The Swatch x Blancpain collab is an affordable version of the most iconic dive watch of all time

The Swatch x Blancpain collab is an affordable version of the most iconic dive watch of all time

Out of nowhere, a highly anticipated watch collaboration called the Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms has been released. People are already lining up outside Swatch stores, even though they don't know exactly what they're waiting for. There have been speculations and simulated designs floating around the watch world ever since Swatch and Blancpain hinted at something big. Some experts speculated that it might be a BathySwatch, but we can now confirm that a combination of Swatch Scuba and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watches have been united in a special partnership.

The adventure began a year ago, during a strong desire for MoonSwatch timepieces that very few individuals in the Swatch Group, or anywhere else for that matter, could have anticipated. Marc Hayek, who has been responsible for Blancpain since 2002, recognized a golden opportunity. He engaged in discussions with Nick Hayek Jr, the CEO of Swatch Group, regarding two iconic watches - Swatch's Scuba dive watch and Blancpain's original diving watch, the Fifty Fathoms. As a result, Swatch and Blancpain decided to collaborate in 2023, which makes perfect sense since it is the 70th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms.

On the previous Wednesday, as I stood by the door of the auditorium in Swatch HQ, I glanced through the window. Just beneath me, a lengthy line was gradually forming. Enthusiastic watch enthusiasts were eagerly hoping to get their hands on the latest MoonSwatch "Blue Moon" Moonshine Gold Mission to Neptune. However, little did they realize that on a higher floor, something much more significant was taking place.

Find out all the important details regarding the latest partnership, which is even more significant than the previous MoonSwatch collaboration. Gain exclusive insights from the individuals who played a key role in generating excitement - Nick Hayek Jr, Marc Hayek, and Gregory Kissling, the head of special projects for the CEO of Swatch Group.

Swatch X Blancpain Scuba: Dive Into The Details

The collection consists of five pieces, each named after one of the planet's five oceans. The watches have a diameter of 42.3mm and a thickness of 14.4mm. The distance from the lip to the lug is 48mm and the weight of each watch is 44g. Inside, there is a self-winding SISTEM51 mechanical movement that can hold up to 90 hours of power. The watches are able to resist water up to 91m, as indicated on the dial. They also have a one-directional Bioceramic bezel, which pays tribute to the original Fifty Fathoms bezel and has 120 teeth. The dial and the hands have grade A Super-LumiNova, as well as the 60-minute diving scale. The glass covering the dial is made from a special biosourced material and has been treated to prevent scratches.

To honor the time-honored tradition of dive watches, every item includes a NATO wristband. These bands are crafted from reclaimed fishing nets that have been salvaged from the coastline and the vast depths of the ocean by Blancpain. The clasp and loops on the band are constructed from Bioceramic materials.

The Arctic region appears in a light brown shade accompanied by an orange frame, the Pacific displays a blend of yellow and orange hues with a black frame, the Atlantic shines in a vibrant blue shade complemented by a black frame, the Indian Ocean exhibits a lively green color with a black frame, and the Antarctic showcases a pristine white color with a dark grey frame. Regarding the timepiece faces, Kissling states that Swatch's advanced printing technology allowed them to meticulously print each dot, resulting in a captivating smoky gradient effect on the dials.

The source of inspiration for these colors originated from Marc Hayek's deep love for the seas. Instead of opting for typical oceanic images, such as coral reefs, he decided to utilize nudibranchs that could be found in various oceans. By doing so, he established five distinct color palettes.

Nudibranchs, also known as sea slugs, can be found in all five oceans and there are approximately 5,000 diverse species of them. Hayek Jr. admits that he had never come across these fascinating creatures before, despite their significant contribution to maintaining the marine ecosystem. When Marc first mentioned nudibranchs, Hayek Jr. was so unfamiliar with the term that he had to confirm if he had actually heard "nudist beaches" from his nephew.

In the Arctic, you can find the Dendronotus Frondosus, a nudibranch known for its gentle and delicate qualities. The Chromodoris Kuiteri, on the other hand, is as vibrant as the sun and recollects the warm and crystal-clear blue waters of the Pacific. The intense azure of the Glaucus Atlanticus, also known as the blue dragon due to its poisonous nature, pays homage to the untamed Atlantic oceans. Transporting our thoughts to the Indian Ocean, the Nembrotha Kubaryana evokes images of vibrant coral reefs and lush waters. Lastly, in the Antarctic, the Tritoniella Belli serves as a reminder of the enigma and allure found in its icy polar waters.

Mechanical Marvel: Scuba Fifty Fathoms

In the 1980s, renowned watch expert Jean-Claude Biver confidently proclaimed that Blancpain would always stay true to its mechanical roots and never embrace quartz technology. This commitment has stayed intact with the inclusion of the Swatch Sistem51 in the latest release, boasting a mere 51 components and a single screw. The transition from a quartz movement to a mechanical movement undoubtedly marks the most notable enhancement in the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch compared to its predecessor.

