Blancpain just released the new X Fathoms dive watch that it has been promoting for a while now. Launched in Dubai, the new super diver contains a mechanical depth gauge as well as a few interesting features. One of those is a retrograde five minute counter on the dial that is always running. This is meant to be used for measuring decompression times. No other diving watch in the world has ever looked like this.
According to Blancpain the mechanical depth gauge (which can measure up to 90 meters of depth) is the most accurate one in the world. Other brands such as IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre have watches with mechanical depth gauges. The gauge has two hands to indicate the current depth and a maximum depth reached during that dive hand. Blancpain says one of the major innovations involves the way the depth meter works. Water enters the hex grill on the back of the watch and interacts with a flexible metal membrane. Sounds interesting. Don't miss that the dial also has the time. In one of the images here you can see a diagram of what all the items on the dial and case are and do. Another image offers you some basic instructions on how the X Fathoms watch is to be used.
The design of the case is very retro futuristic. Much of that is thanks to the neat looking strap. The very large case is 55.65mm wide and done in titanium. It is water resistant to 300 meters and has a sapphire inlaid rotating diver's bezel. Aside from it being rather busy, the dial design is cool, and there is lots of lume. The modern look of the watch feels more like a sports car than a timepiece, but the effort is appreciated.
According to Blancpain the rubber strap is the most complex rubber strap ever. It is supposed to have a number of articulating parts and "wings" that wrap around like the wings on a manta ray. Inside the watch is a Blancpain made caliber 9918B automatic that has 5 days of power reserve and the above functions. It is based on the brand's existing caliber 1315 automatic movement.
Lots of people seeing the X Fathoms watch are left scratching their heads a bit. Is this Blancpain? Is this what the brand does and where it's sports pieces are going? Is there going to be a hand-engraved option? I don't have all the "why" answers but I do know that the piece by itself is interesting. It is meant for very wealthy water enthusiasts who want a serious companion for actual dives, or something fun for the pool/club. No one is arguing that this watch is necessary or even needed. Whether or not it is an actual innovation sits by the side to the fun looks and interesting experience. Why do you think Blancpain launched it at the mall in Dubai? Price is estimated by Blancpain to be 30,000 - 40,000 Swiss Francs when it will be release in mid 2012.