The black ceramic Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe 5200-0130-B52A is a very successful model in the Blancpain catalogue since it was introduced 6 years ago. Let’s get up close and personal with this exceptional timepiece.
Elevating black timepieces to a new level
All black watches have been en vogue for a while, and this has resulted in a huge variety customers can choose from. It started with PVD coated stainless steel cases, a technology that did often expose the watch to imperfections over time. Next was the more durable DLC coating, again applied for stainless steel cases and parts. The Fifty Fathoms Dark Knight and the three Speed Command versions introduced between 2008 and 2010 have been done this way.
With advanced tools and ways to work, machine and finish ceramic this hard and anti-allergic material became more popular in the watch industry. The first full ceramic case was used by Blancpain for the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ocean Commitment in 2014, one year later the subject of this essay saw the light of day.
The Bathyscaphe Chronograph has taken the aesthetic quality of black watches to a new level. The satin brushed case offers clear and distinctive shapes, including the bezel rim, the big crown and the traditional chronograph pushers. The ceramic case back is pressed in, not screwed down, because a ceramic thread would be too hard and sharp.
In combination with the black ceramic bezel insert with Liquidmetal inlays and the ebony black dial with a subtle sunburst finish the overall appearance of the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic is simply exceptional.
The hands and indices on the dial are black polished, offering very good readability and at the same time a homogeneous look in combination with all the black dial, bezel and case.
Let’s compare the close up photographs under artificial light to some impressions under natural light. The Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic handles different light conditions very well, with the emphasis of individual components changing slightly, but the overall character staying just the same.
The watch comes on a black fabric Nato strap or, like in this case, on a black sailcloth strap, both options with a black ceramic tang buckle. A ceramic deployant or even a ceramic bracelet are not available.
This Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic has the new style sailcloth strap, which is available since late last year. The new style sailcloth strap shows has a matte finish, which corresponds nicely with the satin brushed case and buckle.
A technically and aesthetically convincing movement
Let’s take a look at the inner values of reference 5200, namely caliber F385. This 5Hz column wheel vertical clutch chronograph movement debuted in 2014 and is (besides the Bathyscaphe Chronographe) used only in Villeret Pulsometre Chronographe, albeit with a different finishing. A modified version of the movement is also used in the Air Command AC01, called F388B.
Caliber 385F shows a modern and very distinctive finishing, it features a titanium balance and a silicon balance spring. The power reserve is 50 hours, the automatic winding is done by a black coated white gold rotor.
High presence and comfort on the wrist
Here are a few wrist shots of the all black Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic. With a diameter of 43.6mm, a lug to lug size of just under 50mm and a height of 15.2mm it clearly shows presence on the wrist, it however wears very comfortably on even smaller wrists.
And here you can see the timepiece in a short wrist turn:
Some remarks about a ceramic watch
Ceramic is a very hard material, it is almost impossible to scratch it, so a ceramic watch will look like brand new for many years. It is also a comparatively light material, providing high comfort on the wrist.
It however is also a brittle material. When a ceramic case falls down on a hard surface or it gets hit in an unfortunate angle, it will not show scratches or dents, it will break. And then there’s no way to repair it, a broken case or lug needs a costly replacement. So, anyone who’s prone to occasionally let a watch fall or tends to expose it to hard hits should probably stay clear of a ceramic watch. For everyone else it is a most beautiful, durable and very comfortable to wear alternative.
Closing this essay, here’s a photo series that captures some of the many highlights of reference 5200-0130-B52A:
You find the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic here on the Blancpain website. And you are kindly invited to explore the other versions of the Bathyscaphe Chronographe in the blog:
The Ocean Commitment timepieces (so far)
Up close with the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback
The Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ceramic green dial
I hope you enjoyed this essay and the photos!
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