"Hayek Jr. emphasizes that a large portion of the population, including not just the younger generation, lacks awareness about mechanical movements. However, this information can be effectively conveyed through Swatch, as we are a brand that consistently creates cutting-edge and groundbreaking products."

In addition to influencing the colors of the watches and straps, the images of each nudibranch are also displayed on the clear oscillating weight of the movement, using Swatch's advanced digital printing technology. The transparency of the weight allows for a view of the backside of the Sistem51 movement, which is beautifully adorned with depictions of diverse oceans. Kissling points out that this particular Swatch movement is not only fully automated in terms of production, but also in terms of assembly, making it a groundbreaking achievement.

At the center of the movement lies the spiral regulating mechanism, created by Nivarox, a sister company of the Swatch Group. This material is not affected by magnetism, allowing for a magnetic resistance frequency of 3Hz, which is quite an impressive feature. Although it may not be directly related to the movement, when you take a look at the open caseback, you'll notice the presence of five impactful phrases surrounding the case. These phrases, written in capital letters to emphasize their importance, reflect Marc Hayek's core values for Blancpain. They include: 'PASSION FOR DIVING', 'LICENCE TO EXPLORE', 'OCEAN BREATH', 'PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE', and 'IMMERSE YOURSELF'.

If you had any uncertainty previously regarding the iconic status of the Fifty Fathoms as a diving timepiece, as well as Blancpain's unwavering dedication to the marine environment, it is safe to say that your doubts have been dispelled.

Easter Eggs To Watch For

If you have a keen eye, you will notice that the collection consists of various faces and dials. The Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean models are more modern versions of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch. They feature a date window positioned between four and five o'clock and have Arabic numbers and raised indexes. On the other hand, the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans models pay homage to historical Blancpain timepieces. The Arctic dial takes inspiration from a watch from the 1960s, which not only had an older version of the Blancpain logo but also featured a 'no radiation' icon to indicate the absence of radium in the watch.

The portion about Antarctica speaks of the Fifty Fathoms Mil Spec - a timepiece specially designed for military use in 1954. This watch was connected to the specifications of the United States Navy and boasted a built-in moisture indicator. This ingenious feature was crucial for a diver's watch as it promptly notified the wearer of any water intrusion. Now, with the arrival of the Scuba Fifty Fathom, the watch incorporates a novel element. In the event that water manages to seep in, the indicator, resembling a white half moon, will vividly transform into a striking shade of red. This addition adds an appealing touch to the watch's overall design.

The design of the top part of the watch stays loyal to the initial Fifty Fathoms top part, and the term 'Swatch' is engraved on the rear side of the watch, just like Blancpain is on the original Fifty Fathoms.

Unboxing is a popular activity that brings joy to everyone. Each timepiece is packaged in a box, within which you'll find a round pouch adorned with the vibrant colors representing the watch design (e.g., the Indian Ocean showcases green and orange rings). The zipper tag proudly displays the names Swatch and Blancpain on either side. Furthermore, the box provides interesting and playful snippets of information regarding the specific ocean you have chosen. For instance, the Indian Ocean is recognized as the habitat for numerous shark species, while the Arctic Ocean covers approximately 3% of our planet's surface. Lastly, the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire" is the home to an impressive 75% of all volcanoes found on Earth.

Swatch's Nick Hayek Jr: His Words

Similar to the MoonSwatch and the Omega Speedmaster's history, the Scuba 50 will appeal to individuals unfamiliar with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms story. There are numerous tales regarding the Fifty Fathoms that were previously unknown to me! For instance, I was unaware that a fathom is a unit of measurement equal to six feet (50 fathoms translates to 91 meters or 300 feet). I mistakenly thought it had something to do with ghosts!" chuckles Hayek Jr. "Thus, this timepiece will amusingly introduce the narrative of a revered legend."

"I'm the individual representing Swatch, while [Marc] handles the upscale brands. His enthusiasm lies with Blancpain. This compelled me to comprehend the reason behind my dentist, a young individual, solely discussing Blancpain Fifty Fathom while tending to my teeth. Now I finally understand the motive, which carries a remarkable tale that will solidify the Swiss watchmaking industry's credibility."

Marc Hayek's Thoughts On Blancpain

Hayek, a passionate diver and a man of few words, expressed his belief that offering an affordable version of Blancpain's renowned dive watch was the main driving force behind this collaboration. He views the high price points in the luxury market as a drawback and hopes that the Scuba 50 will make the Fifty Fathom dive watch more accessible to a wider audience. By doing so, he believes that it will generate increased interest and enthusiasm for the brand. Additionally, he highlights the historical significance of Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms as the original dive watch, preceding both the Rolex Submariner in 1954 and the Omega Seamaster in 1957.

The Price And Acquisition Of One

The cost of each Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms model is set at £340 (€390, CHF375, USD$400). The upcoming assortment can only be acquired from Swatch retail outlets globally starting from 10 in the morning on Saturday, September 9th.

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