Watch & Jewellery
IT COMES WITH AN "OCEAN VIEW": Blancpain x Swatch
Text by Kee |
Blancpain x Swatch
Blancpain x Swatch
Blancpain x Swatch
Blancpain x Swatch
Blancpain x Swatch

Before diver's watch collectors and Blancpain loyalists start freaking out that this collab with Swatch will go on to butcher everything they know and love about the Fifty Fathoms, well, take a chill pill. Having honoured Omega's Moon Watch to perfection – the sales figures and fanfare don't lie – the communication between Swatch and Blancpain has been spot on for this collaborative Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms with the Fifty Fathoms model taking a large chunk of the creative lead. The name suggests another appearance of Swatch's Bioceramic material (a recipe of two-thirds ceramic and one-third biosourced material derived from castor oil) for the 42.3mm case and crown although the link between the two doesn't end here.

Swatch was credited for having breathed new life into the diver's watch market since 1990 when it launched Scuba, an entry-level range of multi-coloured battery-powered diver's watches endowed with a water resistance of up to 200 metres. The Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms is where opposites attract in the best possible way. Like a successful buddy cop scenario, Swatch's fun-first approach brings out the better side of Blancpain's often-deadpan profile. While the MoonSwatch took on the planets in our solar system as a theme, the five Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms celebrate the five oceans that cover 70 per cent of our planet's surface: Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and the Antarctic. In order to explain the expressive colourways rendered for each timepiece – after all, oceans don't generally differ in hues – they have decided to celebrate a colourful marine invertebrate specific to the five oceans, in particular sea slugs (yes, things took a quick left-turn here).

They are digitally printed on the exhibition case back, along with a depiction of the ocean that each watch is inspired by. This collab also features some Easter eggs for Blancpain diehards. Peep at the dial of the Arctic Ocean model in orange and beige. A No Radiations logo makes a cameo, referencing the 1960s when radium in watches became a talking point and the Swiss watchmaker had to place this very same indicator on the dial to explain that its lume was non-toxic. Meanwhile, the Antarctic Ocean model features another reminder of yesteryear's Blancpain. The dial features a moisture sensor, one that made appearances on specific examples since 1954. If water enters the watch's housing, the colour of the sensor changes to alert the owner.

Allaying fears that this Blancpain collab would be battery-powered, they want to remind you that one of the key requests in the creation of the Fifty Fathoms in the first place is to ensure that it runs on a self-winding engine, an element that they want to keep along with the other signature features of the iconic model it is based on. This is where Swatch makes its biggest contribution. It has endowed it with the decade-old history-making mechanical movement called the Sistem51. This Swiss-made self-winding movement, consisting of up to 90 hours of stored energy, is made up of 51 components and is forged entirely via an automated assembly. What is impressive is that all of its parts are centred on a single screw which doesn't even come close to explaining how this design is packed with 16 patents.

And just so you know, the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms is capable of hitting depths of up to 91.4 metres (this specific figure is an actual conversion of 50 fathoms). The big question now is whether this non-limited release would go on to replicate the same pandemonium as the MoonSwatch. Let's just say that Swatch already has the formula to catching lightning in a bottle.


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