Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

My absolute favorite watches are pretty-looking sport models. There is a significant volume of these watches around, but really attractive ones are hard to find. Probably the biggest challenge in making a beautiful-looking sports watch is to first make sure it is a great utility watch, and only then ensuring it is visually attractive. Doing both is no simple task, but success can yield the reward of a watch being a true classic. That's probably a good way of introducing this hands-on look at the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II timepieces that just look so darn good.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I am not shy about sharing my feeling that Blancpain produces some of the most beautiful high-end diving watches available these days with their Fifty Fathoms family. The collection is populated with a few distinct models which generally fall into the "classic" Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 5015 watch family (review here), and the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. The latter subfamily has two lines right now which are the three-hand Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, and the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback, which this limited-edition watch is a version of.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I first went hands-on with the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback here back in 2014 when it was released. The first limited edition model was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment, and earlier in 2016 Blancpain introduced a followup limited edition with this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II (debuted on aBlogtoWatch here). In a sense, it is probably a bit irritating to people who purchased the first limited-edition Ocean Commitment model that there is now a second one. On the other hand, this followup is just as beautiful as the first, but also distinct in its appeal. So, if anything, the fact that there is a sequel to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment is a sign of the collection's popularity.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

There are a lot of hidden elements inside of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph which make it a truly compelling timepiece, but it does take some time to learn about them all. This is important to do in order to understand the value proposition because these watches are anything but cheap in price. With that said, you do get a fair amount for your money if you are interested in tool watch looks with a modern movement and excellent fit and finishing.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I also want to say right now that I prefer the chronograph version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe over the three-hand model. Of course, not everyone agrees with me, but that is my personal preference as I find the three-hand model's dial a bit visually bare. On the other hand, I certainly prefer the three-hand model of the original Fifty Fathoms models over their chronograph models.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A good reason for this aside from aesthetics is the movement inside of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph which is the in-house-made Blancpain caliber F385 automatic chronograph. You can view the movement through the rear of the case, and it isn't difficult to tell that it is lovely in both design and decoration. Modern lines and shapes decorate this modern mechanical movement which also happens to boast a 5Hz (36,000bph) operating frequency. That is the same as the celebrated Zenith El Primero, and 1Hz faster than most standard 4Hz chronograph watches.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Given the faster operating speed of the movement you get two areas of benefits. First is a bit less useful to most people, and that is the ability to be a bit more precise when using the chronograph. Second is the fact that a higher operating frequency of the balance wheel means that rate result errors are averaged out more. That translates into more accuracy over time - a good thing. It is true that 5Hz movements of any kind are rare, and in dedicated dive watches this is pretty much the only one that I can think of.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The caliber F385 has a power reserve of 50 hours, and the chronograph has a flyback complication as well. It is produced from 322 parts, and apparently is specially secured to the case of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph for shock protection purposes. Last, the movement features a silicon hair spring, which adds the benefits of more durability and accuracy over time.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

That all sounds great but, unfortunately, I couldn't have the pleasure of testing the watch out first-hand as the model I got to play with was a "blocked" (the movement is stopped from working in order to maintain the position of the hands) prototype. Thus, I still yearn to wear a functioning one of these and fully experience the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II out and about.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The first Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment watch has a gray ceramic case with a blue bezel and dial. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II sort of reverses that color palette with a blue ceramic case and bezel, and then a metallic gray dial. Both the first and second Ocean Commitment models are pretty awesome, but ceramic watch lovers will clearly flock to this sequel limited edition model.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

This is the first blue ceramic watch case I've worn (from a luxury brand), and it looks fantastic - especially next to the glossy gray tones. In some lights, the blue ceramic just looks like a black that has something going on with it, but in full light the rich blue tone of the case material comes out. Blancpain couldn't really go any lighter with the blue as it would have made the color too unstable when it comes to production purposes.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain and Omega (both part of the Swatch Group and who share technologies) have some of the best ceramic cases around. The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon (review here) and the ceramic versions of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph have something in common. That is having some of the very best-looking ceramic cases on the market. What makes them so good is the sharpness of the angles on the case, as well as the quality of the contrast polishing. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph case is among the finest available in a modern high-end dive watch, and that goes for the ceramic version as well. Angles are just wonderfully sharp, and detailing throughout is fantastic. It is hard to experience quality like this and go back to lesser watches.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Despite being a chronograph and having a ceramic case, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II is still water resistant to 300 meters. The case feels perfectly sized at 43.60mm wide. It is also 15.25mm thick and has a lightly domed AR-coated sapphire crystal.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Around the dial is a smoothly operating 120-click, uni-directional rotating diver-style bezel. The outer bezel is titanium, with Liquidmetal (another technology shared with Omega) and blue ceramic as the rest of the bezel. The crown and pushers are also in blue ceramic - rendered equally nicely.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Given that this is a sport watch, the most important element other than durability is legibility. Here, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe certainly does not disappoint, with large blocky hands totally covered in luminant, and easy-to-read, highly contrasting hour markers. I also like that the subdials on the face are visually minimized. In fact, the most prominent elements on the dial are the various hands as well as the major markers. This allows the eyes to focus on the most important elements, while other things (like the chronograph subdials) are easy to read, but also not "in your face" when you don't want to look at them.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Perhaps the only controversial element of the dial is the date window. It does help sales of watches to have a date complication. It is also good that Blancpain didn't design the dial with the date window cutting off anything else. However, the date window is tilted so it is a bit odd to read with its position between 4 and 5 o'clock. Also, the date disc itself is black, which is a bit darker than the "meteor grey" dial color of the watch itself. It's really not a big deal, but it will be the one thing people might complain about in the otherwise beautiful dial design. There are other splendid details that you'll notice in the dial by just looking at it. Start by examining the clever design of the subdials, as well as the mostly polished metal-framed hour markers.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The brand offers two versions of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II on either a gray textile/canvas strap, or this high-end NATO-style strap with gray titanium hardware. It's a darn nice NATO-style strap, but it does come in a 23mm wide size, and it also feels a bit odd on such a high-end watch (even if it looks cool).

