Put plainly, I can’t dive. I’ve never learned nor had any real inclination to. For me therefore, the only reason to opt for a diving watch is the cool, bulky look of a sports timepiece. At the same time, I’m a fan of a moon phase. Yes, it’s a pointless complication, but it looks the part, even if it’s only normally found in a dress watch. What we have with the Bathyscaphe Complete Calendar is the sweet spot between the poles of watch design.
Purists need not worry; even if this isn’t a watch designed for the French navy, it’s still a professional standard diver. The case has been secured to 30 bar which is standard for the Fifty Fathoms in general. Most though don’t have the extra holes in the case to fit the calendar pushers. Thank God Blancpain found a way though, as setting day, date, month and moon phase any other way is painful.
If ever there was physical proof that nobody really wears a diving watch for diving, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Complete Calendar is it. A diving watch need indicate one thing and one thing alone: the time. When you’re in the dark of the deep, it’s the only thing you need to know; anything else can be a distraction. Well, I assume. You see, I’m pretty much the ideal audience for the non-diving diving watch.
At 43mm said case also sits nicely on the wrist, slightly smaller than many a large diver but perfectly in line with the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe’s whole retro look. It’s weighty though which isn’t too much of a surprise. We might be getting used to titanium and carbon fibre on every sports watch, but this is a big piece of steel.
In the light, the dial’s nice and elegant in slate grey with day and month at 12, a silver and blue moon phase at six and a hand-indicated date around the periphery. In the dark, none of that really matters as the same lume-laden indexes and syringe hands indicate the time alone.
The Blancpain caliber 6654.P movement is a great piece of watchmaking which, like most of Swatch Group’s prestige brands, uses a silicon balance spring. It’s got a decent 72- hour power reserve and, as I mentioned earlier, quick correction for the whole calendar. It’s great. Which is why the reverse of the watch is a little disappointing.
There’s next to no finishing on the movement. That’s fine when you’re at entry level, but this is Blancpain, so you’d expect a little more pomp and ceremony. Granted the Bathyscaphe is their entry level, but when you’re coasting around the £10K mark, I’d want a little bit more than a subtly branded rotor. That goes double when it’s a complicated piece like this. Still, that and the steel case keep the price down, making this seriously accessible as far as Blancpain goes. As far as most watches of this quality go, in fact.
Yes, to some out there this isn’t a true diving watch, but it functions as one. So what if there’s a bit of superfluity of function, but since when is more entirely bad? Either way, I don’t fancy donning a scuba tank – or taking the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Complete Calendar off – any time soon.
Price & Specs:
- Model Name: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Complete Calendar
- Case/Dial: 43mm diameter, stainless steel case, grey dial with sunray guilloche
- Movement: Caliber 6654.P, in-house automatic with silicon balance spring, 321-parts, 28-jewels
- Functions: Day, date, month and moon phase
- Power Reserve: 72h
Water Resistance: 300m
- Price: £10,780
For more information visit Blancpain’s website.