Another bioceramic Swatch co-production is on the loose. The Swatch Group has tapped Blancpain as the next one of its brands to get the collaboration treatment following the hugely successful Omega editions.
No dive watch is quite as historically significant as Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms. The model began its development in 1950, the brand tapped a new CEO, Jean-Jacques Fiechter. Fiechter was an avid diver who faced a near-fatal dive off the coast of France during which he lost track of time and ran out of air. This made him realize having a reliable device to track elapsed time was just as essential to a diver as his oxygen tank, so he set out to create the ultimate dive watch for Blancpain. To develop the model, he drew from his own experience and enlisted the help of some of the most elite divers in the world: Navy Frogmen. Just three years later, the brand debuted the first Fifty Fathoms.
Over the years, the Fifty Fathoms has taken many forms, from a military-grade tool used by naval forces all over the world to the modern incarnation of the collection, which officially re-launched and became a permanent fixture of the brand’s catalog in 1997 following Blancpain’s acquisition by Swatch Group in 1993. Perhaps this collaboration has been fated for the past 20 years and was well worth the wait. Today, we get a collection of five new models—one for each of the world’s five oceans—that reinterprets the iconic Fifty Fathoms in an entirely new way.
The all-new Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms offers many of the trademark features of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms you know and love. It has superior water resistance up to 91 meters (300 feet), outstanding legibility, and a secured rotating bezel along with Swatch’s signature SISTEM51 mechanical movement and anti-magnetic protection thanks to its Nivachron hairspring. The reverse of each model is equally beautiful with a digital print of a unique aquatic animal native to each of the world’s oceans digitally printed on the movement’s rotor. Each variation features its unique color palette, extending to the NATO strap made from recycled fishing nets.
Among the five unique versions, two stand out. The first is the Arctic Ocean variation, which features a special symbol on the dial: a red trefoil on a yellow background with a white cross-cutting through it and the words “NO RADIATIONS” below the logo. This is a nod to the highly coveted Fifty Fathoms models from the 1960s whose dials used the “NO RADIATIONS” logo to show that they did not contain radium. In addition, the Antarctic Ocean iteration features a genuine water contact indicator that detects the presence of water. This is a nod to Fifty Fathoms models intended for use by diving clubs and military units. Placed at six o’clock on the dial, the sensor ensures that the watch’s water resistance has not been affected by the previous diver’s use—a change in sensor color would indicate a trace of moisture.
The Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms is priced at $400 and will be available beginning September 9 at selected Swatch stores worldwide. As with the Bioceramic MoonSwatch, purchases will be limited to one watch per person per day.