Last year we were thrilled by the introduction of Blancpain’s vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe dive watch so when I heard that they had released a chronograph version I was both excited and a little worried. As Blancpain watch retailers Replica nailed the balance and proportions of the Bathyscaphe three-hander, I was worried that the inclusion of a chronograph feature might throw the original design off balance. UPDATE: As of October 2014 Blancpain has released a new limited edition (of 250 pieces) ref. 5200-0240-52A version of the Bathyscaphe Chronograph as the Blancplain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback with a blue dial and bezel in a ceramic case.
After seeing the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph in person, I’m pleased to report that the chronograph version is gorgeous and retains the flair and presence established by the preceding three-hander. With a brand new manufacture movement and some serious dive-ready credentials, the new Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph is a fitting follow up to one of our favorite sport watches of 2013.
Limited edition of 250 pieces Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback watch in blue with a titanium case. Ref. 5200-0240-52A
Still sporting the same 43.6 mm case width and a chronograph-housing height of 15.25 mm, the Bathyscaphe Flyback feels great on wrist and certainly looks the part for a dive chronograph. Available in steel with a grey dial or full brushed ceramic with a matching black dial, there’s not a bad choice in the entire Bathyscaphe range.
Additionally, the steel version of the chronograph (or now the three hander) can be optioned with a matching steel bracelet. The bracelet is heavy and very nicely made, with a brushed finish and a button-release butterfly clasp.
For our money, the Bathyscaphe Flyback is best on the sailcloth strap or the high-quality nato. For boney wrists like mine, I’d recommend the sailcloth option as it was instantly comfortable and kept the head of the Bathyscaphe in an ideal and flat position.
The dial is beautifully executed with a slight dome and the same jewel-like applied markers we loved on the three-hander. Aside from a red-tipped chrono seconds hand, the Bathyscaphe Flyback is a monochromatic affair, with the steel version sporting a lovely sunburst finish on its grey dial.
The bezel is identical to that of last year’s introduction, with a good grip, unidirectional travel and a ceramic insert with a LiquidMetal scale. The new in-house flyback movement places running seconds at six with a 12 hour register at nine and a 30 minute register at three.
Some major watch brands appear to really think highly of ceramic as a case substance and Blancpain luxury watches Replica is among them. Formerly a closely guarded area of experience of Rado and Chanel, ceramic technologies and production techniques have only recently evolved to a stage where more manufacturers are entertaining the idea of a ZrO2 instance, because a lot more control of things such as colors and hardness is becoming possible. The new-for-2016 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II see instance is all in blue ceramic – something the likes of which we have not seen before.Why we have not noticed it before? My perception is that attaining color uniformity and keeping sufficient hardness at the exact same time has become the major challenge of adding pigments to ceramic. That’s why we mostly see black and white (and gray) ceramic (such as, say, this black porcelain Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe). The challenge is that if the mix doesn’t clean up entirely and evenly following the heat treatment procedure, it is going to have discolorations and marks inside that will ruin the look — and the piece itself, because these imperfections cannot be removed.It is correct that we have been seeing an increasing number of colours in ceramic bezels from Rolex, TAG Heuer and a few others, and therefore it was perhaps only a matter of time before coloured ceramic instances came along.