Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BLANCPAIN – Fifty Fathoms BATHYSCAPHE Ocean Commitment II Edition

BLANCPAINFifty Fathoms BATHYSCAPHE Ocean Commitment II Blue Ceramic Limited Edition NEW

Blancpain presents its new Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph
Blancpain Ocean Commitment II

Blancpain introduces the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Blancpain Ocean Commitment II (BOC II). For the first time, this piece features an all- blue ceramic case. For each timepiece sold in this 250-piece limited edition, an amount of 1000 Euro will be donated in support of scientific expeditions. The 250,000 Euro resulting from this will be added to Blancpain’s contributions in support of the oceans.

An all-blue case

Blancpain’s Research and Development department is engaged in constant innovation. Thanks to this, for the first time, the brand is proud to be able to present an entirely blue ceramic case on its newest Fifty Fathoms watch. This coloring is achieved by adding pigments during the ceramic production process, together with a binding agent. Subsequently, to obtain this uniform, long-lasting hue throughout the entire case, two techniques were used. The first is a compaction process, where ceramic in powder form is pressed into a mold to obtain its shape. The second technique involves using an injection process to insert ceramic in the form of granules into the mold. This step enables the creation of a blueprint in the final shape. After this, the piece is placed in an oven on a low temperature in order to eliminate the bonding agent. When this is done, the latter is heated at a high temperature – a phase known as sintering – in order to give the ceramic its ultimate hardness. Lastly, the machining and finishing operations take place in order to provide the geometry and final look of each part. The compacting process was used for the case-middle, case-back, bezel and chapter-ring insert. The second technique involving the injection method was adopted for the crown and push-pieces. Suitable for small pieces, the latter is highly precise and complex to master. Up until now, it had not yielded satisfactory, sufficiently stable results for the blue color range.

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In addition, it had not been previously possible to obtain a perfectly identical color for the two techniques. After several years of trials, Blancpain has now been able to add successfully mastering the injection method for blue to its color range. As a result, the case of the watch is a uniform shade of blue that is intense, mysterious and reflects the world of the oceans to which the Blancpain brand is so attached.

A state-of-the-art caliber

The new Flyback Chronograph BOC II is equipped with an F385 caliber whose mechanism beats at 36,000 vibrations an hour (5 Hz), an ideal frequency for a chronograph as it enables each second to be divided into intervals of a tenth of a second. The flyback chronograph is driven by a column-wheel. The F385 has a variable-inertia balance with gold screws, ensuring increased robustness and more precise adjustment than the usual index device.

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This has a vertical clutch that ensures faultless operation of the chronograph and eliminates any unexpected jerking of the watch hand when the chronograph is engaged. Moreover, this solution allows the chronograph mechanism to operate freely without having to worry about any negative effect on the watch’s rate accuracy. In addition, like all recent movements made by the Manufacture Blancpain, this caliber is equipped with a silicon balance-spring.

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The Flyback Chronograph BOC II incorporates all the technical characteristics of a mechanical diving watch. In particular, it is water-resistant to 300 m and its unidirectional bezel features gray inserts and hour-markers in Liquidmetal®. Aside from this, it has a flyback function that enables immediate resetting of the chronograph to zero or restarting simply by pressing a pusher at 4 o’clock, in contrast to standard chronographs which require three steps to time successive events.

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This 250-piece limited-edition watch is also distinguished by its oscillating weight engraved with the words "Ocean Commitment” linking it to Blancpain’s commitment to the exploration and preservation of the oceans, while the sapphire crystal case-back also reveals the watch’s sporty and sophisticated bridges.

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Join the circle

Every owner of a limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) watch is invited to become a member of the “Ocean Commitment Circle”. An amount of 1000 Euro is taken from the price of each watch and committed by the brand to the support of scientific expeditions. Clients receive a certificate certifying that a donation has been made. Thanks to their purchase, they become a privileged activist and support Blancpain in its endeavors to ensure the preservation of our oceans. Members can benefit from opportunities such as meetings with Blancpain partners, exclusive information published on the dedicated “Ocean Commitment” website in the area reserved for members of the circle, private invitations to talks devoted to scientific expeditions as well as premières of documentary films.

Aside from an invitation to join the circle, all purchasers of a Fifty Fathoms Blancpain Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Ocean Commitment II receive an exclusive copy of a new book entitled “Hans Hass, Awakening to a New World”, the number of which will correspond to the serial number of the watch.

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Hans Hass is regarded by his peers as well as diving historians as having been the “pioneer of pioneers”. This Austrian biologist, ethnologist, photographer and filmmaker started exploring the seabed at the end of the 1930s, when no other suitable instrument existed. This precursor to scuba diving is a man of many records. Aside from the fact that he was the first to establish research laboratories on expedition ships, he was also the inventor of the Rolleimarin, a professional water-resistant case for the Rolleiflex camera, thus making it possible to bring back photographs from his explorations. These shots often created a sensation with the public that thus also had a chance to discover the underwater world.

