Blancpain has unveiled a new 250 piece limited edition run of its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph, made for Blancpain’s Ocean Commitment program. This is the first time that the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph has an all-blue ceramic case (the last version had a grey ceramic case). The deep, dark blue ceramic case with polished and brushed surfaces…well it makes this already superb watch even better.
Blancpain stepped up its commitment to the underwater world in 2014 with the collaborative gathering of all its partnerships in the realm of ocean exploration and preservation under the label “Blancpain Ocean Commitment”, as well as with the launch of the first series of Ocean Commitment limited edition watches. Having financed ten expeditions and with donations having helped to protect an additional three million square kilometers of marine areas, Blancpain is renewing its support of the program with the launch of a new all-blue limited edition Blancpain Ocean Committment II: for each timepiece sold in this 250-piece limited edition, an amount of 1000 Euro will be donated in support of scientific expeditions and ocean research (i.e. 250,000 Euro).
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph “Ocean Committment II”
Limited edition 250 pieces
43.6mm x 15.25mm blue ceramic case, automatic mechanical Blancpain Caliber F385
The blue ceramic coloring is an achievement in its own right. In addition to adding pigments and binding agents to achieve the desired ceramic color, two techniques were used to ensure a uniform, long-lasting hue throughout the entire case. Blancpain aptly breaks down the production as follows:
The first is a compaction process, where ceramic in powder form is pressed into a mold to obtain its shape. The second technique involves using an injection process to insert ceramic in the form of granules into the mold. This step enables the creation of a blueprint in the final shape. After this, the piece is placed in an oven on a low temperature in order to eliminate the bonding agent. When this is done, the latter is heated at a high temperature – a phase known as sintering – in order to give the ceramic its ultimate hardness. Lastly, the machining and finishing operations take place in order to provide the geometry and final look of each part. The compacting process was used for the case-middle, case-back, bezel and chapter-ring insert. The second technique involving the injection method was adopted for the crown and push-pieces. Suitable for small pieces, the latter is highly precise and complex to master. Up until now, it had not yielded satisfactory, sufficiently stable results for the blue color range. In addition, it had not been previously possible to obtain a perfectly identical color for the two techniques. After several years of trials, Blancpain has now been able to add successfully mastering the injection method for blue to its color range.
In other words this probably won’t be the last blue ceramic piece we see from Blancpain. Which is great. As for the rest of the watch, it shares most everything in common with the current production version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph, including all the expected technical characteristics of a mechanical diving watch such as 300m water resistance, unidirectional bezel (gray inserts and hour-markers in Liquidmetal®), etc. And it has the impressive Blancpain Caliber F385 which Blancpain launched a couple years ago and as I then briefly described:
The Cal. F385 is a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch; it has a silicon balance spring and beats at 36,000 vph. Moreover, this is a water-resistant chronograph — the pushers are constructed to enable use underwater to depths of 300 meters. Exceptional features for a chronograph watch.
Lastly I should mention that all purchasers of a Fifty Fathoms Blancpain Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II receive an exclusive copy of a new book entitled “Hans Hass, Awakening to a New World”, the number of which will correspond to the serial number of the watch.
Did You Know?
Hans Hass is regarded by his peers as well as diving historians as having been the “pioneer of pioneers”. This Austrian biologist, ethnologist, photographer and filmmaker started exploring the seabed at the end of the 1930s, when no other suitable instrument existed. This precursor to scuba diving is a man of many records. Aside from the fact that he was the first to establish research laboratories on expedition ships, he was also the inventor of the Rolleimarin, a professional water-resistant case for the Rolleiflex camera, thus making it possible to bring back photographs from his explorations. These shots often created a sensation with the public that thus also had a chance to discover the underwater world.
Today, this book, produced in collaboration with the Hans Hass Institute, highlights a manuscript that he wrote in the 1960s and which to date has never before been published in full. The publication focuses on the years between the 1940s and 1960s and in particular, retraces the challenges of the setting up of these initial expeditions while offering a fascinating glimpse of the historical context of the period within which Blancpain presented the first modern diving watch: the Fifty Fathoms. Blancpain has had a connection to the Hans Hass Institute since the 2013 launch of the Hans Hass Fifty Fathoms Award in recognition of excellence in two distinct categories: Art and Literature, in recognition of the pioneering work achieved by Professor Hass; and Science and Technology, in recognition of his equally remarkable work in the areas of oceanography and underwater innovation. source: Blaincpain