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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The past few years have seen the launch and steady expansion of Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe line up. In 2013, we saw the original three-hander, 2014 gave us the Bathyscaphe Chronograph, and then the beautifully blue Bathyscaphe Ocean Commitment Chronograph came in 2015. This year, Blancpain completed the family portrait with the latest iteration of the Bathyscaphe, which quite successfully puts the look and construction of the Ocean Commitment Chronograph into the original three-hand design.

In broad strokes, if you know the standard Bathyscaphe three-hander, you are well on your way to understanding this new version. While the basic form remains thankfully unchanged, this new model is more than just a blue dial and bezel as its 43.6 mm case is made of grey ceramic. This is not the first time that Blancpain has used ceramic for the case of a Bathyscaphe three-hander and, much like the preceding Ocean Commitment Chronograph, this version has a lovely brushed blue dial and ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal hour markers.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Until you have it in your hands, you could be excused for thinking that the case was metal, as it carries the warmth of titanium and a beautifully brushed finish. Upon lifting this diver from the table the ceramic feels solid, smooth like glass, and lighter than you might expect. The official reference is 5000-0240-NAOA (with the nato strap) but I wish they had called it something, anything, aside from just Bathyscaphe. I suppose we’ll all just know it as the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Still 13.8mm thick and water resistant to 300m, the blue dial and bezel make for a considerably different vibe than its siblings, perhaps not quite as austere. Less tactical than the monochromatic alternatives, the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe (aside from its ceramic case and 43.6mm sizing) has the demeanor of a watch designed in the early days of diving. Its crystal-clear legibility and razor-sharp detailing is juxtaposed by the warm and inviting blue tones of the dial and bezel. If the Bathyscaphe is an attempt to carry vintage Blancpain design elements into a modern luxury diver, I think this blue version is the most successful iteration we’ve seen to date.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Visible via a display case back, the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe uses Blancpain’s calibre 1315 – the same movement used by all of the three-hand Bathyscaphes. This 4Hz in-house automatic movement uses three mainspring barrels to offer 120 hours of power reserve for its display of the time and date. Designed to be tool-ready, the 1315 is function over form and has been used in several of Blancpain’s dive watches in the past.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Blue & Ceramic Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I remember loving the original crop of Bathyscaphes back in 2013, and this blue model is an even stronger fit for my tastes while also being an incredibly unrealistic request of my wallet. The ceramic case ensures top billing in the three-hand Bathyscaphe pecking order, and indeed the blue Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe claims a tidy $12,800 USD, mounted to either the pictured high-quality blue NATO or Blancpain’s frankly excellent sail canvas two-piece strap. Following the example set by the Ocean Commitment Chronograph, the blue Bathyscaphe offers a similar appeal in a more simplified layout that is certainly eye-catching and should look even better underwater. If you happen to take one diving, I’d love to see the photos. blancpain.com

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  • One of favorite watches from BaselWorld. I just love this watch. I prefer the sailcloth strap over the “nato”. And the keepers on the nato stick out a bit and are borderline sharp. On the other hand, the sailcloth strap looks great and is super comfortable. I know this is a tool watch but Blancpain has done nicer work on the rotor when this movement is used in other watches in their line. The original black version is great, but this blue one is just that much cooler. Did I mention that I like this watch a lot? Too bad it’s not more affordable. Guess that just keeps it on my grail list for now.

    • Bossman

      I didn’t quite get it Mark – Do you like the watch?

      • Ah, you can see I’m conflicted (but not much, ha ha).

    • Timestandsstill

      Yeah, what Mark said! Exactly my thoughts.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      Agree about that abominable NATO strap and its’ keepers.
      And, of course, it’s too damned expensive.

    • spiceballs

      Sorry Mark & James, but to my eyes BP screwed up with that date window. Pity, because most else works, especially the case and movement/power reserve.

      • Sure I’d rather see the date at 6 or just eliminate it. But in person, the color difference between the date wheel background and the dial becomes minimal. Plus the date appears smaller on the wrist than on-screen here. So it’s not as big of a blemish (if that’s what you see it as) in person. No, it’s not a perfect watch, but I still like it overall. Cheers.

