Blancpain just released two colorful new versions of the legendary Fifty Fathoms collection. One of these is a vintage-styled Day-Date model in brown and the other a lovely green flyback chronograph. Let’s take a look at the Day-Date first.
This new model, the 5052 1110 63A, is called the “Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition.” It’s a bit on the nose, but as the photo demonstrates, the dial color does a great job of matching the hues of the Nevada desert, from which it is inspired.
Now you might, as I did, find using a desert as inspiration for a dive watch to be a bit counterproductive, but apparently there’s a good reason for this. That’s because a famous underwater photographer, Ernest Brooks II, took amazing shots of a geothermal pool and limestone cavern, known as Devils Hole, located in this desert, which appears to be quite enigmatic, in addition to beautiful.
Stylistically, the watch is clearly a throwback to the ’70s, so it should appeal to fans of vintage styling, a direction that Blancpain has been exploring a lot lately with models like the Air Command and Barakuda. The biggest differentiator, of course, is right there in the name, they day-date complication, a rare addition in a dive watch. We’ve seen this complication before in the 5052 1110 63A, which, while similar, has a darker brown dial and strap, and personally, I much prefer this new Desert model. One might argue that a day (and even a date) is superfluous on a dive watch, and I’m inclined to agree, but stylistically it does contribute to its distinctive ’70s appearance. Size wise it remains thoroughly contemporary, at 43mm. The price, on the other hand, does increase relative to an “ordinary” Bathyscaphe in steel and on strap with just a date, at $12,700, but there is no increase in cost relative to the non-Desert day-date that’s already in the collection.
The second watch is a very green Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph. It too has vintage design elements, although it’s a bit more subtle about it, green hue aside.
The 43.6mm watch uses a dark green ceramic bezel around a lovely sunburst dial. The case, too, is made from ceramic, so this should be an extremely scratch resistant watch. Perhaps my favorite thing about this watch, however, is that Blancpain took the time to color match the date ring.
Unsurprisingly, the watch remains moderately large (even by today’s standards) at 43.6mm and the price for an all-ceramic Blancpain flyback chronograph is also what you’d expect at $17,200.
For that, however, you get treated to the absolutely gorgeous F385 automatic, a beautifully finished and thoroughly modern movement. It comes with not only all of the cool things you expect in a high-end chronograph, like a free sprung balance, silicon hairspring, vertical clutch, and column wheel, but the extremely rare property of beating at 36,000 BPH. The F385 is, without a doubt, one of the most sophisticated chronographs on the market.
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