The retro-styled Bathyscaphe is quite possibly the finest watch in Blancpain’s stable, a throwback to the early days of their fabled Fifty Fathoms when they started cropping up on civilian wrists. That means less need to adhere to strict diving standards and, more importantly, colours – hence the latest sandy-coloured take on the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date.
The desert and diving might not seem to go hand-in-hand at first. But Blancpain is inextricably linked to one Ernest H. Brooks, a man who undertook a pioneering dive into the limestone caverns underneath Death Valley, the Devil’s Hole. In that context, the sand-coloured fumé dial of the new model not only looks fantastic, but makes sense.
Otherwise the new Bathyscaphe fits nicely into the 70s-inspired look of the collection as a whole. Sure, the 43mm stainless steel case is completely different to the early Bathyscaphes, which had smaller, cushion-shaped cases; but the chunky hour markers, chapter ring with 5-minute intervals and funky hands are all nostalgic throwbacks.
The case is crowned with a Liquidmetal unidirectional rotating bezel and the pre-requisite depth resistance of 300m. It also has a sapphire caseback, which is well worth looking through. Inside is Blancpain’s in-house 1315 DD automatic movement with a phenomenal 120-hour power reserve and the silicon balance Swatch Group’s prestige brands have embraced wholeheartedly. It’s stable, rugged and long-lasting.
Limited to 500 pieces, this is my favourite Blancpain around right now. The bright, unusual colour is a breath of fresh air when blue and green are still considered ‘trends’. Backed by solid watchmaking, here’s hoping Blancpain keep on this train of thought.
Price & Specs:
Model: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert
Ref: 5052 1146 E52A
Case/Dial: 43mm diameter x 14.25mm height, satin-brushed stainless steel
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Blancpain calibre 1315DD, automatic, 35 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 120h (5 days)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date
Price/availability: $12,700 USD, limited to 500 pieces
More details at Blancpain.