Building on the brand’s unrivaled heritage as a manufacturer of professional diving watches, Blancpain CEO Marc A. Hayek has initiated a remarkable initiative to support the preservation of the underwater world, called Blancpain Ocean Commitment. Since 2014 the Manufacture has released dedicated limited edition timepieces on a biannual basis, which shall be featured in this report.
Before we get closer to the three watches, let‘s briefly talk about the Blancpain Ocean Commitment first. I suggest you visit and explore the dedicated website https://www.blancpain-ocean-commitment.com which provides exciting insights into Blancpain’s continuing support to expeditions and major oceanographic projects as well as spectacular underwater photography.
In 2014 this commendable initiative saw it’s first commemorative Blancpain timepiece, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ocean Commitment, featuring a plasma grey ceramic case, a blue ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal indices and a blue sunburst dial.
The 2014 timepiece is powered by the just released caliber F385, a 5Hz column wheel Flyback chronograph movement, finished in a modern and very technical yet refined way. The rotor resembles the Ocean Commitment theme, again beautifully executed.
The first BOC timepiece came in a limited run of 250 pieces, available on either a blue sailcloth strap or a blue Nato strap with grey ceramic tang buckle and keepers. Each buyer also received a large Fifty Fathoms book with the same individual number as the watch, and Blancpain established that the price of each watch contained a 1000€/$ contribution to the Ocean Commitment initiative. Another benefit from purchasing the watch was that you could register for special access to extended Ocean Commitment information through the website.
The same principle applies for the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ocean Commitment II, released in 2016. To some extent this second commemorative watch was an inverse variation of the first: it featured a blue ceramic case and bezel, combined with a meteor grey sunburst dial.
Well, this combination is clearly a brave one… and clearly not for everyone. Executed just as well as the OC I, a blue case is a very unusual choice for a fine timepiece. It resembles the Ocean Commitment theme very well, it offers a plentiful of character, but it is also not very versatile. The grey sailcloth or Nato strap works extremely well with timepiece, picking up the dial color and offering the necessary contrast to the case color.
In 2018 the third thematic timepiece was released, this time a variation of another significant Blancpain timepiece: the Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III picked up the hugely successful design of the Tribute to FF MilSpec released the year before, albeit with a beautiful blue dial with the BOC logo replacing the moisture indicator and a blue bezel.
Like the previous editions, the BOC III was limited to 250 pieces, but this time it provided each buyer with both the sailcloth and Nato strap. A very nice touch was the book for this third edition: you can take out the pages to fit them into a dedicated frame that was also included.
The BOC III is undoubtedly a very special Fifty Fathoms timepiece: the 40mm case, being reserved for collector’s editions, is something a lot of enthusiasts ask for, and the brushed finish works extremely well in contrast to the bright blue sunburst dial. You can find two designated reports on the BOC III in the blog: here is the release report from June 2018, and here is a photo essay on the BOC III on the custom fitted bracelet.
Now, I think it’s rather safe to expect a fourth Blancpain Ocean Commitment timepiece to be released in 2020. And there’s plenty of room for speculation what it might be… will it be a blue version of the Barakuda or maybe the Nageurs de Combat? Or maybe a blue version of the Hodinkee 38mm Bathyscaphe without date? All those options sound exciting, but they are pure speculation and most likely wishful thinking.
I hope you enjoyed the report.