For Blancpain’s latest horological offering – the new Fifty Fathoms watch – they have gone about creating an entirely blue ceramic case in honour of their commitment to diving and continued support for Ocean related preservation. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Blancpain Ocean Commitment II (BOC II) has been made in a limited edition of 250 pieces, with €1000 from each sale being donated in support of scientific expeditions.
This blue colouring is achieved by adding pigments during the ceramic production process, together with a binding agent. Subsequently, to obtain this uniform, long-lasting hue throughout the entire case, two techniques are used. 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 on 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 – which gives 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.
A state-of-the-art caliber
The new Flyback Chronograph BOC II is equipped with an F385 caliber with a mechanism that includes 36,000 vibrations an hour (5 Hz) – an ideal frequency for a chronograph as it enables each second to be divided into intervals of a tenth of a second. The flyback chronograph is driven by a column-wheel. The F385 has a variable-inertia balance with gold screws, ensuring increased robustness and more precise adjustment than the usual index device. This has a vertical clutch that ensures faultless operation of the chronograph and eliminates any unexpected jerking of the watch hand when the chronograph is engaged. Moreover, this solution allows the chronograph mechanism to operate freely without having to worry about any negative effect on the watch’s rate accuracy. In addition, like all recent movements made by Blancpain, this caliber is equipped with a silicon balance-spring.
The Flyback Chronograph BOC II incorporates all the technical characteristics of a mechanical diving watch. In particular, it is water-resistant to 300 m and its unidirectional bezel features grey inserts and hour-markers in Liquidmetal. The flyback function enables immediate resetting of the chronograph to zero or restarting simply by pressing a pusher at 4 o’clock – contrast to standard chronographs, which require three steps to time successive events. This 250-piece limited-edition watch is also distinguished by its oscillating weight engraved with the words “Ocean Commitment” linking it to Blancpain’s commitment to the exploration and preservation of the oceans, while the sapphire crystal case-back also reveals the watch’s sporty and sophisticated bridges. RRP £14,680.