Blancpain Introduces the Bathyscaphe in TitaniumBy Michael Weare
Part of the Fifty Fathoms collection, the Bathyscaphe model was first introduced in 1956 and inspired by the underwater exploration of Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard. Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe watches were introduced as versatile and elegant land and sea models for both men and women. They were named after the vessel used by Piccard, probably most famous for being one of the first to explore the darkest depths of the world’s oceans, the Mariana Trench.
The Bathyscaphe line has been a mainstay of Blancpain’s diver’s watch collection ever since. Their latest introduction to the series is a Bathyscape rendered in lightweight, durable grade 23 Titanium.
While it may be the first time Titanium has been used in this particular collection, the Le Brassus based brand has plenty of experience in the use of this metal. It was first employed in the early 1960s into a series of MILSPEC II models made specifically for US Navy bomb disposal teams.
Titanium is an excellent choice of metal for a dive watch, for not only is it lightweight, it’s also highly resistant to shock, pressure and corrosion.
This 43mm diver is water resistant to 300 meters. The high grade of Titanium used for the sharply contoured case is made of a combination of titanium, vanadium and aluminum, giving it a high tensile and yield strength while reducing the ductility and weldability. Creating the sharply contoured brushed finish case of the Bathyscaphe is no mean feat, and as a result this high grade of Titanium is not often used in the production of watches.
The new Bathyscaphe features a unidirectional satin-brushed titanium bezel with brushed grey ceramic insert and a Liquidmetal 60-minute scale – a proprietary metal alloy developed by the Swatch group.
The vertically brushed anthracite dial features a date window at 4:30 with the Bathyscaphe’s signature baton-type hands and geometric hour-markers filled with cream Super-LumiNova. The watch comes with a choice of straps each perfectly chosen to match the mood of the metal with a choice of a textile NATO strap, a sailcloth strap or – new to the Bathyscaphe – a grade 23 titanium 3-link bracelet.
Did you know the Fifty Fathoms was the first watch to introduce a 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel to ensure divers could not accidentally alter the timing of their oxygen supply while diving? Fifty Fathoms was also the first dive watch to include dive markings on the bezel, with a double O-ring seal for water-resistance to nearly 100 meters. The Bathyscaphe is also fitted with a powerhouse of a movement, the in-house calibre 1315, with three barrels offering up to 120 hours of power reserve. It comes complete with a snailed gold oscillating weight.
Case: 43mm; Grade 23 satin-finished titanium – unidirectional satin-brushed titanium bezel with brushed grey ceramic insert and Liquidmetal 60-minute scale – sapphire crystal front and caseback – screw-down crown and caseback
Dial: anthracite-colored dial with vertical satin finish
Movement: Calibre 1315, 300m water resistance
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds and Date
Bracelet/strap: 3-link grade 23 satin-finished titanium bracelet with folding clasp; Textile NATO strap; Sailcloth strap
Price: CHF 10,800 on strap; CHF 13,200 on bracelet