Earlier this year at Baselworld, the Fifty Fathoms Bathsycaphe 38mm was released. The latest 38mm edition replica Blancpain watches were a welcome addition to the Fifty Fathoms line up, as way back in 2013, Blancpain released the first edition of the Bathyscaphe with a 43mm case (as well as a 38mm ladies’ version with a white bezel and dial, and white NATO strap). The 43mm verison was received with very positive reviews, but the biggest complaint was the size. Now Blancpain has released the 38mm version of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in black or blue, which feels much more in the vintage spirit than the previous iteration. Let’s go hands-on, shall we?
The first Fifty Fathoms was made by Blancpain in 1953. Technically, it was the original modern dive watch – a nod that is often given to the Rolex Submariner, but truth be told the Fifty Fathoms debuted the year before. The Fifty Fathoms was created by Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, who were commanders of the French Combat Diving School at the time. They teamed up with Blancpain’s CEO, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, to create the ultimate dive watch, and the Fifty Fathoms was born. It was 42mm, with a one-way rotating bezel (the very first watch to have one) automatic (to reduce the need to operate the crown and potentially compromise water resistance) and was water-resistant up to 300 ft. Fast-forward to 2013, and the modern, but vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was introduced – in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the original 50 Fathoms – in a 43mm stainless steel case and with the automatic caliber 1315.
The latest version of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe series fake watches that you see here, is pretty much the same watch except that it measures 38mm in diameter and 10.77mm thick (as opposed to the 13.4mm thickness of the 43mm version). The watch comes in two versions: one with a black dial and bezel, and one with an “Abyss Blue” dial and bezel, the latter being a limited edition. While the blue version is certainly more vibrant, the black version has a lot of desirable qualities, and after all, blue watches tend to be a little more polarizing.
First things first – the case. As I mentioned, the case measures 38mm which is a great size for classic watch fans. The stainless steel is brushed throughout which makes the watch look a bit more substantial than if it were polished. While this certainly makes sense for a tool watch, and certainly makes the watch feel more robust, I personally tend to lean away from brushed cases (there is something about the sparkle of a polished case that I will just never not love). But regardless, I think Blancpain did a nice job adapting this case to accommodate the desire for a smaller Fifty Fathoms, and the faceted lugs are an attractive additional detail. The unidirectional ceramic bezel is a rich black, which gives the watch a little more depth visually, while serving a functional purpose.
While the case size is the Goldilocks of case diameters, the thing that I love most about this watch is the dial brushed anthracite dial. It’s a beautiful rich grey color and it gleams when you wear it, something that I look for in a watch. The hours and minutes are indicated by the luminous dot indexes, with trapezoidal markers at the quarter hours. The center seconds hand has a vibrant red tip, which adds a sporty touch.