In 2013 Blancpain celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms with the launch of the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, starting with three versions: one in 38mm and two in 43mm size. One of the new watches had a life span of less than a year, the Bathyscaphe Ceramized Titanium. Let’s get up close with this very rare timepiece, often called the “unicorn” by those who know it.
The 2013 launch and quick discontinuation
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was introduced in three versions: the 43mm stainless steel timepiece with a meteor grey dial, the 38mm stainless steel watch with white dial and bezel, and the 43mm Ceramized Titanium Bathyscaphe reference 5000-12C30-NABA.
In November 2013, just after the first Ceramized Titanium watches were enthusiastically received by their owners, rumor had it that the watch will no longer be available and replaced by a version in satin brushed titanium. By the end of November 2013 the Blancpain website was already updated with the successor and the Ceramized Titanium Bathyscaphe immediately became an ultra rare timepiece.
No official word came from Blancpain, the speculation in watch communities was that the production process of Ceramized Titanium was too cost intensive to be continued for a timepiece that was intended to be an entry level dive watch in the Blancpain lineup. But again, that’s only speculation.
The exact number of produced and sold Ceramized Titanium Bathyscaphes is unknown, very few timepieces have surfaced in the public space. It is understood that only one batch made it to sales and the majority of those watches went to the US Blancpain Boutiques and some ADs.
A truly unique look
The Ceramized Titanium Bathyscaphe offers aesthetics that are significantly different to any of its siblings. The ceramic coating is applied on a brushed titanium case and has a matte slate color, very sensitive to different light conditions. The brushed finish of the underlying titanium can be barely seen only under bright sunlight.
It is clearly a stealthy look, offering a lot of tool watch character. The ceramized coating delivers high scratch resistance, which provides for a long “like new” appearance. But more importantly, this light sensitive color that varies between military grey, slate and black, is just exceptional. Personally, I have not seen anything like it before and after.
Together with the military green Nato strap and its Ceramized Titanium keepers and tang buckle this timepiece stands out from not only the other Bathyscaphe versions but from the entire Blancpain dive watch collection.
A high end movement
Reference 5000-12C30-NABA is of course powered by caliber 1315, visible through a sapphire case back.
This automatic winding 4 Hz movement features three barrels to achieve 5 days of power reserve. The distinctive decoration is typical for this caliber, which is also used in the 45mm Fifty Fathoms 5015, the 500 Fathoms and the X Fathoms.
I had to wait eight years to get the Ceramized Titanium Bathyscaphe in front of my camera lens. Thanks to a very good friend who recently found this rare watch the waiting time finally came to an end and I was able to fully appreciate this marvel.
Reference 5000-12C30 is clearly an outstanding collectible timepiece. Its distinct appearance and the fact that it was produced in a very small quantity in the year 2013 make it qualify as the rightful 60th Anniversary Fifty Fathoms watch.
I hope you enjoyed this essay and the photos. A heartfelt Thank You goes to the happy owner of this beautiful rare watch for allowing me to capture it in photos and introduce it in the blog. And to celebrate this unique opportunity, I took some wrist shots… with permission, of course.