Editor’s note: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is, in the context of a fit-for-purpose dive watch, the original. Nothing like it had come before, and because of it, watches like Rolex’s ubiquitous Submariner exist – the Fifty Fathoms was the catalyst for what is arguably the most popular sub-genre of timepieces ever created. But, while recognising past achievements and acknowledging history is important, an inability to adapt can ultimately be a monikers downfall. That’s why Blancpain continues to push its fabled namesake forwards into the 21-century with watches like this – Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Black Ceramic. It stays true to the formula of it’s forebears, but is a resolutely modern timepiece, thanks to its large 43mm proportions, monobloc ceramic case construction and a manufacture calibre movement which offers no less that 120-hours of power reserve. Towards the end of 2018, we filmed our impressions of this imperious dive watch, and if you’ve got the time, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe is one of those rare, chameleonic watch designs. A watch that, broadly speaking, owes great fidelity to its primogenitor, but a watch that doesn’t look dated. It’s a neutral watch — something that gives the Bathyscaphe broad appeal and great versatility. In steel, it’s a classic, traditional dive watch, but here, in black ceramic, it’s something much more modern in style. And the execution of the ceramic really is gorgeous. Crisp lines, even brushed finishes, really lovely stuff — the material is finished like metal, but with ceramic’s advantages of light weight and scratch resistance. No matter how you slice it, the case of this watch is cool.
The dial isn’t half bad either, and I quite like how reserved Blancpain has been, keeping the hour markers quite small, when it must have been tempting to scale them up. The result is, to my eye, a more subtle, versatile watch dial, which doesn’t scream ‘diver!’ at the top of its lungs. This is a watch you could definitely wear daily, with a suit (especially in the smaller case size), or for any Cousteau-esque underwater adventures you might have planned.