The new Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback automatic diving wristwatch features a stunning ceramic body with elegant blue bezel and dial, sports a water resistance rating of 300 meters, is limited to just 250 numbered pieces, and Blancpain is committed to donate as much as €1000 from each timekeeper sold to various initiative that contribute to make the world ocean a little bit place to live for its billions of dwellers. What other excuse do you really need to buy this beautiful timepiece?
The watch, as you have probably already guessed, is based on the gorgeous Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph that the Swiss brand has presented back in March 2014. To make the timekeeper, which is limited to just 250 individually numbered pieces even more exclusive, they chose not the steel, but a lot more expensive (and also a lot harder to manufacture) ceramic version of the watch.
Yes, this machine-brushed grey material is not some sort of metal, but a scratch-resistant ceramic material that not only significantly increases its price making it affordable to just a select few, but also makes the gadget a bit lighter. Of course, the ceramic body is matched with a unidirectional rotating bezel made from the same material and decorated with so called “liquid metal” markings and numerals on the traditional diving scale.
If you compare the limited edition version with the base model, you will see that the only thing that visually differentiates them is the color of the dial and the inner ring of the bezel (well, the in-house Blancpain caliber F385 automatic movement that powers this cold beauty has also been modified with its oscillating weight now bearing the of Ocean Commitment: their own foundation that, as far as I understand, supports “oceanic environmental causes” of some sort or the other).
What’s really nice about this model is that Blancpain promises to donate 1000 Euro from every limited edition watch sold to “various initiatives” related to the world ocean’s safety.
As usual for the brand, the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback sports a high-contrast, easy to read dial with all of its elements (perhaps, bar the index at 12 hours) being simple geometric figures. I am pretty sure that there will be a lot of guys wincing at its “too simple” layout, but I still insist that it is one of the best dials among currently available “diving chronographs”.
Its other advantage is, of course, the aforementioned beautiful Blancpain caliber F385 chronograph movement. Beating at a frequency of 36,000 vph (yes, Zenith must be quite worried right now,) the mechanism is beautifully crafted and is quite nicely decorated. Not only it features an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, but it also features a vertical clutch column wheel: a device that greatly increases accuracy of the chronograph and also significantly reduces its wear. In the world of chronographs, it is like a tourbillon, only useful.
As the original, the limited edition model is supplied on a sail-canvas NATO-style strap, which is now colored blue to better match the overall tone of the timekeeper.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback Automatic watch specification
Price: $20,200 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Blancpain caliber F385, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 30
Movement frequency: 36,000 vph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight bears the logo of Ocean Commitment
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case material: Grey ceramic
Bezel material: Blue ceramic with liquid metal markings
Crown material: Steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.60 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Blue, sunray
Hour markers: Luminous, applied
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Blue sail-canvas textile strap with deployant clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire