Beyond the horizon, where the depths of the ocean harbor the whispering tales of ageless wonders, emerges a horological alliance of monumental significance. The realm of timepieces is abuzz with the union of two venerable names: Blancpain and Swatch. This partnership, the Blancpain x Swatch collaboration, is a symphony of past, present, and an oceanic legacy.
The MoonSwatch phenomenon showcased Swatch’s ingenious ability to create tidal waves in the watch industry. Yet, even with the roaring success of MoonSwatch, this time-telling titan chose not to bask in the limelight for long. Instead, it embarked on a new journey, sailing into the rich waters of Blancpain‘s heritage. An iconic maison since 1735, Blancpain’s prowess in luxurious diving watches makes one wonder: Could this new alliance surpass the previous wonders? All speculations will be laid to rest on September 9th with the global revelation of the Blancpain x Swatch Fifty Fathoms in select Swatch outlets.
The picturesque Swatch headquarters at Bienne, Switzerland, evokes memories of the legendary Hill Valley town hall clock, a cinematic marvel from “Back to the Future“. This setting accentuates Swatch’s temporal voyages, spanning significant years like 1990, 1983, and crucially, 1953.
Navigating through 1990, we find Swatch diving into the aquatic world with the Scuba 200, an epitome of affordable elegance. Transition to 1983, and we witness the birth of the game-changer Swatch amidst the Asian quartz upheaval.
But the year 1953 is where the tides turn, as Blancpain unveils its Fifty Fathoms. Jean-Jacques Fiechter, a diver at heart and Blancpain’s then-CEO, crafted this masterpiece, setting benchmarks that would stand tall for decades. Jean-Jacques once remarked, “Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms was more than a timepiece; it became a diver’s heartbeat.“
Seventy years from that momentous occasion, Swatch commemorates with the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms series. These five watches, christened after our planet’s majestic oceans – ARCTIC, PACIFIC, ATLANTIC, INDIAN, and ANTARCTIC, encapsulate not just Swatch’s own Scuba legacy but the very soul of the Fifty Fathoms.
It’s awe-inspiring to witness two brands weave their distinct identities into a unified tapestry. Thoughtfully, water resistance peaks at 91 meters, a homage to the Fifty Fathoms’ nomenclature which refers to the traditional 50 fathoms or 91 meters depth.
The collaboration’s heart, the SISTEM51 movement, demands admiration. Introduced by Swatch in 2013, this movement was an answer to the growing smartwatch dominance, reinforcing that traditional watchmaking still held innovation’s keys. Contrary to the usual mechanical movements boasting over 100 parts, SISTEM51 boasts a mere 51, united by a lone central screw. It’s an automatic movement, with a commendable 90-hour power reserve, outdoing its contemporaries in the same price band. A sealed design keeps external contaminants at bay, though this also means replacement over repair in case of glitches.
With sustainability in focus, these watches employ bioceramic, a novel concoction of ceramic and bio-sourced materials. Complementing this, NATO straps are crafted from repurposed fishing nets. The union’s subtleties are splashed across the dial, crown, and inscriptions, mirroring a shared love for diving and marine conservation.
For purists, the ARCTIC OCEAN model bears the nostalgic “NO RADIATIONS” logo from the 1960s. Another standout, the two-tone sensor on the ANTARCTIC OCEAN model, harkens back to Blancpain’s 1950s innovations.
Blancpain x Swatch brings to the fore a renewed diving legacy, draped in vibrant colors unique to this venture. They not only echo Blancpain’s illustrious past but craft new chronicles.
As September 9th nears, horological enthusiasts gear up to seize this oceanic gem. A word to the wise, much like the Bioceramic MoonSwatch, there’s a catch – only one watch per individual per day. Thus, time and tide wait for none; don’t let this wave pass you by.
Dial and Design: The most striking feature of this watch is the symbol of three red segments on a yellow background crossed by a white X. An homage to the 1960s, the words “NO RADIATIONS” ensure clarity regarding the absence of radium, a collectible legacy.
Back Story: Showcasing the Dendronotus Frondosus nudibranch, the Arctic Ocean watch captures the essence of the soft and subtle forms of this marine creature.
Technical Specs: A nod to its diving heritage, the watch is waterproof up to 91 meters and houses the renowned SISTEM51 movement.
Dial and Design: Glimmers of warm azure waters are reflected in the hues of the watch, designed in tribute to the sunlit Chromodoris Kuiteri nudibranch.
Back Story: The Pacific is vast, and its watch captures the luminosity of the ocean, reminding one of sun-kissed beaches and tranquil waters.
Technical Specs: Standard across the collection, the watch features the robust SISTEM51 movement, guaranteeing precision and a 90-hour power reserve.
Dial and Design: Deep blue colors encapsulate the spirit of the tumultuous Atlantic waters, making a grand statement with the depiction of the venomous Glaucus Atlanticus, aptly nicknamed the blue dragon.
Back Story: The Atlantic Ocean watch not only stands out for its striking design but also draws attention to the fragility of marine life.
Technical Specs: Alongside its intricate design, the watch is water-resistant up to 91 meters, fitting for a timepiece inspired by the vast Atlantic.
Dial and Design: Emulating the radiant coral colors of the vibrant Indian Ocean, the watch pays tribute to the Nembrotha Kubaryana nudibranch.
Back Story: A celebration of the rich, diverse marine life and warm waters of the Indian Ocean, this watch is a medley of tradition and innovation.
Technical Specs: Like its counterparts, the watch boasts the SISTEM51 mechanism and is water-resistant, ensuring the intricate craftsmanship remains uncompromised.
Dial and Design: The Tritoniella Belli nudibranch graces this timepiece, evoking mysteries of the icy polar waters. Reminiscent of an iceberg amidst stormy waves, the design is a nod to the enchanting Antarctic realm.
Back Story: With a two-tone sensor that detects possible water presence, a historical feature from 1954, the Antarctic Ocean model embodies a confluence of Blancpain’s heritage and Swatch’s modernity.
Technical Specs: Ensuring the watch’s water resistance remains unscathed, the sensor is an added safety feature, complementing the reliable SISTEM51 movement.