Blancpain has chosen this year’s Baselworld 2016 to retouch one of its core pieces, also credited as the first diver watch of the modern era, the “Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe” three-hand version. And they’re also launching a stainless-steel version of their “Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT”, bestowing it with a more subtle, understated dress look.
The Blancpain Bathyscaphe diving models first appeared in the late 1950’s and had an anniversary celebration in 2013, in which it reappeared with a new aesthetic reminiscent of its first editions. It has been through various redesigns during the years. Now for Baselworld 2016 its back in a gray plasma ceramic edition, which had been tested and proved as an optimal option, in a former limited edition.
The 43mm case is made of a plasma gray ceramic material, which may look like stainless-steel, but is actually lighter and more resistant to corrosion, when immersed in salt water. This is a very good feature if anyone actually wants to put this diver watch to use. And it’s not the first time Blancpain has used this material. They actually tried it out in a limited edition “Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback Ocean Commitment”, back in 2014. Features a blue unidirectional bezel, with a luminous coating, that combines with the dial and grey case and casts a sleek subtle metallic shade. Also has an exhibition caseback to gaze at the inner movements. Water-resistance on this timepiece can reach up to 300m (984 feet).
This deep blue ceramic dial was conceived to evoke the depths of the sea. The rounded index markers were made with Liquidmetal and an alloy serving to avoid distortions. The thick SuperLuminova coated hour and minute hands, plus the luminescent unidirectional rotating bezel, guarantee an enhanced legibility, even in an incursion towards the depths of the ocean. And besides the Blancpain logo and model name written in a white font, the dial is quite clean. There is also a date aperture between the 4 and 5 o’clock position.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe
This “Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe” (Ref#: 5000-0240-O52A) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber 1315, with 35 jewels and 227 components. Also features a Glucydur balance with gold regulation screws. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 125 hours (5 days). Mounted to the watch is the option of a three-ring NATO strap, or a sail canvas version.
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Dress watches tend to be understated, while trying to impress. A tightrope act that not all timepieces seem to pull off well, but this “Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT”, does it with style. The overall white dial with the silver and black touches, are very pleasing to look at, while not overwhelming or becoming an eyesore.
The 40mm case is made of stainless-steel for the first time, after multiple varying gold-toned editions. To adjust the annual calendar Blancpain has provided its patented pushers hidden under the lugs, at the 1 o’clock positon to change the day, and at the 5 o’clock position to regulate the month. These rapid GMT and date adjustments, as well as the time-setting is controlled via the crown. The sapphire caseback exposes the movement and yellow gold oscillating mass, with a guilloché motif.
The white dial is very clean and has a refreshing quality to it. Time is told with silver Roman numerals and black leaf-shaped stainless-steel hands. But the easy legibility of this timepiece, takes a moment to assimilate, due to its uniqueness. The month, day, date are fractured and spaced along the right side of the dial. The day of the week appears near the 2 o’clock position, the day appears at the 3 o’clock position and the month is located at the 4 o’clock position. There is also a 24-hour counter at the 8 o’clock position, which indicates home-time with GMT local time being provided by the central hour hands.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT
This “Blancpain Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT” (Ref#: 6670-1127-55B) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber 6054F, with 34 jewels and 367 components. Features 2 mainspring barrels with a Glucydur free sprung balance. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 72 hours. Mounted to the watch is a black alligator leather strap lined with Alzavel calfskin and a triple-blade folding clasp.
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