What would Baselworld be without high end divers? Luckily, thanks to brands like Blancpain, we don't have to find out. For 2013, Blancpain has introduced the Bathyscaphe, a new model for their legendary and long-standing Fifty Fathoms range. The Fifty Fathoms was originally introduced in 1953 and the new Bathyscaphe looks to capture some of that history while still representing the best technology that Blancpain has to offer.
This 43 x 13.4 mm diver can be had in steel with a grey dial or in hardened titanium with a black dial and both come with your choice of a premium three-ring NATO or a two-piece sailcloth strap. The style is clearly vintage-inspired but the features list is entirely more modern. Sporting sapphire crystals front and back, a ceramic bezel with a Liquidmetal scale (courtesy of sister-brand Omega) and Blancpain's Cal 1315 automatic movement, the Bathyscaphe is clearly not messing around.
The Cal 1315 is a high-end workhorse movement offering 120 hours of power reserve, 35 jewels, a date display at 4:30, and a non-magnetic silicon balance spring. Comprised of 227 components, this movement is a natural choice for the Bathyscaphe as it is also used for other three-hander models within the Fifty Fathoms range. The inclusion of a non-magnetic balance spring is a fantastic decision by Blancpain as it will offer some protection for the timekeeping of the watch from being effected by any of the many magnetic devices and implementations which fill our day-to-day lives.
I think the Bathyscaphe looks amazing, the sizing is excellent and both the steel and titanium versions are comfortable on wrist. If you have to choose between the NATO and the sailcloth straps, I prefer the sailcloth, as I found it both more comfortable and a bit lower profile. The other great aspect of the Bathyscaphe is just how distinctive it looks compared to the rest of its Fifty Fathoms siblings. Blancpain has selected a design that will attract not only new buyers but also current Fifty Fathoms owners, as the piece features a look that is quite unique to the range.
Finishing is excellent with fine brushing and detailing on the case and dial. The dial uses an especially small inlaid marker design which, thanks to their white metal borders, almost look like diamonds as light reflects from the small surfaces. Aside from the red-tipped seconds hand, the Bathyscaph is a fairly monochromatic piece, which I think helps to accentuate the way in which light interacts with the ceramic and liquid metal bezel and the dial markers. Like the vintage tool divers on which it is based, the Bathyscaphe is a fairly simple but detail-driven design.
With pricing ranging from $10, 000 (steel) to $12, 000 USD (titanium), we would expect the Blancpain Bathyscaphe to be a very successful model thanks to its competitive pricing, advanced technologies like the silicon balance spring and Liquidmetal scale, and its distinctive legacy-inspired aesthetic. Yet another very cool piece from Baselworld 2013.