      • Yaya Meals

        with the 4oclock date window i guess u can’t wear it on ur right hand…

        • The Old Watcheroo

          The only excuse to put the date at 4oclock is if it’s a 3-register chrono!!

  • radikaz

    As owner of the regular 50 Fathoms, i do find some appeal in this Bathyscaphe Blue Ceramic variant. The brushed finishing on ceramic, the blue dial kinda set itself apart from the black dial version. If the list price of this FF come down, i’m sure it will be a popular one.

  • Marius

    I find this to be a very attractive watch due to its beautiful dial and interesting movement. However, I have tow problems with it. Firstly, it`s hugely overpriced for a three-hander. Sure, the ceramic case is nice, but that`s nothing really special anymore. For instance, a brand new Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT in ceramic costs $1,500.

    Secondly, it`s also hugely expensive compared to other Blancpain watches. A 50 Fathoms costs around $14,000, and I would rather get that watch since it`s more attractive and much more iconic. Another Blancpain watch that you could buy for $14,000 (actually less) would be the Bathyscaphe Chronograph flyback, equipped with the fantastic F385 caliber (5Hz, flyback, column wheel/vertical clutch, silicon hairspring, can be activated at under 200m,etc).

    • Timestandsstill

      And didn’t you mean to add, “Thirdly, it’s TOO expensive, period”? 😉

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    How cheaper could they make it if they dropped the date window?

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      Just to clarify: I really like this watch, and actually the date window gives me a good excuse not to spent insane amount of money on it. Keep on the good work Blancpain.

    • Yaya Meals

      perhaps based on their marketing department statistics, removing the date window would cut would-be customers by half

  • laup nomis

    Don’t know what witchery Blancpain have been up to, but like Everyone and their pet hamster I think their divers are beautiful. Clean simple lines, classic form and rich colour. Even the batten hands are simple, but they look shorter than they are because of the thin military points.
    However, I don’t know why, but when I lay out for an expensive watch I like to feel I’ve bought something solid. Its atavistic and unsubtle, but I like a watch that weighs its weight in value. I like the feel of heavy metal watch on my wrist. A feather light ceramic case is to easy to forget, and has no presence.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      Quite agree. Weight in(on) the hand – money on the table.

    • The Old Watcheroo

      An expensive watch needs to have a certain heft to it. The nato strap is just a sad phase for the industry. Leave the nato straps to the customizers!

  • BrJean

    Isn’t the bezel too thin or I just have a Submariner-intoxication?

    • laup nomis

      Nope, the proportions (and clean lines), are the reason why this watch is so distinctive and beautiful. A lot of divers have a wider bezel, and that’s fine. Everyone has their own tastes.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Without exception i HATE the look of these NATO straps we are seeing now. Cheap and nasty. Otherwise a beautiful watch. The date window slightly annoys me. 46.3mm is a nice size. Waaay too expensive for what your getting.

  • SuperStrapper

    Despite it’s storied history, the bathyscape in any form has never really been a big hit with me. I am a fan of ceramics, and they appear to be very nicely done here, but as mentioned in the article you would have to know to know, because they coloured and finished it to look like metal, and the deception is quite convincing (in the photos anyway). The blue is a lovely shade, but could be found elsewhere, and I just don’t really see much that is so special here, aside from the movement. I find it odd that the date wheel was coloured, but not matched to the dial. The actual colour is likely matched, but because the finishing is not, it just looks like a different blue and sticks out no less than a white wheel would.

    This is a fanboi watch through and through, no one else would have any cause to spend this much on it.

  • A_watches

    nice watch, shame about the date window, put a cyclops over it maybe, make it a feature

    • IanE

      How about removing it : there, now it is almost bearable (just slash the price by two thirds!).

