The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel sports an unusual complication for a diver’s watch, but is all the better for it.
Blancpain celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms this year, and has released various models to mark the occasion and bolster the collection. As one of the forerunners of the modern diver’s watch, the Fifty Fathoms was instrumental (pun intended) in establishing this category’s features and requirements, which are now codified in the ISO 6425 standard.
Its younger sibling, the Bathyscaphe, was launched as a sub-collection just three years later. Unlike the Fifty Fathoms, which was conceived and designed for military divers from the get-go, the Bathyscaphe was meant for civilian use. It retained the defining features of a diver’s watch though, such as the external rotating bezel that Blancpain had developed.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel launched at Baselworld 2018 is somewhat unusual for introducing an eminently useful complication into the Bathyscaphe – somewhere one wouldn’t expect it to go.
A quick recap:
the eponymous Quantième Annuel refers to the annual calendar complication, which accounts for the varying lengths of the months automatically, except at the end of February, which may have either 28 or 29 days. Because of this, it requires a correction once a year at the beginning of March, and hence its name.
The annual calendar is considered an extremely useful complication because of its advantages – it requires far fewer corrections in a year than a simple calendar, while also being less difficult to assemble and maintain vis-à-vis a perpetual calendar.
A diver’s watch, however, does not require an annual calendar; one certainly does not need the date while underwater, let alone the day of the week or the current month!
Therein lies Blancpain’s coup: the brand has combined two seemingly disparate elements, and done so very successfully. The result is a bona fide diver’s watch that maintains its lineage, while being adapted for the modern wearer who will find the annual calendar a boon for daily reference.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel is reasonably sized for modern standards, measuring 43mm wide and 13.46mm high. The self-winding Calibre 6054.P powering it has a longish 72-hour power reserve, which further enhances its usefulness to its wearer.