BLANCPAIN Fifty Fathoms and Gianluca Genoni
Celebrating the MIL-SPEC with an 18 freediving awards holder
We often talk about preserving our seas and many watch-manufacturers are highly involved in this matter, BLANCPAIN in particular and the event organized by the brand aimed at clearly showing us who it supports and how it supports it. BLANCPAIN’s invite was directed to a very few selected journalists and dealers and it took me to the Y-40; the deepest swimming pool in the world (42 metres) located in Montegrotto Terme, nearby Padua.
I had already seen this swimming pool in a documentary and I had been very impressed by it, but I have to admit that seeing it live was absolutely amazing; the sliding doors of the building hosting the pool lead you to the hall, where you can already see the first 5 metres of the pool through glass doors and a wonderful tunnel that goes through it and takes you to the edge of the pool and to the changing rooms.
Our special trainer for the day was Gianluca Genoni; the holder of 18 world records in freediving and BLANCPAIN’s ambassador, but, most of all, a wonderful person, who was always ready to answer my many questions. I was particularly struck by finding out that, when freediving, your body automatically lowers its heart beat level and when Gianluca reaches a 160-metre-depth, his heart rate falls to about 12 beats per minute.
Gianluca’s 18 freediving awards include the following ones; freediving to a 160-metre-depth, breath-hold diving (18 minutes and 3 seconds) after a pre-diving oxygen breathing session, breath-hold diving (8 minutes and 15 seconds) with no pre-diving oxygen breathing session. Gianluca also shares BLANCPAIN’s mission aimed at preserving our seas and, with the manufacturer’s support, he also tries to teach the breath-hold diving technique with what I would call a contagious enthusiasm. In my opinion, he has definitely reached his goal!
The event was also the occasion to present the new BLANCPAIN Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC; a 500-piece-limited-edition remake of the timepiece that the US NAVY people used at the end of the 50s, as it was the only watch that had successfully gone through a series of tests specifically designed by the US NAVY.
BLANCPAIN can boast quite a few firsts when it comes to diving; among these is a double-seal-system for the crown that ensures waterproofness even in the event of an accidental shifting of the crown, the unidirectional rotating bezel, the hands coated with SuperLuminova® and a special window that contains an unusual orange “tablet” that, if the water enters the case, turns red.
It might sound like a trivial device or something that you wouldn’t really need, but truth is that, back in the days, these timepieces used to be the only tools that a diver had at their disposal, thus making them life-saving diving tools. The end of the morning culminated in the recovery of the BLANCPAIN Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC positioned at the bottom of the Y-40 pool (-42 metres); it was an honour for me to be able to do the countdown for Genoni’s diving that started, in a totally natural way, from the edge of the pool.
After our lunch break, BLANCPAIN’s brand-manger (Roberto Castagna) made a concise, but very informative speech, where he explained about the many partnerships and sponsorships that Blancpain is engaged in. All of these are somehow linked to the sea world; Gombessa expeditions, for instance, that led to the discovery of the coelacanth; a species that had been deemed extinct for centuries.
A collaboration project with the National Geographic made it possible to lobby the government of different countries to increase the protected marine reserves that have grown from 2 million square kilometres to 4 million square kilometres.
BLANCPAIN can also boast the distinction to be the first watch manufacturer in the world to take part in the Only Watch charity auction, whose goal is to raise funds for the fight against muscular dystrophy. BLANCPAIN has a lot to say; it is not only about its exceptional timepieces and, thanks to this event, it fully showed us what it is capable of. Everybody gave their best, and I would like to thank the entire staff of BLANCPAIN and Gianluca Genoni; it was a very successful event and right on target; it made me passionate about the world of breath-hold diving and it increased my awareness of the importance to respect our sea world.
(Photo credit: courtesy of BLANCPAIN)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®