Baselworld 2013: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Watch Hands-On

Baselworld 2013: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Watch Hands-On


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.

  • Panagiotis

    This is really nice!!! Although I would prefer a 6 o’clock date placement, it is not a deal breaker. Also feels very Germanic and restrained which i like!
    Funny that you have to choose between a fabric strap and a NATO. Would it really hurt their profit margin to include say, both?!
    BTW, I feel that these hands would look great on the Breitling emergency II, instead of those crappy skeletonized ones they used.

  • Ryan B

    I would so wear this watch, Blancpain delivers again. Well done.

  • joeprez

    The hands remind me of the Sinn U1.

    • Panagiotis

      joeprez pretty much carbon copies :) but i think they work well in this context!

  • Kar Wai Law

    Not a FF fan until i saw this watch..I do have a Seiko Fifty Five Fathoms though..

  • Ulysses31

    Blancpain seem to have a knack at producing beautiful dive watches.  This piece deviates from others in a crowded segment with what I would describe as a sleek stylish diver.  The narrow bezel looks great and the dial is simple and legible.  No pretensions here proclaiming the legendary capabilities of the watch (i’m looking at you, Sea God), no superfluous text all over the front and back, no comically unwearable proportions, just the essential elements grouped together skillfully to form a practical and attractive timepiece.

    • MarkCarson

      Ulysses31 You are absolutely right. The relatively narrow dive bezel changes the look compared to most other dive watches. This is a most elegent watch that also happens to be a dive watch. The gray dial (with its beautiful sunray finish) was my favorite. Pair that dial with the gray (or black) sail cloth strap and you have a fantastic looking watch that is also functional. You could wear this watch with a tuxedo one night and then scuba dive with it the next morning. Hard to beat that combination. And it is not one of the thick tuna cans on your wrist either. Thin for what it is and does. One of my favorite watches in this price range at BaselWorld 2013.

  • DG Cayse

    I like this watch. Outstanding legibility, materials and manufacture standards throughout. I would suggest enlarging the small inlaid circular hour markers. They just look too small to my eyes.
    I will agree with the sailcloth band choice over the over-used “NATO” option. Good suggestion in masking them both available at time of purchase. The non-magnetic balance spring speaks well of BPs forward moves in technology while maintaining a classic theme in this piece. BP has a look that is making a strong statement all on its own merit. Well done.

    As an unsolicited marketing suggestion – lower the price by US1000.00 and watch sales rise by 20%. Its currently hitting the top-end of the price range for ‘luxury-sporters’ and this is a crowded field. I think this piece has the attributes and heritage to really make a big presence with a bit more competitive pricing. Lets see what the street says about this.

    • Panagiotis

      DG Cayse admittedly BP is more of a heavyweight in the luxury diver dategory than many others (I’m talking to you Hublot!) so I’m not sure it should compete on price…what they SHOULD do is create a new classic (which this watch looks like it could become) and build on that…I for one would NOT mind this watch with gold hands/indices and a yellow tip on the seconds hands. This watch is a blank canvas of opportunity!

  • Zeitblom

    That’s pretty nice. I must start paying more attention to Blancpain.

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