The release of this watch came as a surprise a few months ago, and it is special for various reasons other than its limitation to 50 pieces. It marks a first for Blancpain in various aspects, and besides those it is simply a gorgeous timepiece: let’s get up close with the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Mokarran, reference 5005-0153-NABA.
Blancpain‘s first green dial and bezel in a Fifty Fathoms
We got used to having the choice between black and blue dial Fifty Fathoms watches, both in the 45mm 5015 range and with the Bathyscaphe models in either 38 or 43.6mm. Exceptions to those two colors are rare, one may point to the white dial & bezel FF 5015 or the limited Revolution Bathyscaphe with its brown dial. So now we see the first green dial from Blancpain, and it does not disappoint.
I recently talked to a fellow Blancpain enthusiast, and I would like to quote her initial impression of the Mokarran dial: „Blancpain may be late to the „green“ trend, but whether do a green dial you can be sure it’s in a league of its own.“
I could not agree more with her. The dial emphasizes shades from turquoise green to a fresh yellowish green, depending on light conditions and viewing angle. The vanilla color of the SuperLuminova used for indices and hands works very well with dial colors.
It must have been a challenge, though, to match the ceramic bezel insert to this lively dial since ceramic obviously mirrors light in a different way than a sunburst Fumé dial.
Personally, I think Blancpain has managed that challenge very well: the bezel is missing the turquoise color aspects, but it works perfect well with the plain and yellowish green expression of the dial, which is more prominent under artificial light. In addition the ceramic bezel adapts to light conditions itself, only revealing its true color under bright sunlight and appearing more subdued in the shade.
Purity without a date
There’s a lively debate going on for many years among watch enthusiasts, with one side appreciating the functionality of a date indication and the other side considering a date window to compromise the beauty and balance of a dial.
While the vast majority of Blancpain timepieces have a date indication, the Manufacture has introduced some notable no-date watches: last year the Villeret Ultraplate manual wind and the limited to 100 Hodinkee Bathyscaphe 38mm were introduced, in 2020 we now have the first 43mm Bathyscaphe without a date: the Mokarran Limited Edition.
The 43mm Bathyscaphe three hand model reference 5000 can be considered a „pure“ timepiece since its launch in 2013. With rather small dots and sticks embedded in white gold settings, the dial offers a lot of empty space and the date window at the 4:30 position appeared quite prominent.
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran has no date function, and the sunburst dial has an additional Fumé effect which uses the empty space of the dial in a most beautiful way.
The watch is powered by caliber 1318, which is the no date version of the well known 4 Hz caliber 1315 with 5 days of power reserve, silicon balance spring and a DLC coated 18ct gold rotor which shows a stylized great hammerhead shark.
Black ceramic allows for maximum effect of a remarkable dial
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran comes in a satin brushed black ceramic case, which emphasizes the special dial through its stealth appearance. The black polished finish of the hands and the indices give the watch the last touch.
The distinctive shapes of the Bathyscaphe case work very well with the dark color, and the subtle brushed finish could make you believe you see a DLC coated steel case. Applying this finish to ceramic is a lot more difficult than to steel, and with this material one can enjoy it for many years to come without any wear and tear.
The watch comes on a black 23mm Nato strap on a 23mm ceramic tang buckle. The ceramic keepers known from the Bathyscaphe Nato straps are discontinued and therefore not featured with this timepiece.
A fourth Ocean Commitment watch, although it’s not
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran is connected to a Project concentrated on great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran ) in French Polynesia, sponsored by Blancpain in collaboration with the Mokarran Society.
You can read more on the project here in the blog and of here on the Blancpain Ocean Commitment website.
The Mokarran comes with an extended package, something collectors know from the three Ocean Commitment editions. You receive a certificate for the 1000$ donation to the project, access to the Ocean Commitment circle, a specially designed PeliCase and a large framed photograph of the great hammerhead shark.
But despite the commonalities, the Bathyscaphe Mokarran is not introduced as an Ocean Commitment IV. But to some degree, it still is 😉
A bit too limited maybe
Limited editions are an established element in the Blancpain offerings since the 1980s. And the spectrum of limitation numbers is very broad: the largest quantity has been the Leman Aqua Lung Grande Date with 2005 watches, the smallest limitation are of course unique pieces, e.g. the Leman Aqua Lung Repetition Minutes.
Recently the two most common quantities are 250 for the Ocean Commitment timepieces and 500 for the 40mm Fifty Fathoms Barakuda, the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec, the Bathyscaphe Jour Date 70s or the Air Command.
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran is made in a quantity of only 50 pieces, and to make it even more difficult to get hold of one, the distribution is limited to the two US Boutiques in NYC and Las Vegas. At the time of this report the watch is most probably already sold out.
To say I was intrigued when I saw the press release on the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Mokarran would be an understatement. And when I got up close with the real thing my high expectations were not only met but exceeded.
This green dial of the Bathyscaphe Mokarran with its sunburst finish and Fumé effect is simply outstanding! Together with the black ceramic case it is a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms like none before and very special indeed.
With 43.6mm diameter and 49mm lug to lug the watch wears comfortably on my 17cm wrist, it is expressive and under the radar at the same time.
Actually, I consider a no-date 43mm Bathyscaphe to be a very compelling addition to the Fifty Fathoms catalogue. The lack of a date window adds significantly to the purity of the Bathyscaphe and I could easily imagine this watch with a black dial to become a favorite with customers.
I hope you enjoyed the blog post and the photos. You can find the Bathyscaphe Mokarran here on the Blancpain website, a first introduction of this watch with official photos and more on the great hammerhead shark project here and an overview on the three Ocean Commitment timepieces here in the blog.