Hold Your Breath: The Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms is Here

Hold Your Breath: The Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms is Here

Following the immense global success of the MoonSwatch, Swatch has partnered with its sister brand Blancpain to produce a Bioceramic variation of their iconic Fifty Fathoms timepiece. Starting from September 9th, five models of the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms will be released at select stores, each drawing inspiration from the world's oceans that Blancpain is dedicated to preserving. These models include the orange "Arctic Ocean" (ref. SO35N100), yellow "Pacific Ocean" (ref. SO35P100), blue "Atlantic Ocean" (ref. SO35A100), green "Indian Ocean" (ref. SO35I100), and gray "Antarctic Ocean" (ref. SO35S100). Naturally, the collaborative model incorporates all the key elements of the current generation of Fifty Fathoms, including its characteristic case and lugs, a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks for measuring dive duration, and a self-winding movement that is shielded from magnetic fields. In this case, the Sistem51 movement is equipped with a Nivachron antimagnetic balance spring and an impressive power reserve of 90 hours. As a result, the advertising slogan created in 1980, "Since 1735 there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be," remains true to this day.

Hold Your Breath: The Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms is Here - Figure 1
Photo www.watchtime.com

Out of the five options available, three models (referred to as SO35P100, SO35A100, and SO35I100) have a small window on the dial showing the date, positioned between four and five o'clock. The remaining two models without a date display are either equipped with the "no radiations" feature (known as ref. SO35N100) or a moisture indicator (ref. SO35S100), which were both essential components mandated for watches made for the U.S. military.

Swatch has ingeniously revamped our iconic design, giving it a unique twist and their own perspective.

The collaboration between Blancpain and Swatch during the 70th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms holds great significance for Marc Hayek, the President and CEO of Blancpain. He believes that without Swatch, the Swiss watch industry would not have survived and achieved such success. This collection fills him with pride, and he believes it was important for them to work with a brand like Swatch that shares their pioneering spirit. Swatch has skillfully reimagined their iconic model in their own unique way. As a passionate diver himself, Hayek appreciates the attention to detail in this collection and the numerous references to the Fifty Fathoms. He particularly admires that the watch is water-resistant up to a depth of 91 meters, symbolizing exactly 50 fathoms, a unit of depth used in navigation. This detail is a wonderful tribute.

The five Blancpain X Swatch designs are crafted using bioceramics, a unique combination of ceramic and biomaterials derived from castor oil. Although the branding and colors clearly showcase the unique collaboration, collectors will immediately notice the familiar elements from Blancpain's renowned Fifty Fathoms collection, as well as references to Swatch's original Scuba line from 1990. It is worth mentioning that Swatch has never previously introduced an automatic version of its Scuba timepiece.

The Sistem51: A Mechanical Heart

Sistem51 is a self-winding mechanism comprised of a total of 51 components. This unique movement was introduced in 2013 and stands out from traditional automatic watches, which usually feature double the number of parts. The movement is divided into five distinct pre-assembled modules, each consisting of various parts. Notably, the transparent oscillating weight responsible for automatic winding is secured by the movement's sole screw. Unlike most mechanical movements that require manual assembly, Sistem51 is the first and only mechanical movement to undergo fully automated assembly. The advanced escapement employed in this system does not rely on a regulator for precise timekeeping. Instead, the rate or precision is factory-set using laser technology, eliminating the need for manual adjustments often associated with mechanical watches. To ensure optimal functionality and durability, the movement is crafted with German Silver, which possesses anti-rust properties. Additionally, all components are enclosed within a hermetically sealed case, providing protection against moisture, dust, and impurities that could potentially compromise performance. This design guarantees long-term precision, with an accuracy range of -5 to +15 seconds per day. For an immersive experience, the movement is showcased through the display back, allowing the observer to witness the transparent disk-shaped oscillating weight freely rotating on the central screw.

As per Swatch, the Nivachron hairspring, which is composed of titanium, possesses an ability to withstand magnetic fields, fluctuations in temperature, impacts, and the effects of time. Additionally, compared to silicon, this innovative alloy allows for a more cost-effective production of balance springs that can be fabricated through wire-drawing. The Swatch Flymagic, introduced in 2019, was the initial timepiece to feature the Nivachron hairspring.

For The Ocean Love: Embracing Nudibranchs

In the blog section, the author explains that the watches in question have a unique time-telling front and a movement that showcases various illustrations of colorful animals found in the world's oceans, specifically nudibranchs. Each ocean has its designated nudibranch illustration on the movement's rotor. For example, the Arctic Ocean features the nudibranch Dendronotus Frondosus, known for its soft and subtle shapes. Similarly, the Pacific Ocean showcases Chromodoris Kuiteri, representing warm and clear blue waters. Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean is represented by Glaucus Atlanticus, also known as the blue dragon, paying homage to the wild seas with its deep blue colors. The Indian Ocean is depicted by Nembrotha Kubaryana, capturing the mesmerizing colors of corals and vibrant waters. The Antarctic Ocean features Tritoniella Belli, symbolizing the allure and mystery of icy polar waters. Interestingly, all these nudibranchs mentioned actually reside in the respective oceans that have inspired their corresponding watches. Each watch also includes a depiction of the ocean it represents on its back. According to Marc Hayek, these ocean creatures are stunning marvels of nature. Their unique shapes and shimmering colors make observing them in their natural habitat a delightful and calming experience. Blancpain, through its Blancpain Ocean Commitment program, has contributed to over 20 scientific expeditions and aided in doubling the protected marine areas worldwide. This commitment is further emphasized by the utilization of extra-long NATO straps, crafted from recycled fishing nets that have been removed from the ocean.

The timepieces are packaged in a unique container designed for diving and can be acquired starting September 9th at specific Swatch retail outlets globally (refer to the Swatch website for additional details). Please note that each individual is restricted to buying just one watch, similar to the previous launch of the MoonSwatch in 2022. Moreover, the watches will be exhibited for a limited period in certain Blancpain boutiques, although they will not be available for purchase at those locations. The suggested retail price is CHF 375 or $400.

Swatch has raised the standard very high by introducing the MoonSwatch in 2022. The unexpected partnership between Swatch and Omega has been a tremendous global success and proves that the iconic "second watch" from 1983 remains bold and creative. Now, with Blancpain joining forces, the second collaboration feels even more natural and we believe that both the renowned Scuba and Fifty Fathoms watches, along with their respective brands, will greatly benefit from this incredible release. More importantly, the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms will also serve as a representative for mechanical watches in general, although the Sistem51 and the caliber 1315 from Blancpain are undoubtedly very different.

We were lucky to have a quick glimpse of the watches in person (a hands-on experience is coming soon), and it's safe to confirm that they are just as enjoyable to wear as the pictures suggest. The luminosity, bezel and its movement, as well as the strap length and screw bars, all came as pleasant surprises. However, the Bioceramic loops on the NATO strap might pose an intriguing challenge to the material's durability.

In general, we sincerely hope that Swatch can successfully handle the challenging task of meeting both demand and availability. We understand that this won't be an easy feat. Indeed, this product deserves to be accompanied by a purchasing experience that is equally satisfying to owning it. Although there is nothing inherently negative about eagerly waiting in line with fellow collectors, it remains crucial that acquiring a watch remains feasible in the end.

With that being said, we are eager to receive your feedback. What are your insights? Are you considering acquiring one? Are you presently queuing up or contemplating the idea of settling down near a Swatch store? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

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