The first dive watch introduced to the world was not a Rolex, not a Submariner, nor was it an Omega; it was in fact a Blancpain. In 1953, Blancpain debuted its innovative Fifty fathoms, and with it forever holds the crown as the brand responsible for dive watches, and their hold on the watch market.
Ever since that time, the Fifty fathoms line has been synonymous with ocean faring and those willing to plunge into the deep. The modern interpretation of the line, the critically acclaimed Bathyscaphe range, is a true high horology alternative to the Rolex Submariner that has long since surpassed the fifty fathoms in mainstream popularity.
Given the Bathyscaphe’s link to the seas, it has come as quite a shock to see the latest release from Blancpain focusing the Bathyscaphe on desert sands. This 500-piece limited-edition model inspired by a Blancpain diver’s watch from the 1970s is characterised by a gradient-coloured sandy beige dial featuring a sunburst pattern. This nuance evokes the desert, and more specifically Death Valley in the United States, where Ernest H. Brooks II, pioneer of underwater photography and contributor to the Edition Fifty Fathoms project, made a spectacular dive in 1962.
This new desert toned edition of the Bathyscaphe takes aim at those adventurous enthusiasts, looking to indulge in the break from the traditional Bathyscaphe aesthetic. The dial of the Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition adopts this style, which it combines for the first time with a subtle gradation of sandy beige, a hue that is new to the collection. Its shades and sunburst finish endow it with remarkable clarity, while its boldly sized rectangular hour-markers guarantee instant legibility. A chapter ring punctuated with Arabic numerals marks the five-minute intervals while evoking the spirt of the original Bathyscaphe design of the 1970s.
Hands of the new piece are coated with Super-LumiNova and feature the same baton-shaped design as earlier Bathyscaphe models. The dial of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition is enhanced by a unidirectional rotating bezel with a brown ceramic insert and Liquid metal hour-markers. Although this new model has a vintage look, its mechanism is resolutely modern. Housed in a 43mm satin-brushed steel case and water-resistant to approximately 300 metres.
Blancpain includes the manufacture-made 1315DD movement offering the performance attributes essential to a diver’s watch. It also features a five-day power reserve, which is particularly useful in daily life. Another major asset is its balance fitted with a silicon balance-spring, a guarantee of accuracy and resistance to magnetic fields. The sapphire crystal case back of the watch allows the owner to admire the finishes of this truly high horology movement, including its gold oscillating weight.
This adventurous 500 piece limited edition will carry an RRP of $17,600AUD.