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Today, this book, produced in collaboration with the Hans Hass Institute, highlights a manuscript that he wrote in the 1960s and which to date has never before been published in full. The publication focuses on the years between the 1940s and 1960s and in particular, retraces the challenges of the setting up of these initial expeditions while offering a fascinating glimpse of the historical context of the period within which Blancpain presented the first modern diving watch: the Fifty Fathoms. Blancpain has had a connection to the Hans Hass Institute since the 2013 launch of the Hans Hass Fifty Fathoms Award in recognition of excellence in two distinct categories: Art and Literature, in recognition of the pioneering work achieved by Professor Hass; and Science and Technology, in recognition of his equally remarkable work in the areas of oceanography and underwater innovation.

Additional Blancpain Ocean Commitment
donation awarded to the Gombessa team

For more than 60 years, Blancpain’s commitment to the underwater world has been reflected in its desire to contribute to the knowledge and preservation of this fascinating universe. It is for this reason that the brand supports a large number of significant scientific endeavors including the Gombessa Project led by Laurent Ballesta, which has already given rise to three major expeditions. And it is indeed Laurent Ballesta and his team who are also benefiting from an additional donation of 250,000 Euros linked to the first limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch.

Within the framework of the Gombessa II expedition in 2014, Laurent Ballesta’s team went to the southern pass of the Fakarava atoll in French Polynesia to watch the annual gathering of camouflage groupers (Epinephelus polyphekadion) who once a year all come to breed in the middle of the pass. During the expedition, researchers were surprised to note an unusual density of gray reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) totaling between 400 and 700 individuals. This is the largest density of this species ever seen. In addition, shots of some 2,000 images per second used to illustrate the detail of the grouper reproductive phenomenon revealed the intensity of the sharks’ nocturnal activity, as well as what appeared to be a nocturnal pack hunting strategy. If this strategy was to be confirmed, it would call into question our existing knowledge of these sea creatures. Blancpain therefore decided to award the Gombessa team an additional 250,000 Euros linked to the first limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch, in order to help them set up a new scientific project focusing on the pack hunting behavior of gray sharks.

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The project started in June-July 2016 with an initial 35-day expedition, which saw divers spend a total 200 hours of night diving in the heart of the shark pack and enabled the implementation of protocols and use of observation equipment required to answer questions related to the great density of sharks and their behavior. In 2017, during the second phase of the project, the team will be able to establish a more accurate picture and verify various scientific hypotheses, as well as proposing increased protection of this hotspot of biodiversity. Indeed, even if it only takes place once a year, it appears that the grouper gathering is essential to the sharks’ survival throughout the year and as a result is also crucial to the equilibrium of the ecosystem of the reef and lagoon.

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Blancpain’s interest in this project, in addition to its scientific relevance and spectacular resulting shots, lies in its compatibility with the brand’s long-term vision which encourages further innovative research rather than dozens of expeditions that remain superficial in their scientific approach. And the beauty of this project lies in the ability to draw on the observations made over a period of four consecutive years, from 2014 with Gombessa II, to 2017 with the second phase of the additional project funded by the purchases of the limited edition Blancpain Ocean Commitment watch.

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Despite the scope of this project, Blancpain and Laurent Ballesta did not restrict themselves to a single project over the past year, but also conducted the Gombessa III – Antarctica! expedition within the regular framework of the Ocean Commitment program and in collaboration with Luc Jacquet, producer of The March of the Penguins. For the first time, a team of technical divers gained access to beneath the ice floe in Adelia Land in Antarctica. These taxing dives, as much a human as a technical challenge, had never been done before and brought the very first naturalist illustration of the deep ecosystems in the Antarctic.

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The Gombessa team thus contributed to the inventory of deep sea fauna in relation to climate change issues and gives researchers access to all the shots taken for the purposes of scientific publications. The public will have an opportunity to discover this entrancing universe at the end of 2016 with the launch of a documentary film produced by ARTE. The first two documentary films resulting from the Gombessa I (Rencontre avec le Cœlacanthe – Plongée vers nos Origines – A Meeting with the Coelacanth – Diving to Meet our Origins) and Gombessa II (Le Mystère Mérou – The Grouper Mystery) were produced by and broadcast on this same channel and were a great success with both the public and specialists alike, winning many international prizes.

Technical specifications

Model: Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Ocean Commitment II

Reference 5200-0310-G52A
Reference 5200-0310-NAG A
Limited edition of 250

Flyback Chronograph   
Unidirectional satin-brushed
Blue ceramic bezel with ceramic insert and Liquidmetal® hour-markers
Small seconds
Silicon balance spring
Satin-brushed blue ceramic
Case diameter: 43.60 mm
Case thickness: 15.25 mm
Between horns: 23.00 mm
Water resistance: 30.00 bar
Sapphire back
Meteor grey dial,
Date and seconds
Liquidmetal® hour-markers
Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date 
Manufacture Calibre F385
  • Reference:     F385   
  • Self-winding
  • 5 hz – 36’000 vibrations per hour
  • Calibre thickness:     6.65 mm
  • Calibre diameter:     31.80 mm
  • Power reserve in hours:     50
  • Jewels:     37
  • Components:     322
Sail canvas grey or a NATO strap version 5200-0310-NAG A.
Pin Buckle engraved with the BLANCPAIN logo.

* Blancpain reserves the right to modify this model and its technical characteristics.

Press release - 2016
Blancpain S.A.
Le Rocher 12
1348 Le Brassus
International PR Specialist: Lucie Notari
Tel.  (+41) 21 796 3619
Fax (+41) 21 796 3637
E-mail: pr@blancpain.com
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