In 2022, the sphere of watchmaking came into turmoil. Unless they have stayed in another galaxy, no one (or almost) has been able to forget the remarkable release of Swatch which unveiled in collaboration with Omega the aptly named MoonSwatch. In broad terms and as a reminder, this model which unleashed passions (we remember the endless queues in front of Swatch stores like the launch of the new iPhone) is quite simple: the look of the iconic Omega Speedmaster and the price of a Swatch. A big surprise for all lovers and collectors of beautiful gears, but above all a genius marketing move since more than a million MoonSwatches were sold last year.
After the cosmos, Swatch wanted to explore the sea depths with Blancpain. Indeed, this other illustrious house of the Swatch Group is celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms this year. This model, now iconic among professionals of the abyss or Sunday fins enthusiasts (and watchmaking enthusiasts), is quite simply considered the “first modern diving watch”. As a reminder, the Fifty Fathoms was launched in 1953 under the leadership of three men: Claude Riffaud, ensign of the Commando François, Captain Robert Maloubier, a former secret agent of the British Special Operations Executive and Jean-Jacques Fiechter, a great lover of scuba diving and manager of Blancpain between 1950 and 1980.
The reference is distinguished by its three patents: a double-locked crown, a screw-down case back using a system of O-rings and a bezel equipped with a locking mechanism. What could be more natural for this important anniversary than to pay tribute to this legend of the seas in due form? It's done thanks to the exclusive collaboration between Swatch and Blancpain. The five Scuba Fifty Fathoms are non-limited editions and will be available from this Saturday, September 9, at a price of 390 euros. This, only in a selection of Swatch boutiques in the world. This bold initiative, which comes after the MoonSwatch, will allow the general public as well as new generations to (re)discover an emblematic but sometimes little-known watch and to acquire a copy at a “wise” price.
The Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms (in reference to the Scuba watches launched by Swatch from the 1990s) faithfully reproduce the codes of the first diver from Blancpain. Namely water resistance (up to "Fifty Fathoms", which literally means "fifty fathoms" in English, or 91 meters), optimal readability, a mechanical movement, a secure rotating bezel and protection against magnetic fields. Five watches that thus echo the five oceans present on the globe, the latter also being represented on the back of each of the watches.
Each dial has a specific color: blue for the Atlantic, green for the Indian Ocean, light gray for the Antarctic, beige for the Arctic and finally yellow-orange for the Pacific. Note for purists and first of all, the presence on the Arctic Ocean model of the "No Radiation" logo at 6 o'clock, a nod to the Fifty Fathoms of the 1960s. Secondly and on the watch dedicated to Antarctica, At 6 o'clock we find a two-color sensor to detect the presence of water. A change in sensor color means traces of moisture inside the cogs like the Fifty Fathoms "Mil-Spec" watches used by the US Navy. These last two references are the only ones not to display a date window present for the others at 4:30.
On the exterior side, the five Scuba Fifty Fathoms are all adorned with a 42.3 mm case made from bioceramic. This material patented by Swatch, which also dresses the crown and the unidirectional rotating bezel, is made from a clever blend of two-thirds ceramic and one-third bio-based materials derived from castor oil. The watches are powered by the Swatch Sistem51 mechanical movement, the only caliber whose production is 100% automated. Equipped with 51 components, it is non-magnetic thanks to a Nivachron hairspring and offers a battery life of 90 hours. It is also visible through the open bottom on which each Scuba Fifty Fathoms displays an illustration of a nudibranch, a colorful sea animal that inhabits the world's oceans. Last but not least, the NATO straps that accompany the watches have all been made from fishing nets recovered at sea and then recycled. Environmentalists will appreciate it. Now let's wait and see if the enthusiasm generated by the MoonSwatch will be matched or surpassed after the launch of the new Scuba Fifty Fathoms.