Some major watch brands appear to actually think highly of ceramic as a case substance and Blancpain is one of them. Previously a closely guarded field of experience of Rado and Chanel, ceramic technologies and production techniques have only recently evolved to a point where more manufacturers are entertaining the idea of a ZrO2 case, because a whole lot more control of things like colors and hardness is getting possible. My perception is that achieving color uniformity and keeping adequate hardness at precisely the same time has been the major challenge of incorporating pigments into ceramic. That’s the reason why we mostly see black and white (and grey) ceramic (like, say, this black ceramic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe). The problem is that when the mixture does not clean up entirely and evenly after the heat treatment process, it will have discolorations and marks inside which will ruin the look — and the piece itself, since these imperfections can’t be removed.It is correct that we have been seeing more and more colours in ceramic bezels from Rolex, TAG Heuer and a few others, and therefore it was possibly only a matter of time before coloured ceramic instances came together. And it kind of additionally suggests a potential future of all types of colors for ceramic watch cases – Speedmaster Muave Side of the Moon, anybody? That may be kind of cool.
The past few years have seen the launch and steady expansion of Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe line up. In 2013, we saw the original three-hander, 2014 gave us the Bathyscaphe Chronograph, and then the beautifully blue Bathyscaphe Ocean Commitment Chronograph came in 2015. This year, Blancpain watch ranking Replica completed the family portrait with the latest iteration of the Bathyscaphe, which quite successfully puts the look and construction of the Ocean Commitment Chronograph into the original three-hand design.
In broad strokes, if you know the standard Bathyscaphe three-hander, you are well on your way to understanding this new version. While the basic form remains thankfully unchanged, this new model is more than just a blue dial and bezel as its 43.6 mm case is made of grey ceramic. This is not the first time that Blancpain watches twitter Replica has used ceramic for the case of a Bathyscaphe three-hander and, much like the preceding Ocean Commitment Chronograph, this version has a lovely brushed blue dial and ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal hour markers.
Until you have it in your hands, you could be excused for thinking that the case was metal, as it carries the warmth of titanium and a beautifully brushed finish. Upon lifting this diver from the table the ceramic feels solid, smooth like glass, and lighter than you might expect. The official reference is 5000-0240-NAOA (with the nato strap) but I wish they had called it something, anything, aside from just Bathyscaphe. I suppose we’ll all just know it as the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe.
Still 13.8mm thick and water resistant to 300m, the blue dial and bezel make for a considerably different vibe than its siblings, perhaps not quite as austere. Less tactical than the monochromatic alternatives, the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (aside from its ceramic case and 43.6mm sizing) has the demeanor of a watch designed in the early days of diving. Its crystal-clear legibility and razor-sharp detailing is juxtaposed by the warm and inviting blue tones of the dial and bezel. If the Bathyscaphe is an attempt to carry vintage Blancpain design elements into a modern luxury diver, I think this blue version is the most successful iteration we’ve seen to date.
Visible via a display case back, the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe uses Blancpain’s calibre 1315 – the same movement used by all of the three-hand Bathyscaphes. This 4Hz in-house automatic movement uses three mainspring barrels to offer 120 hours of power reserve for its display of the time and date. Designed to be tool-ready, the 1315 is function over form and has been used in several of Blancpain’s dive watches in the past.
I remember loving the original crop of Bathyscaphes back in 2013, and this blue model is an even stronger fit for my tastes while also being an incredibly unrealistic request of my wallet. The ceramic case ensures top billing in the three-hand Bathyscaphe pecking order, and indeed the blue Blancpain watches 1735 Replica Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe claims a tidy $12,800 USD, mounted to either the pictured high-quality blue NATO or Blancpain’s frankly excellent sail canvas two-piece strap. Following the example set by the Ocean Commitment Chronograph, the blue Bathyscaphe offers a similar appeal in a more simplified layout that is certainly eye-catching and should look even better underwater. If you happen to take one diving, I’d love to see the photos. blancpain.com