The RM1,700 Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms Diver Watch has arrived

The Swatch Group's sequel to the MoonSwatch is inspired by sea slugs and ditches quartz.

The crossover marks a new milestone for the Blancpain as it is the 70th birthday of the storied Fifty Fathoms dive watch (All photos: Swatch Group)

Blancpain was long tipped as the next candidate for a collaboration within the Swatch HQ. After months of rumours, wild speculation and a few cryptic posts on social media, the watch group finally unveiled what would be the worst-kept-secret of the horology world this year: An automatic Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms.

Its name may not be as elegant-sounding as the crazed MoonSwatch, but this crossover marks a new milestone as it is the 70th birthday of the storied Fifty Fathoms dive watch. The new collection takes inspiration from the maison’s timepiece that set the blueprint for analog dive watches as we know them.


The grey Antarctic model with vintage indices

A quick primer before we dive into the details: The original Fifty Fathoms was developed with the aid of French combat divers who needed a reliable underwater wristwatch. The result was a contraption with luminous dial markings, innovative waterproof construction and locking rotatable bezel.

Fast forward to the present, the Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms — mirroring the bright shades and use of Bioplastic material for the casings on the celestial-themed MoonSwatch — sports an ocean theme in five distinct colours namely blue (for the Atlantic); yellow-orange (Pacific); beige with an orange bezel (The Arctic); green (Indian) and white (Antarctic). If you’re wondering why black is not part of the line-up, Swatch has decided not to use any pre-existing colour used in Bioceramic previously.

These hues are in fact, inspired by a nudibranch, a type of sea slug, indigenous to the specific oceans connected to the watch.


Nunibranch on the caseback

Retailing at RM1,700, these pieces measuring 42.3mm in diameter are water-resistant to 91m which, of course, equates to exactly fifty fathoms. Despite being accompanied by a NATO-style strap fashioned from recycled fishing nets, the watches are not stylistically similar though. The blue Atlantic version shows the modern Blancpain logo and wordmark at the top of the dial, surrounded by triangular markers as well as Arabic numerals 12, three, six and nine. These are further highlighted on a fumè-like dial with gradient colouration that segues from dark at the edges to light at the centre.

A gander at the beige Arctic and white Antarctic, however, reveals some subtle departures. Both features vintage throwback elements such as the applied circular indices and a specific old-school Blancpain wordmark with flat A lettering. The Arctic model is a callback to the famed No Radiation (No Rad) Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, while the Antarctic features a moisture indicator.


The Arctic model is a callback to the famed No Radiation Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

And what’s powering all of them? Rest assured that Jean-Claude Biver did not renegade on his promise. “There has never been in a Blancpain in quartz, and there will never be one,” he once said. The Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms is equipped with Swatch's Sistem51 movement (also celebrating its 10th anniversary) famously known for its one-screw design and hermetically-sealed construction with 90 hours of power reserve. The movement, decorated with laser printing of the specific body of water, is visible via an exhibition caseback.

What does this spell for the Swatch Group? Unlike the in-demand MoonSwatch that produced lines that snaked around the block when it was first introduced, this new Blancpain drop may split camps due to a heftier price tag and, based on past experience, rigorous production expectations. Remember how Swatch struggled to match consumer demand when it debuted? Although watches go on sale in Swatch stores this Saturday, it will definitely take some time before Blancpain shares the same hype as the MoonSwatch.

Stay tuned for updates.


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