In 2022, Blancpain is focusing on introducing new variants of its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe watches, playing with styles by means of red gold and grade 23 titanium. These two materials now adorn the Flyback Chronograph model, a staple of the Bathyscaphe line for nearly a decade.
Following the 1953 launch of the Fifty Fathoms, the first modern diver’s watch, Blancpain developed numerous variations of this vital timekeeping tool for divers. The Bathyscaphe watch created in 1956 is undoubtedly one of the finest examples. Smaller than the Fifty Fathoms and featuring calendar indications, this timepiece quickly won over watch enthusiasts who were convinced that a sporty watch could be worn in all circumstances.
The flyback chronograph joined the contemporary Bathyscaphe line in 2014 and was the first complication to equip Blancpain’s “urban diver” model. The Manufacture is now returning its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph model to centre stage, housing one of the watch industry’s most renowned chronograph movements. Blancpain Calibre F385 is one of the latest in a line of Blancpain chronographs that have often been world firsts over the past 30 years.
This in-house movement draws on Blancpain’s refined vertical clutch design that ensures smooth engagement of the chronograph mechanism, eliminating the problem of the chronograph seconds hand making sudden, abrupt jumps. Control of starting, stopping and resetting the chronograph is done via a column wheel, enabling smooth and comfortable operation of the pushers. The F385 beats at a frequency of 5 Hz, which is a considerable advantage in terms of timekeeping accuracy compared to lower frequencies. It has an inertia-regulated balance wheel with a silicon balance spring, whose geometry and lightness help ensure excellent chronometric performance.
The two Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph models presented by Blancpain each bring a new dimension to the line’s emblematic aesthetic codes. The red gold watch with its blue dial stands out for its bold presence on the wrist, while the grade 23 titanium iteration opts for discretion with its anthracite dial. Recently introduced into its collections by Blancpain, grade 23 titanium – also known as grade 5 ELI (extra low interstitials) – is the purest type of titanium available. It notably contains less oxygen than the “standard” titanium used in watchmaking. This reduction in the amount of oxygen improves the metal’s resistance to breakage and corrosion. In addition to its unfailing strength, grade 23 titanium is also anti-allergenic and its biocompatibility has made it a favourite in the medical field.
Whether the model is in red gold or titanium, the dial is graced with a sunburst pattern throughout and a snailed motif on the chronograph counters, designed to create a sense of depth and contrast. The new Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph models are naturally framed by a unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic inlay, a signature of the contemporary Bathyscaphe line. The blue inlay on the red gold version sports a glossy finish and a Ceragold™ time scale, while the anthracite inlay of the titanium watch is satin-brushed and features a Liquidmetal™ scale.
The cases of both watches measure 43 mm in diameter and are water resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 m). They are paired with a NATO or sailcloth strap matching the dial colour. The sail canvas strap of the red gold version comes with a choice of pin buckle or folding clasp, while the grade 23 titanium model is also available with a titanium bracelet.