Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition
By carefully tweaking colors and combining surface finishes and materials, any designer can quickly transform a dress, consumer product, or a watch's style. During the yesterday-broadcasted "Art in the Ocean" online event, dedicated to the international press media (and some Blancpain collectors around the world, too, I guess), the enthusiasts' expectations of discovering new Bathyscaphe or classic Fifty Fathoms collections were high. Yet, the brand's team and Marc Hayek first emphasized Blancpain as a purveyor of underwater exploration, then unveiled the 2020 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition.
The event's storytelling intermingled frames from Blancpain's heritage in diving and new watches, with the 2020 new variant of the 2018-released Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Jour Date 70s, being under the spotlight, along with a new chronograph. The new timepiece reaffirms the Bathyscaphe as the outsider among the current Fifty Fathoms timepieces (Gray Plasma ceramic, Liquidmetal™, or Sedna™ Gold are exclusive to this sub-collection so far). It draws inspiration from a diving exploration held deep below Devils Hole, a geologic formation located within the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, in Nye County, Nevada.
I have usually considered the Bathyscaphe like a less refined, stripped-down Fifty Fathoms. It is no mystery that it initially hit the market as a more affordable gateway to the Blancpain diving watch collection. I found its no-frills design less refined and appealing when compared to the beautifully-polished and more prestigious sibling, especially when getting my hands on the only-time option. Conversely, a Bathyscaphe chronograph wins hands down when placed alongside a classic Fifty Fathoms Chrono, which is too busy instead. With the new-for-2020 Desert Edition, the marketing team strengthened the base collection's allure, following the likes of recently marketed options, like the exquisite Sedna™ gold and blue dial Bathyscaphe, introduced end of July.
The steel case, which is brushed all over the place, has a grayish feel to it, thus mimicking ceramic at first sight. The bezel insert is new, featuring a thin brown ceramic ring whose indexes are in Liquidmetal®. It comes paired to a desert-inspired sunray finished dial whose hues turn from bright to dark beige and vice versa, according to different lighting conditions. I hope Blancpain's engineers took this chance to improve detenting too; according to my experience, the former is where any Fifty Fathoms has to catch up with the competition, from a "touch and feel" point of view.
The Blancpain Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition is a beauty from any angle; Blancpain's designers did a great job making the Bathyscaphe, whose specifications and build quality are top-notch, look more compelling and luxurious. The timepiece adopts the class-leading caliber 1315DD; it guarantees five days of power reserve when fully wound, and NAC treated gold winding rotor; a gold winding rotor is hard to find on most gold watches too. The case is 43mm across and 14,25mm high. The mainstream modern Bathyscaphe isn't and never will be a small watch, but never was a Skin Diver. Limited to 500 pieces, the Blancpain Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition retails for 12,080 Euros and is a great alternative to a more classic (and usually more expensive) limited edition classic Fifty Fathoms too.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Blancpain)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®