Yes, you are right, THE toughest Blancpain tool is still the no holds barred, grenade pin-in-mouth Fifty Fathoms X Fathoms. But the X is like Arnold in full combat gear, inside the giant robotic Mech monster from Robocop. It’s an instrument, nay weapon more than a tool, and not usable in normal situations. And that is even without using the term desk diver. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in Grade 23 Titanium, however, is pure functionality, with added lightness in its titanium armor.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

Where does it fit in the Fifty Fathoms family?

I come fresh from the Oslo Watch Fair last week where I did enjoy the Blancpain stand and a long chat with Philippe Conte on the family tree of the Fifty Fathoms. What stood out to me was, except for a deliciously blue secret, a complete family. Personally, I could easily live with a rose gold Bathyscaphe as my dress watch, the cream and black limited Fifty Fathoms Barakuda as a great 40.3mm casual piece. But as a tough, no-nonsense tool watch? Meet the light yet incredibly tough ref.5000 1210 98S, a.k.a the Bathyscaphe Titanium

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

A tough-guy elegance

With the possibly calmest, mattest grey dial of the family it oozes a pure sense of purpose, all set in the more unusual Grade 23 titanium, with a 43mm diameter. I know, I know, I am a staunch sub-40mm advocate, but my latest acquisition was a 44mm diver’s watch. Embrace diversity, and the right size for the job. The beautifully soft vertical striations of the dial have a granite-like vibe, with anthracite polished hour markers, small but intensely legible. A brushed titanium 60-minute bezel with ceramic underlines a Leica-like vibe. It’s an understated tough elegance with an instrument feel. And like the circular red Leica logo on a camera housing, the red tip of the lollipop seconds hand stands out beautifully. Even more so on the rather serious scene of the dial.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

A legible dial too pretty for its own good

But despite the rather unemotional monochrome of its grayness, The panache of the familiar Bathyscaphe design shines through. The swooping script of the Fifty Fathoms logo at 12 is perfectly juxtaposed to the industrial yet soft surface striations, and those baton hands are still a picture of the proportionate design. Even the big brute of a crown can’t hide the fact that the dial details are almost too pretty for a tool watch. But nothing underlines a style more than a slight contrast in the details, and that is exactly what the Bathyscaphe does so well here. 

Angular cool on a new bracelet

The sharp angularity of the case only emphasizes the feeling of solidity. The weaponized lugs are one of my favorite details, and what about those sharp, brushed dynamic bevels? Grade 23 titanium is a serious material to machine and serves as a reminder of Blancpain’s manufacturing strength. And while we are used to seeing the Bathyscaphe series on comfortable sailcloth and NATO straps, this is the first time we see the Fifty Fathoms bracelet, in titanium, on a Bathyscaphe. 

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

The heart of the matter

The Caliber 1315 has a whopping 120-hour power reserve. That’s five days from triple spring barrels, impressive for a 13.45mm, and it is packed with intrinsic detail. Radially brushed, the well-known 1315 emphasizes functionality and durability. Its accuracy is underlined by a silicon balance spring ensuring the threat of magnetic fields is obsolete. So, to conclude with what is a perfectly solid heart in the Caliber 1315, what do I think? To me, this new The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in titanium is the missing link, the piece of a family puzzle. And it is the softly spoken tough tool that makes me love it for its single-colored charm. At CHF 13,200 it sits high up in the price range for a 300m diver’s tool, but it might be well worth it.  

What is your favorite offering in the Fifty Fathoms family? Let us know in the comments below. Hell, you might even use yours for diving, putting my desk diving exploits to shame (not a difficult task).

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