  • BNABOD

    Much prefer the chrono versions and always thought there is just way too much empty dial on the bathys. Also 12.5k on a crappy nato gimme a break. 5 day pr is nice, ceramic case while fragile is nice but at least through in a decent strap. Just does not do it for me sorry

  • srs144

    As the kids would say — dat dial doe

    • The Old Watcheroo

      id buy it but —-dat date window doe

  • funNactive

    I like the placement of the date. It may just be the angle & the lighting, but the blue on the date looks a little light. – I’d like to see it a little darker to blend into the dial.

    • The Old Watcheroo

      The only excuse to put the date at 4oclock is if it’s a 3-register chrono!

      • funNactive

        The argument could be made that @ the 4:30 position there are full hour markers clear around the dial. For balance, the date window could have been placed the 6oclock (while making the marker smaller).

        • The Old Watcheroo

          at 4:30 position ur restricted to wearing it only on ur left arm i guess..

  • Nifty watch! Thanks for the review James!

  • otaking241

    Curious about the “black gold” used for the rotor in these watches–what is it and how come no one’s done a watch case in this material?

    Also want to renew my objection to the 4:30 placement of the date window. Not a fan.

    • Marius

      As far as I know, the rotor is made from 18K gold, but it`s coated in a platinum alloy to give it a blacked-out look.

  • Although I really like it, no watch at this price should come only with a nato *OR* a fabric strap. Also, would it kill them to put the date at 6 o’clock? Not enough watches with 6 o’clock dates BTW.

  • So expensive :'(

  • Larry Holmack

    It’s nice enough looking….but I kind of object to not getting a nice bracelet with a watch that’s going to cost me nearly $13 Grand!! And maybe it is designed to be a “tool” watch….but I think most guys aren’t going to go scuba diving with a $13 grand watch. You can get a $500 Deep Blue or some other micro brand watch for that purpose.

    • srs144

      The Deep Blue is for actual scuba diving. This Blancpain is for desk diving and having a killer piece of horology that can be worn anywhere.

  • Eugeny Buslaev

    Beautiful watch. The deep blue color of the dial and bezel I really like, but it requires a obredelennomu style in a suit … And snyaryazhenie diving should not disappoint.

    • JayK

      obre-wha? snyarya-who?

  • Bill W

    What do you think? Too many shades of blue?

  • The ceramic case doesn’t make this one look any less, well, boring. Seeing as how you can pick up the FF Flyback Chrono for about the same price, I’m not sure why one would give this a second look.

    • Timestandsstill

      I have the FF Flyback Chrono pictured (although, alas, in black) and I STILL want the Bathyscaphe. As mentioned almost unanimously however, it’s too expensive.

    • dhaines

      That watch is 18 grand not the same price of 12.8

  • JayK

    i really love this watch and have kept my eye on it for some time. BUT can’t say I’m sold on the concept of ceramic. There’s no information around on stress or testing or shock proof capability of a ceramic watch. What if i spent all that money and dropped it, or hit on something? Am i to expect a hairline fracture? No thanks. 🙁 It’ll have to be conventional stainless steel for me.

  • dhaines

    This will be a 10 grand oops if you need a new case if you drop it. Are they smoking crack making a dive watch ceramic?

  • Yaya Meals

    Blue is the new blacked-out

  • Lawrence

    Need smaller hour markers

    • Hydra

      😀 😀 😀

  • Connor Gmehlin

    No cyclops date, bezel seems too small, not very legible, and only a nato all for the whopping price of 12 grand? No thanks!

  • Yanko

    Plain ordinary watch. 12K? Give me a break! And a long one.

  • iamcalledryan

    Totally in love with this thing…

  • cg

    soggy diving with that sweater and shirt on eh? guessing they wouldn’t let you take out in the wild… given the sales tag string is still attached. nice looker even though too high priced for what it’s supposed to be. would love to read and see reviews from the wild… take a dive trip and test ten different brands do a Motor Trend/Car and Driver comparo type article and video. I’ve shot lots of ’em but not with watches… you can do it! But will watch companies let you?

  • Mike Orme

    Looks like a mid range homage mongrel watch.

  • George Grasser

    The wealthy mans Tissot PRS516.

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