The Blancpain x Swatch collaboration dropped earlier this morning, and it seems our predictions were correct!
If you’ve been following our social media (if not, follow us on @watchadvice ) we recorded a video outside the Swatch store the other day with our four predictions of what the potential collaboration could end up being. It would seem that all four we thought were correct, when this morning Blancpain x Swatch dropped the new pieces available to the public on the 9th.
Called the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection, they are made from bioceramic, a unique and patented blend of two-thirds ceramic and one-third biomaterials derived from castor oil. While the colours chosen for this collaboration clearly indicate that this is not a traditional Blancpain watch, all fans and enthusiasts will recognise at first glance people may recognise many of the features and characteristics of the iconic Fifty Fathoms, as well as nods to the Swatch Scuba collection, hence the name.
So, as we take a closer look at each of them, let’s go through each of our predictions and see how they married up!
Prediction One – Five Oceans = Five Models
Yes, looks like we were correct on this one, as were a lot of people around the world with their renders and predictions. We have five pieces, each representing the five Oceans across the world. What we didn’t know or predicted was each piece would associate itself with small animals called nudibranchs, which is where each model gets it’s colourway from. The five colourways are shown below.
Prediction Two – SISTEM51 Movement
This one was one of those predictions that was floating around the internet, and whilst there was conjecture, we thought that given the great Jean Claude Biver did say Blancpain would never do a quartz watch, even though he is with the LVMH group now, that ethos still resonated within the brand.
It seems that we were correct on this front, with each of the models housing the Swatch SISTEM51 movement, an automatic movement with 90 hour power reserve. The SISTEM51 is an ingenious movement, as it’s only 51 parts, has a massive power reserve as well as being equipped with the Nivachron™antimagnetic balance spring – the same you find in many of the Swatch brand’s pieces, like the Tissot Sideral.
Prediction Three – Based on the Fifty Fathoms
This was one point of contention amongst people in the days leading up to the launch, with many people saying the Fifty Fathoms, and just as many people thinking it was the Bathyscaphe. Even some photoshop renders popped up with the Bathyscaphe used as the model.
However, some of the teasers for the collection did show a silhouette or outline of a crown, that was clearly the Fifty Fathoms, plus this year markes the 70th Anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms. The main features of the Fifty Fathoms are all present in the Swatch version: the typical case, its unidirectional rotating bezel to measure the duration of the dive as well as its self-winding movement protected from magnetic fields.
The dive bezel is also domed and polished, as with the Fifty Fathoms and being water resistant to Fifty Fathoms or 91m, plus the Grade A Super-LumiNova® on the dial and bezel, it’s very much a functional sports watch!
Prediction Four – Higher Price Point Than The MoonSwatch
Given all the above predictions, it stood to reason that the new collaboration would be at a higher price point than the MoonSwatch. It’s simply a more robust versatile piece with better technology. Whilst internally we discussed what the price would be, some people at Watch Advice HQ thought over AUD $1000, others thought maybe a little bit more but not much, we ended up landing somewhere in the $650 or so range. So close!
The new Blancpain x Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection is priced at AUD $630, which isn’t all that bad when you consider what you’re getting with the piece. And at only about $200 more than the MoonSwatch, we think this will still be a massive hit for both Swatch and Blancpain.
Like the MoonSwatch, Swatch and Blancpain have included a range of other details on the pieces, which we think are kind of cool and fun. The first is the five inspirational inscriptions that can be found on the back of the watch: PASSION FOR DIVING – LICENCE TO EXPLORE – OCEAN BREATH – PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE and IMMERSE YOURSELF. A great reminder of Blancpain’s efforts to protect the ocean and something for a little daily inspiration.
The word “Swatch” is inscribed on the outer left side of the case, giving it a little more detail, and the dial is made from metal and printed in several layers of colour for a gradient effect.
As mentioned before, each of the pieces pay tribute to little animals found in each of the oceans called nudibranchs, which are colourful and unique – you may have seen them in documentaries before. Blancpain President and CEO Marc A. Hayek was also won over by these creatures, saying:
“These sea animals are pure marvels of nature. With their unlikely shapes and often shimmering colours,they are an immense pleasure to observe in their element during a dive. They create a serene and calming effect. Through its Blancpain Ocean Commitment programme, Blancpain has to date co-financed more than 20 major scientific expeditions and helped to double the surface area of protected marine areas around the world.”
The Blancpain x Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection look like a fun, colourful collection that we think will see many people lining up outside Swatch stores around the world in hopes of getting one. At AUD $630, it’s not out of reach for collectors and watch lovers, and with five models being available, hopefully everyone who wants one will be able to get one eventually.
We also think this will help to elevate the Blancpain brand and bring awareness to it outside of watch enthusiasts. Like the MoonSwatch re-energised people’s passion for the Speedmaster, and even helped to increase sales across the globe with many Omega boutiques having to waitlist the Speedy Moonwatch, we hope this will have a similar effect on the Fifty Fathoms and Blancpain. However, at a much higher price point than the Speedmaster, time will tell!
Reference: Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection
- Case material: Bioceramic case including crown in five colourways
- Case diameter: 42.3 mm
- Case thickness: 14.4 mm
- Lug-to-lug distance: 48.0 mm
- Movement: SISTEM51 mechanical movement
- Water resistance: 50 fathoms (91 m / 300 ft / 9 bar)
- Glass: biosourced material treated with an anti-scratch coating
- Hands, hour markers, 60 minutes diving scale: Grade A Super-LumiNova®
- Bezel: one-direction rotating bezel in Bioceramic material with anti-scratch coating insert in black
- Strap: NATO strap made from recycled fishing nets removed from the sea