We knew it was coming… Not only Swatch’s latest collaboration with a higher-end watchmaker from the Swatch Group was teased by the brand, but we even created our own vision of what these Swatch x Blancpain models could have been. And looking at the new Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms, we were not too far away from reality. Following the Moonswatch and its success, it’s time now for another Swatched-out emblematic watch, but here, there is some good news on the side of the functionalities and mechanics.
Dubbed the Swatch x Blancpain Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms, what we’re looking at here is basically a Swatch take on what is one of the earliest and most respected dive watches, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Born in 1953, this legendary watch has celebrated its 70th anniversary this year with several commemorative models. It isn’t such a surprise to see the Swatch x Blancpain being released now, as it fits within the whole jubilee strategy. We let you judge if such an accessible take on the model was an appropriate move to celebrate its anniversary or not… What’s sure is that there won’t be competition between these two models, one retailing at EUR 390 and the other going easily into 5-digit prices.
What do we know about this Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms? Well, just like the Moonswatch was modelled after the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, the Swatch x Blancpain collaboration takes inspiration from the classic Fifty Fathoms. The design is undoubtedly that of the FF, with an identical shape, down to the bezel, the crown guards, the sides of the case and the lugs. Even the proportions are that of a FF, with a 42.3mm diameter, a 14.4mm thickness and a 48mm lug-to-lug. The side is even stamped with a Swatch logo, just like the classic Fifty Fathoms has Blancpain engraved on the left side of its case. The crown features both brands logos too.
There are, however, some drastic differences between this Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms and the real deal, but also with the MoonSwatch. Sure, the case is still made of Bioceramic – available in 5 different colours – beige, yellow-orange, blue, green or ice-white – modelled after the 5 main oceans (Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic) and the crystal is said to be bio-sourced material with anti-scratch coating (no sapphire here, sorry), but this one feels somehow like a step up compared to the MoonSwatch. For instance, the bezel is functional, like it should be in a dive watch. It’s unidirectional, and it even features a glass-like insert with a luminous 60-minute scale that mimics the sapphire insert found on the classic FF. And the lugs are drilled, meaning that changing the OEM strap will be effortless. Note that water-resistance is rated at 91 metres, which corresponds to fifty fathoms.
As said, a total of 5 different Swatch x Blancpain Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms editions have been presented. All feature a gradient dial that is based on the design of the Fifty Fathoms, with identical markers and hands (all luminous). Apart from the colours, each version has a slightly different personality and two even come with a no-date display and a cool detail on the dial, a tribute to rare editions of the Blancpain FF (No-Rad and Mil-Spec).
- Arctic Ocean – beige Bioceramic case, orange bezel, warm beige dial with gradient effect, No-Radiation logo and no-date display, orange NATO
- Antarctic Ocean – ice white Bioceramic case, grey bezel, cool grey dial with gradient effect, Mil-Spec moisture indicator and no-date display, grey and blue NATO
- Pacific Ocean – yellow-orange Bioceramic case, black bezel, white to black gradient dial, date display, black and orange NATO
- Atlantic Ocean – blue Bioceramic case, blue bezel, blue dial with gradient effect, date display, blue NATO
- Indian Ocean – green Bioceramic case, black bezel, green dial with gradient effect, date display, black and green NATO
The most important thing about the Scuba Fifty Fathoms is, to us, the fact that Swatch has made it automatic. When relaunching the Blancpain brand, JC Biver created the motto “There has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be” and this has been respected. Indeed, inside is the Sistem51 movement, a calibre known for its innovative conception. It is the first and only mechanical movement with fully automated assembly. The escapement does not have a regulator (no-index assembly) and the rate, or precision, is factory-set using laser technology. Precision is given for -5/+15 seconds per day. An interesting point, it boasts a solid 90-hour power reserve and an anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring. The see-through back reveals another specific feature, with an illustration of nudibranchs thanks to a digital print on the movement’s rotor. All the bridges also feature an oceanic illustration.
Availability & Price
All 5 references are worn on a NATO strap made from recycled fishing nets removed from the sea, closed by a Bioceramic pin buckle and loops. The watches will be presented in a special diving case.
The 5 models from the Swatch x Blancpain Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms will be available from September 9th, 2023, only at selected Swatch stores worldwide. As with the MoonSwatch, purchases are limited to one watch per person per day. They will also be on display in selected Blancpain boutiques for several weeks, but not for sale in these boutiques. The price will be EUR 390 or USD 400. For more details, please visit www.swatch.com.