for retailer Bucherer — and is now also available in green. Under direct light, the colour starts off paler in the centre of the dial before subtly darkening towards the periphery, reminiscent of the effect of sunlight in transparent waters.

Fifty Fathoms

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronogaph Bucherer Blue Edition © Bucherer

A good friend at Blancpain once explained to me the distinction between the main collection aesthetic of the Fifty Fathoms collection and that of its sub-collection the Bathyscaphe models — that the Fifty Fathoms is a dive watch that you can wear every day, and the Bathyscaphe is an everyday watch that you can wear diving. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty neat way to think about it. Whether you’re facing an adrenaline-laced plummet into a subterranean river, exploring in the pellucid waters of an emerald lagoon or simply (and more likely) dreaming of the ocean while stuck in the city, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition and Flyback Chronograph timepieces have you covered. 

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph © Harald Hois


 

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