Blancpain is collaborating with Swatch to create a playful and unexpected version of its iconic Fifty Fathoms scuba diving watch. Five Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms models celebrate the oceans that Blancpain is so deeply committed to preserving and safeguarding.
Blancpain and Swatch are teaming up for a non-limited collection of five models full of joie de vivre, color and technology. Together, the two Swatch Group brands are diving into the five oceans of the blue planet, combining the best of both brands with innovative, bioceramic, water-resistant timepieces and a mechanical movement with a 90-hour power reserve.
The two brands have joined forces to create a collection of five watches called the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection. Each model celebrates one of the five oceans, the conservation of which is so dear to Blancpain’s heart. The obvious choice for this project was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, a watch born exactly 70 years ago and that revolutionised watchmaking by becoming the first true diver’s watch.These five Blancpain X Swatch models are made from bioceramic, a unique and patented blend of two- thirds ceramic and one-third biomaterials derived from castor oil. While the colors chosen for this collaboration clearly indicate that this is not a traditional Blancpain watch, all fans and enthusiasts will recognise at first glance many of the features and characteristics of the iconic Fifty Fathoms, as well as nods to the Swatch Scuba collection.The main features of the Fifty Fathoms are all present in the Swatch version: the typical case, its unidirectional rotating bezel to measure the duration of the dive as well as its self-winding movement protected from magnetic fields – in this instance the SISTEM51 equipped with the NivachronTM antimagnetic balance spring.For Blancpain President and CEO Marc A. Hayek, this collaboration is highly symbolic: «Without Swatch, the Swiss watch industry would simply not have survived and enjoyed such a wonderful destiny. This collection is a source of pride for me. We owed it to ourselves to work with this brand that is as much a pioneer as we are – a reality vividly proven with this collection. Swatch has brilliantly reinterpreted our iconic model, in its own way, with its own vision. As a keen diver myself, I really appreciate the attention to detail in this collection and the many references to the Fifty Fathoms. The fact that it is water-resistant to a depth of 91 meters – corresponding to exactly 50 fathoms, a nautical unit of depth – is a fantastic nod.»
Blancpain President and CEO Marc A. Hayek, who himself relaunched the Fifty Fathoms in 2003, was also won over by the tribute paid to nudibranchs on the rotor of the SISTEM51 mechanical movement: «These sea animals are pure marvels of nature. With their unlikely shapes and often shimmering colours, they are an immense pleasure to observe in their element during a dive. They create a serene and calming effect. Through its Blancpain Ocean Commitment programme, Blancpain has to date co-financed more than 20 major scientific expeditions and helped to double the surface area of protected marine areas around the world.”
The new collection of five watches, featuring colors never yet seen on the original Fifty Fathoms, lends a strong playful touch to Blancpain’s iconic diver’s watch. Each model features the shared Blancpain X Swatch logos on the dial and crown. The straps are made from recycled fishing nets removed from the ocean floor.For all those who want to immerse themselves in the discovery of this collection, underwater or otherwise, the watches are available from September 9 and only at selected Swatch stores worldwide. Presented in a special diving case, the watches will also be on display for a few weeks in a selection of Blancpain boutiques, but not for sale.
Seventy years ago, an icon was born: the Fifty Fathoms. The watch that would revolutionise watchmaking by becoming the first true diver’s watch was the brainchild of a passionate scuba diver, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then co-CEO of Blancpain. A pioneer in a discipline that was still in its infancy, he understood the need to track time underwater. The tool he designed to meet his own needs immediately won unanimous approval among military and civilian divers, so much so that it became their infallible ally. By enhancing diving safety, the Fifty Fathoms contributed to the development of this sport and encouraged the discovery of the world of the oceans.
It enabled Blancpain to forge close ties with the ocean community – ties that have been strengthened over the past 70 years – and has become the catalyst for the Manufacture’s commitment to ocean conservation. The year 2023, which marks the 70th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms, also resonates as a reboot of its birth through the arrival of several innovative anniversary diving watches, launched throughout the anniversary year. Like this unique collaboration with Swatch.
The Silent World
Co-directed by Louis Malle, The Silent World won the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1956. The film raised global awareness of the richness of the world’s flora and fauna along with the need to protect them. One particular aspect that did not go unnoticed was that the team of divers wore a certain watch, the Fifty Fathoms, whose qualities made it possible to shoot long sequences in a marine environment.
Blancpain Ocean Commitment
Blancpain played a key role in the development of scuba diving with the launch in 1953 of the Fifty Fathoms, the world’s first true diver’s watch. Professional and amateur divers alike immediately recognised the genius of its design, as well as its outstanding features and reliability. Close ties were thus naturally forged between Blancpain and the ocean enthusiasts who adopted it: deep-sea pioneers, explorers, oceanographers and underwater photographers. These links have led Blancpain to become involved in the exploration, preservation and protection of the oceans. The Manufacture has not only acted alongside those who share these motivations but has also initiated support for numerous environmental initiatives as a founding partner. These include the Pristine Seas expeditions, which it supported for five years, enabling the creation of new marine protected areas covering more than four million square kilometres around the world.
To date, Blancpain, through its Blancpain Ocean Commitment programme, has co-financed more than 20 major scientific expeditions, helped double the surface area of protected marine areas around the world, and presented several award-winning documentary films. The Manufacture has also been behind numerous exhibitions of underwater photography and publications. These contributions to the exploration and protection of the oceans have been complemented by the sale of several series of limited-edition watches, each generating an additional EUR 1,000 on top of Blancpain’s substantial annual funding.