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The best way to think about the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph is as an extremely well-detailed tool watch. It looks nice, performs well, and has a very handsome classic look to it. Most important, of course, is that it is comfortable to wear and easy to read. Those elements together actually put it in a league with not that many other watches, and help solidify Blancpain as one of the premier producers of high-end "luxury" sport watches. The reference 5200-0310-G52 A (canvas strap) or reference 5200-0310-NAG A (NATO-style strap) Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II watch is priced at $20,100. blancpain.com

What do you think?
  • Interesting (3)
  • I love it! (3)
  • Thumbs up (2)
  • I want it! (1)
  • Classy (0)
  • ??????

    On the one hand – I like it: cool, hi-tech dive watch, distinctive and bright. The rotor finish is great IMO. On the other hand – look how silly it sits on the wrist: the lugs literally float centimeter above the wrist, you can put a finger between the lugs and your wrist. And add here brittle ceramic case (for a sport watch!), ugly date position and 20k price tag… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/44ea6448f9ae359d6599aa05d7076851e15370921429f89cc053048c843353df.jpg

    • Without the NATO strap, it would sit “down”. They have an excellent sailcloth strap that I really like on the Bathyscaphe – looks great and is super comfortable.

      I’m not sure about the blue case. The gray ceramic is more to my taste. I liked the blue dial of the previous Ocean Commitment. And while I’m not opposed to the chronograph, the 3 hander is sleek and thinner. It’s not that I like every design decision on the Bathyscaphes, but overall these such classy divers. And you can even operate the chronograph underwater (not that you need to, but that accidentally pressing the chrono pushers does not destroy the watch under water).

      • ??????

        I would also prefer their dark blue 3-hand model on sailcloth strap. Really, don’t see any logic behind diver chronographs… To read the elapsed time as the parrotfish swims around you? And what I don’t like about both 3-hander and chrono is the “fallen” date window

        • daveyah2002

          I guess it’s just giving you dual functionality so you don’t need to change. I think the fewer possible entry points on any watch used for diving the better.
          The colour reminds me of that Prussian Blue crap we used to paint steel with when hacking and filing.

          • ??????

            Agree. Considering that any dive watch has to get all the entry points tested each time opened… In case of chrono you’ll need to change gaskets for each pusher as well.

      • wallydog2

        I don’t need a dive watch. I haven’t put a toe in salt water since I saw Robert Shaw being swallowed by Jaws in 1975. (Well, actually I did once, in the Dominican Republic, when my good wife pointed out that there was a European lady with an chestnut brown all-over tan in the water. I returned to the dry sandy beach deeply disappointed, seeing as I was from Eastern Ontario and needed a margarita – without the salt, ’cause salt’s bad for your circulatory system.(The bronzed European lady was not wearing a dive watch – or much else.)

        • People don’t need dive watches. Heck they rarely need watches at all. Its “want” not need, ha ha. Just like your bronzed lady in the water – “want”.

  • Bill W

    The case looks like it’s made of crayons. And a “blocked” prototype? C’mon, Blancpain!
    And where is the automotive connection? I couldn’t find it. The chronograph?

  • Roman

    My problem with Blancpain is the name. I can’t bear to see “WhitepaiN” on the dial.

  • daveyah2002

    Being nitpicky.
    Fifty Fathoms is 300 feet
    One hundred and sixty-two point five fathoms wouldn’t fit as nicely on the dial.

  • Svetoslav Popov

    I don’t like ceramic as a watch material. It looks like blue plastic.

    • It can make a nice bezel.

      • Svetoslav Popov

        Well, maybe it’s just the color.

  • Pœrtöle DuFèr

    I don’t understand the love the Fifty Fathoms gets at all, it just looks deeply dull to me, and this latest plasticy-looking limited edition doesn’t sway me.

  • wallydog2

    Oh boy! Another dive watch! And $20,000, too!

