I recently had the opportunity to welcome the three regular collection 38mm Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe models for a photo session, something I had on my wish list for quite a while. So let’s get up close with reference 5100 in white, blue and meteor grey.
The 38mm Bathyscaphe collection
The smaller version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was introduced together with the 43mm model in 2013, at the time it was the white dial version only. A few years later the grey and blue dial models were added to the collection. This overview does not account for the two special editions made for Revolution and Hodinkee. You can find those here in the blog, albeit not with my own photos since I never had the pleasure to experience them in the metal.
All 38mm Bathyscaphe timepieces have a satin brushed steel case, measuring 11mm in height, 20mm between the lugs and 44mm lug to lug. The watch is water resistant to 300m and provides a saphhire case back. Actually, the lug to lug size is comparable to the 40mm Fifty Fathoms, here you see the blue Bathyscaphe next to the FF OC III:
Like the larger Bathyscaphe the watch features a ceramic bezel insert with Liquidmetal inlays. Since the bezel is as broad as with the 43mm Bathyscaphe, the relation between dial and bezel is significantly different with the 38mm timepiece. Here’s a comparative shot of the two Bathyscaphe sizes:
Reference 5100 is available on sailcloth or Nato strap, both on a stainless steel tang buckle. The metal keepers of the Nato strap are gone, the current collection uses the same Nato strap with fabric keepers as the other watches from the Fifty Fathoms collection.
The 38mm Bathyscaphe is powered by caliber 1150, oscillating at 3 Hz, featuring a silicon balance spring and providing 4 days of power reserve. The movement is finished in the typical Fifty Fathoms way, of course featuring the anthracite coated 18ct gold rotor.
The Bathyscaphe case is a real pleasure to look at with the nicely shaped lugs and case flanks, the beautiful bezel edge and the oversized screw-down crown:
Similar and yet very different
Each of the three regular Bathyscaphe 5100 watches has its very own character, the colors of dials and ceramic bezels make a real difference. First, here are some impressions of reference 5100-1110-B52A with a black ceramic bezel and a mesmerizing grey sunburst dial.
The meteor grey version is a subtle and versatile version, very much under the radar. In comparison the white ceramic bezel and white dial Bathyscaphe reference 5100-1127-W52A is a very extrovert timepiece, providing strong contrasts:
Probably the white 5100 is most attractive to female buyers, and Blancpain has emphasized that with a variety of colorful Nato straps available for this version, which can be found on the Blancpain website .
Finally, there’s the Bathyscaphe with blue dial and bezel, reference 5100-1140-NAOA. Being the only non-chrono stainless steel FF with blue dial in the regular collection (the 40mm FF OC III being a limited edition and the other blue dial FF are either gold, titanium or ceramic), it is a convincing offer.
Unfortunately during my photo session there was not even the slightest glimpse of natural sunlight available, so all photos have been made under artificial light. I managed to take a few (subdued) wrist shots on a cloudy winter day, they however do not cover the additional detail only the bright sun can reveal.
The 38mm Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe may appear very small compared to the 43.6mm variant. It represents the smallest FF in a collection that offers sizes of 38, 40, 43, 45 and 48mm, which is quite a spread and therefore should offer something to anyone.
Reference 5100 can count as a true unisex Fifty Fathoms, showing a more female touch with the white version and also working well as a modestly sized sports watch for gentlemen with smaller wrists.
I hope you enjoyed the hands-on report and the photos.