Blancpain has lived up to their Ocean Commitment initiative by not only co-financing 19 scientific projects in 10 years, supporting Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa projects, being a founding partner of the National Geographic Pristine Seas project, supporting the World Ocean Summit and World Oceans Day, the Manufacture has also created 3 limited to 250 pieces Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) timepieces between 2014 and 2018. This new timepiece, introduced on July 7, is not an official BOC watch, but it is rooted in yet another Ocean Commitment initiative. Let’s take a look at the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Mokarran ref 5005-0153-NABA.
The Blancpain Ocean Commitment Mokarran project
The latest BOC example is a project with the newly founded Mokarran Protection Society to measure and identify great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) in French Polynesia from the Rangiroa Plongée dive center, and to lay the essential groundwork for more effective conservation efforts in the future.
Between December 2019 and January 2020 the first step of the project has been to work with a noninvasive technique called laser photogrammetry (basically a panel with two parallel lasers and a digital camera) that allows to project laser markings to measure, reliably identify and track individual great hammerhead sharks over time. This will lay the groundwork to improve activities linked to the conservation of the species.
Blancpain CEO Marc A. Hayek himself was part of the team and has a passionate interest in the project since his first encounter with the great hammerhead shark in Rangiroa dating back to 2012 and some special encounter a few years ago when passing his final diving exam as a diving instructor at the same place. You can read Marc A. Hayek’s thoughts on the project and the great hammerhead shark here in a excellent article by Roger Ruegger for WatchTime.
To illustrate the link between this commendable project and the new Bathyscaphe Mokarran, here’s a video to lead the way:
A remarkable special edition of the Bathyscaphe
This new timepiece combines quite a few truly special elements, let’s cover them individually in no particular order:
For the first time we see a limited edition linked to a Blancpain Ocean Commitment initiative which is not named a BOC edition. There are a few possible reasons for it: it does not follow the color code of the previous watches, which all had blue as the dominant color. It also is limited to only 50 pieces instead of the BOC 250 pieces limitations, and (I must say most regrettably to those not living close) it is exclusively available through the Blancpain US Boutiques in New York City and Las Vegas.
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran also features no date function, a first time in the 43mm version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. The frequent desire voiced by watch enthusiasts around the world for no date FF watches was (partially) satisfied with the 38mm Bathyscaphe for Hodinkee last year (see the report on that one here), again an offer limited to the US market.
And of course the Mokarran Special Edition features the stunning combination of a black ceramic case with a tropical green sunburst dial and a green ceramic bezel. There are quite few green dial timepieces in the market, and one may argue that Blancpain is rather late to the party with respect to this trend. But: when Blancpain is launching a green dial, it is outstanding! This fresh green with just a hint of yellow hue has a warmth to it that can rarely be found.
One more observation: the Bathyscaphe Mokarran comes on a black Nato strap without the ceramic hardware keepers we have been used to since the launch of the Bathyscaphe in 2013. One can assume that this version of the Nato strap will find its way into the regular Bathyscaphe collection at some point.
Finally, as a unique elements of this Special Edition, the DLC coated 18ct gold rotor shows a stylized image of the great hammerhead shark and the movement is another premiere: the watch is powered by caliber 1318, which is in fact the well known 5 day caliber 1315 stripped of the date function.
Some personal conclusions
Not having seen the watch in reality and relying on the press photos only, any assessment has to be made with this caveat. But from what I have seen, I am deeply impressed by the Fifty Fathoms Mokarran. I like the purity of it, combined with the lustful combination of black ceramic and this stunning green dial. The watch is yet another example of the passion that flows into the Blancpain timepieces.
However, I (also deeply) bemoan the fact, that it is only 50 pieces being exclusively available through the US Boutiques. For those who love this watch in the other parts of the world it will be difficult if not impossible to ever encounter it in reality. But, citing the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want…
I hope you enjoyed the introduction to the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Mokarran. You can find the watch here on the Blancpain website and I also repeat my recommendation to read Roger Ruegger’s article for WatchTime here. An overview on the official BOC timepieces between 2014 and 2018 can be found here.
All photo and video material in this report is credit to Blancpain.