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Jason Pitsch

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Blancpain Ocean Commitment II

Jason Pitsch

October 10, 2016

Blancpain has just announced a second version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment, which mostly notably features a new deep-blue colored ceramic case.

Apart from the case, and the strap color, everything else is identical to the original model. Despite that, according to Blancpain, getting the color of the case to match correctly with other components was quite a challenge.

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II case is presented in a 43.60 mm x 15.25 mm ceramic case (23 mm interlug width), with a 300 meter water resistant depth rating, screw-down crown, and an exhibition caseback. The movement is caliber F385 (measures 31.80 mm x 6.65 mm ), which features a vertical clutch column wheel chronograph that beats at the high rate of 5Hz (36,000 vph), has 322 components, 37 jewels, the balance wheel is variable-inertia with gold screws to make fine adjustments, the balance spring is silicon for improved durability and rate accuracy, and the watch has a 50-hour power reserve.

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The vertical clutch and column wheel configuration allows for the chronograph to be actuated smoothly, without any movement or jerking of the second hand, and without negatively affecting the watch’s rate accuracy while using the chrono.

Furthermore, the 5Hz oscillation rate allows for chronograph accuracy as precise as 1/10th of second. Plus there is a flyback function that allows you to time consecutive events without having to hit stop-start-reset in between each event like you would with a typical non-flyback chrono.

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The unidirectional rotating dive bezel is made of matte gray ceramic with a polished blue ceramic insert, dive scale and a single lume-filled Liquidmetal marker at 12 o’clock.

The crucial technical element that this new timepiece highlight is Blancpain’s ability to uniforming achieve an entirely blue ceramic watch case. The coloring requires adding pigments during the ceramic production process, along with a binding agent.

At the same to time, to attain the uniform long-lasting color hue throughout the entire case, another technique was used as well.

According to Blancpain, “The first is a compaction process, where ceramic in powder form is pressed into a mold to obtain its shape. The second technique involves using an injection process to insert ceramic in the form of granules into the mold. This step enables the creation of a blueprint in the final shape. After this, the piece is placed in an oven at a low temperature in order to eliminate the bonding agent. When this is done, the latter is heated at a high temperature – a phase known as sintering – in order to give the ceramic its ultimate hardness. Lastly, the machining and finishing operations take place in order to provide the geometry and final look of each part. The compacting process was used for the case middle, case back, bezel and chapter ring insert. The second technique involving the injection method was adopted for the crown and push-pieces. Suitable for small pieces, the latter is highly precise and complex to master. Up until now, it had not yielded satisfactory, sufficiently stable results for the blue color range.”

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An amount of 1000 Euro is taken from the price of each watch and committed by the brand to support scientific marine expeditions aimed at ocean conservation. Limited to 250 pieces worldwide. (Ref. 5200-0310-G52-A – sail strap, 5200-0310-NAG-A, nylon strap)

Blancpain


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