  • Aditya

    I’m a big fan of the BP 50 Fathoms, without a date window. Can’t stand the date. None of the Bathyscapes do it for me however. Considering I can have a Rolex Daytona and a Grand Seiko Spring Drive diver with money left over for a high end beater, it would make absolutely zero sense to me to buy this watch. This kind of pricing comes from hitting the peace pipe once too often. It really has to stop!

  • The original Bathyscaphe Flyback is a real grail for me, but that blue…? No. No. Definitely no.

  • SuperStrapper

    Very nice, and looks excellent in blue. I’ve never been a big Bathyscape or FF fan and agree that the chronograph brings it out of the tedium that I get from the 3 hander. I don’t get the plastic comments, to me it seems plain even in the pictures that the case is something special. Although I don’t know who in their right mind wild wear it on that nate style strap. Horrid. If there was one thing I’d change it would be the Re tipped seconds hand, I’d have done it in blue. No need for that contrast/clash.

    What a boner killer it would be to have the movement blocked.

    • And even worse, the NATO strap has tall and sharp edged metal keepers (angular and they don’t lay flat). I would never wear the Blancpain NATO on this watch – especially when the sailcloth strap is so nice.

  • BNABOD

    blue case no, hell no. blue bezel sure why not but that date window is a shame really and 20 Gs with a canvas strap really?

  • Jerry Davis

    I like the watch overall but I think for a true dive watch you would want the luminous
    markers to be at least 50% larger. Realizing almost no one will ever dive wearing this
    watch, I still think it would look better with larger markers.

  • wallydog2

    And for $20,100 + whatever exchange rate + whatever taxes…? That’s more than what I paid for my ’89 Corolla…for a watch that you can wear at the swim-up bar! This sort of pricing gives hedonism, conspicuous consumption, capitalism and consumerism a bad name.
    Am I jealous of The Rich & Foolish? Of course not; jealousy is a sin.

    • DanW94

      Wouldn’t this overpriced watch give hedonism. conspicuous consumption, capitalism and consumerism a proper name?? I’d think a sensible, well made 50.00 Timex quartz would give those things a bad name : )

    • Svetoslav Popov

      This watch is not for anyone driving a Corolla.

      • ??????

        You insult the oligarchs who love their Corollas 🙂

        • Svetoslav Popov

          Maybe on purpose 🙂

  • Yojimbo

    no, just no. nothing in this watch warrants this price

    also the date display is suxor

    • Svetoslav Popov

      Nothing should warrant the price in watches and anything else for that matter.

  • TrevorXM

    I had the steel one (much better than this) on my desktop for a week and eventually the tiny markers began to irritate me. Now I can’t look at this watch without thinking that they look too prissy. As was commented on by Jerry Davis below, the markers need to be just a little bit bigger for this design to work (not much). Unless they fix that I won’t be ordering one — when I win the lottery. Also, enough with the horrible ugly NATO thing. It ruins every watch and really screws up this one. Especially when there is such a cool sailcloth strap available with a beautiful deployant.

  • Grumpy Cat

    Having the word Limited on the sub-dial makes me want to own one.
    Change of subject. When is the next sponsored post? I am looking forward to seeing one on cars.

  • This is among the more edible looking watches out there. I love it.

  • Shinytoys

    What a beautiful dive piece. Frankly, it always have been. With all the diving we do, which is considerable, I still couldn’t get her wet for 20K. I would clearly lose sleep. Nice piece for sure. Cheers !!

  • mtnsicl

    For 20 big ones, the subdial hands at 3 and 9 look cheap.

    • Beefalope

      This is true.

  • Omegaboy

    Date window locations don’t bother me much. This one, though, reminds me too much of chronos that come in both quartz and auto versions, the quartz having the date window at 4:30 instead of 3:00.

    The green ceramic Rolex Sub is called ‘The Hulk’. This BP would be . . . ‘The Bruise’?

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I know its an iconic watch and its made of some sort of unobtanium. I don’t see much decoration to the movement. This is why the swiss are struggling, I think half its RRP is more realistic.

  • thecouchguy

    Grail watch for sure.

  • disqus_aU7GCnDNMm

    Please stay away from ceramic!

    I had the 3 hand version and it chips if you look at it the wrong way.

    And I am extremely careful with my watches.

    Blancpain is re-casing the watch at their expense.
    But I would never buy a ceramic watch again.

    • ??????

      At least Blancpain did it at their cost (maybe 1st time only?..). Because Panerai charged one guy $6000 for the case of ceramic Radiomir.

  • Aaron Wood

    I am curious why the rotor says “gold 18k”. I do not see anything on that watch that looks gold and I can’t imagine they built the movement out of it.

    • Bulgarian

      It also says “proto N2” this one is not the real deal Its a prototype , real one will feature 18k gold rotor I guess (it’s a must for 20G watch I think)

  • Shawn Lavigne

    nice watch!

  • BRIAN

    $20k for this and the watch industry doesn’t know why they are having problems? The concept might have been well thought out but the execution looks cheap. On a Nato strap? maybe offer free lifetime replacements at that price. Heck at that coin the case should also carry a lifetime warranty.