Some significant watch brands appear to really think highly of ceramic because a case material and Blancpain is one of them. Formerly a closely guarded field of expertise of Rado and Chanel, ceramic technologies and production techniques have only recently evolved to a point where more brands are entertaining the idea of a ZrO2 instance, since a lot more control of things like colors and hardness is becoming possible. My understanding is that achieving color uniformity and keeping adequate hardness at precisely the same time has been the major challenge of adding pigments into ceramic. The problem is that when the mixture does not clean up entirely and evenly after the heat treatment process, it is going to have discolorations and marks inside that will ruin the appearance — and the piece itself, because these imperfections can’t be removed.It is true that we have been seeing more and more colours in ceramic bezels from Rolex, TAG Heuer and a couple of others, and therefore it was possibly only a matter of time before colored ceramic cases came together. That might be kind of cool.
In a reinterpretation of their famous diving line, we see the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in gray plasma ceramic for Baselworld 2016. Blancpain has created various iterations of this iconic watch in the past, and this vintage-inspired piece is another hit you’ll likely admire.
The ceramic dial is a gorgeous, deep blue that references the very depths of the ocean. The hour markers are LiquidmetalÂ, and the thick, illuminated hands ensure legibility in the deepest of dives, especially with the lume on the unidirectional rotating bezel. You will find a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock and the sapphire crystal case back allows a view of the movement. Blancpain first used a grey plasma ceramic case with the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback Ocean Commitment in 2014, and here it is again in stunning form. The production of this case adds a metallic sheen to the color palette and produces an elegant yet utilitarian experience.
As any dive watch worth its salt should be, this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is meant to be taken underwater and is rated for 300m of water resistance. Behind the dial, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is powered by Blancpain’s powerful in-house 1315 movement. The 1315 contains a three-series mainspring that offers a remarkable five-day power reserve (roughly 120 hours). This 35-jeweled automatic movement is renowned for its robustness and durability, and it is incredibly convenient to have an automatic that you can forget about and pick up a few days later without having to always use a winder. The silicon balance-spring allows a decrease in density and enhanced shock-absorption while affording increased magnetic resistance. For additional precision, the movement is also outfitted with a glucydur balance wheel with gold micrometric screws ensuring a smooth operation.
This Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is a welcome addition to the Fifty Fathoms collection. Blancpain has managed to create a real beauty here, that is topped off with the exquisite grey plasma ceramic case. The dial is lovely on its own, but the metallic complexion of the case really pairs wonderfully with the blue accents. Price on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is $12,800. blancpain.com