So after a week of rumours and hints of a new Bioceramic release from Swatch, it’s finally here and it is taking aim at watch enthusiasts. The Blancpain x Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms might not create as much hype as the MoonSwatch, but it’s arguably an improved version of the MoonSwatch collaboration concept.
When everyone saw those cryptic two-page advertisements in 41 global newspapers, it was thought that the new collaboration would be a Bioceramic Omega Seamaster, especially given the anniversary year and nautical theme in the ads. But the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is also celebrating its 70th birthday and what a celebration it is.
Instead of offering 11 colourways like the MoonSwatch, there are only five colourways for the Scuba Fiftys but they are far more distinct from each other than any of the MoonSwatch pieces. Swatch have decided to not to use any pre-existing colour they’ve used in Bioceramic before. This means we have the blue Atlantic Ocean model, the green Indian Ocean model, the white Antarctic Ocean model, the yellow Pacific Ocean model, and the beige and orange Arctic Ocean model.
Three models share a similar dial design with the modern Blancpain logo and wordmark paired with the Swatch logo at the top. On the bottom is the Scuba text, the classic Fifty Fathoms script, and the depth rating. The latter of which is a specific 91m (300 feet) which is exactly fifty fathoms. Additionally, we have triangular indices as well as Arabic numerals at 12, three, six, and nine. All of this sits on a fumè-like dial with a gradient that goes from light in the centre to dark on the edges. This dial design is shared by the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific models.
The Arctic and Antarctic models deviate from that design slightly with vintage elements like circular applied indices and a specific old Blancpain wordmark. Beyond that though the Arctic model makes specific reference to the No Radiation (No Rad) Blancpain Fifty Fathoms with a red trefoil on a yellow background with a white cross cutting through it. The Antarctic model has a bicolour water contact indicator that, you guessed it, detects the presence of water.
The cases are all identical measuring in at 42.3mm in diameter by 14.4mm in height and 48mm lug-to-lug. Each of these are fastened to NATO-style straps created using recycled fishing nets. Along the side of the case, you find an etched Swatch logo in typical Blancpain fashion.
Jean-Claude Biver swore that there would be no quartz powered Blancpain, and the Swatch Group have ensured that that remains true. These are instead powered by Swatch’s Sistem51 movement with its one-screw design and hermetically sealed construction with a 90-hour power reserve. Amazingly, this movement is visible through an exhibition caseback. This caseback also has a laser-etched printing of a nudibranch, a sea slug found in all the titular oceans, so each model has a differently coloured slug on the back. The movement is also decorated with laser printing of the specific ocean it’s depicting.
These Scuba Fiftys will retail for around US$400 which is an increase over the US$260 MoonSwatch, but this is a far more premium offering than the MoonSwatch, just look at the fully lumed bezel. Like the MoonSwatch, these are not limited releases but will be serially available in Swatch stores only from September 9th.
These are aimed at enthusiasts with all the references to previous Blancpain models, the details, and the movement. We will have to wait and see whether this release will see a boost in Blancpain sales, but we have to assume that Swatch know what they’re doing and we may likely see that little boost in Blancpain sales.